To celebrate a nativity is to celebrate the birth of someone or something new. September 8 is the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, also known as her birthday. It was back on September 8, 1995 that Clear Water Academy, a private, Catholic school, first opened its doors in Calgary to a mission that would form Christian leaders for the transformation of society.
On September 8, 2020, Clear Water Academy celebrated its 25th Anniversary since its foundation on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, Patroness of our school, and the opening of a brand-new Elementary school building dedicated to and called St. Thomas More Hall – a nativity of its own kind.
With hopeful anticipation we watched our new building come to completion over the summer months. St. Thomas More Hall is beautiful; a proper nod to the excellence that takes place within its walls. In addition to our peaceful new chapel, colourful library, Atrium, and outdoor learning areas, it has large classrooms that easily house our small class sizes, and are outfitted with sinks for optimal handwashing, making physical distancing and other safety protocols much more achievable.
Just two days after the Alberta Government announced the cancellation of in-person classes in early March of 2020, faculty at Clear Water Academy pivoted to CWA Interim Home Learning and witnessed the resilience of our entire community over the months of an uncharted learning environment. Our teachers sent home work packages and held classes over Google Meet, and provided hours of one-on-one support over Zoom. Our morning intercom announcements took the form of videos, and our students worked in new ways to stay engaged in their learning. It was a proud display of the tenacity and the unity of parents and faculty working together for the normalcy of a school routine for our students despite the daily-changing news updates, fears, uncertainties, disappointments in cancelled plans, and threatening despair we were all, in our humanity, experiencing at the time.
We believe that these victories in the practical elements of education were the fruits of our Intellectual, Spiritual, Human, and Apostolic educational model. Since God has given and blessed our mission and since we have, by grace, echoed Mary’s “yes” to fulfill the call, when fear tempted us to panic, our faith reminded us to hope and to persevere. It urged us to be thankful, even, for such a clear return to the heart of trust that comes from knowing that we have a Saviour in Jesus when nothing else seems as it should be.
The long-awaited celebration of our 25th anniversary is of unrepeatable significance as we welcomed our students back to campus. What joy we experienced - with masks, washed hands, and physical distance - to see our students and parents again! It’s safe to say that it has required “all sanitized hands on deck” to implement our School Re-entry Plan that has been prepared for the safety of our faculty, students, families, and greater community.
We are grateful to our faculty for their dedication to the mission they’ve been called to - and to our parents for their trust and partnership with us in the ongoing education and formation of their children. And finally, we are grateful that Jesus resides within our school chapels and that He is known more and more by our faculty, families, and students in every heartfelt prayer, learning activity, kind encounter, and friendly encouragement that make up our days.
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers