Niagara Catholic’s Inaugural Meeting of the 2022-2026 Board of Trustees took place Tuesday night at Saint Michael Catholic High School in Niagara Falls.
The evening began with a Mass concelebrated by Bishop Bergie, Father Stuart MacDonald, and Father Stephen Bruzzese. Following the Mass and a pledge from trustees to support Catholic education, the new Board was piped into their first meeting by Alec MacDonald, a student at Notre Dame College School. Sofia Covelli, a student at Saint Michael, sang O Canada, and student trustee Steffan Zylstra recited the Land Acknowledgement.
Justice of the Peace Bruce Phillips presided over the oath swearing by each new trustee with Bishop Bergie and Director of Education Camillo Cipriano.
The incoming Board includes five new trustees – Natalia Benoit, Joe Bruzzese, Danny DiLorenzo, Doug Joyner, and Jim Marino – and three returning ones, Rhianon Burkholder, Larry Huibers, and Paul Turner.
During the meeting, Danny Di Lorenzo was elected as Chair for 2023. Rhianon Burkholder was elected as Vice-Chair.
During his remarks, Chair Di Lorenzo focused on Niagara Catholic’s role in the community.
“As a Catholic school system, we are not an alternate for public school, but a system built on the guiding principle of our Gospel value, where Jesus is the centre of our teaching.
It is important to keep our identity of who we are,” he said. “Secondly, we are not a board for elite students only, but rather – as our Mission would imply – an elite board that prides itself on inclusivity and equitable practices and provides educational programs for all students regardless of ability, disability, or any other distingu
ishing factor. Upon completion of school, all students must have the knowledge, skills, confidence, and the edge to pursue and be successful in their desired pathway.”
Vice-Chair Burkholder spoke of the importance of continuing to build upon the foundation laid by others.
“I am honoured to be servicing this board as Vice-Chair,” she said. “I have big shoes to fill and promise I will give the same faith-filled commitment as those that have been before me. I feel confident to help navigate my fellow trustees to lead this Board in its continued success of Catholic education.
Director of Education Camillo Cipriano congratulated all new trustees on their election and welcomed Chair Di Lorenzo and Vice-Chair Burkholder to their new positions.
“Congratulations to each of you for being entrusted by voters as Catholic school board trustees, he said. “This is a new era for Niagara Catholic, as we welcome a new Board of Trustees to lead us into the next four years. You all bring very different gifts, talents, and experiences to your role as trustees, and your voice will be very important in governing this Board. Congratulations to Chair Di Lorenzo and Vice-Chair Burkholder, who will work with me as Executive Council for 2023. I look forward to our collaborations and believe great things are ahead for Niagara Catholic.”
Read Chair Di Lorenzo’s full remarks here.
Read Vice-Chair Burkholder’s full remarks here.