Superintendent of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division

Month: April 2020

Easter Message 2020

Dear Staff, Students and Parents:

As we enter into the Easter Season, the holiest of liturgical seasons for Christians in our church, amid this time of uncertainty which is centered on the world pandemic, we are reminded daily of the ultimate love that Jesus Christ poured out for us.  Today, as we begin the Holy Triduum (the three days leading up to the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus), we do so with a hopeful and grateful heart. By sacrificing his own life by dying on the cross, he gave us the ultimate gift of everlasting life. 

Staff at all of our schools have been reaching out to students and families over the past four weeks, making individual connections and, to varying degrees, providing learning opportunities for our students.  Although teaching and learning looks different from school to school and from student to student, we are continuing the process in a very modified fashion.

Looking into the Easter break next week, we know that all students and staff will be away from their school-related studies and instruction to pause, relax and rest.  This will be a time to reflect on what is most important, knowing that we will get through this unprecedented difficulty with the Holy Spirit as our guiding light.  

The entire Holy Spirit Catholic School family continues to be in my daily prayers.  My prayer for EACH of you this Easter Season is that your lives are blessed abundantly with the special presence and grace of the Risen Christ.  

God Bless!

Ken Sampson,

Superintendent of Schools

Holy Spirit Catholic School Division

What Will Remain After Our COVID-19 Anguish?

There is absolutely no question that our current reality is a now normal. One month ago, nobody would have ever thought that we would have to physically distance ourselves from family, friends and colleagues; that we would have to be super vigilant with handwashing and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces to the extent that medical experts are now requiring. Every bit of broadcasted and written news is focused on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Pandemic and how it is wreaking havoc on every community around the world. 

Although not all citizens are taking this deadly illness as seriously as they ought to be, most people are. Self-isolation and adhering to the recommendations and directions from Alberta Health and other government authorities needs to be everyone’s number one priority. These people are the experts in the field, going to all ends of the earth to provide us the safest and healthiest environment, and we need to follow their direction. 

While this pandemic crisis is a temporary and worrisome scenario, we will undoubtedly get through it all. It is through stressful situations and unfortunate experiences that our resilience is built, moving us to become a stronger people. I suspect that for many of us, when we look back on all of this turmoil and commotion, we might not even give it much thought, or even remember specific details about COVID-19. 

We don’t need to look far to see the number of beautiful and uplifting stories and random acts of kindness that we have witnessed amidst this crisis. People are volunteering to make care packages for affected citizens and providing donations to charitable organizations. Offering to shop and run errands for neighbours or shut-ins and finding creative and innovative ways of reaching out to friends and families. All of this clearly speaks to our calling to be our brother’s keeper. 

It is well known that strong faith is a significant coping mechanism and can assist people in adapting their lives after a highly stressful life event. Faith helps us better understand these stressors and utilizing our faith assists in the management of the stress itself. There is no question that when we turn to prayer, God is there with us.

Once all the anxiety, worry and uncertainty settle from this world pandemic and things return to a relative degree of normalcy, trust and hope will remain. Where there is life, hope abides – hope in and for the future. We must trust in this new way of being, with a watchful eye to always do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. In general, we will have learned a great deal from this turmoil but perhaps most specifically that we will be educating our students with profoundly different approaches and pedagogies. Regardless, let us move forward with our collective wisdom; holding our heads high and looking to tomorrow with optimism, trust and hope.

Written for the Lethbridge Herald’s “Eye on Education” – April 1, 2020

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