St. Louis Celebrates Community and Diversity
This week St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centres came together to celebrate.
We celebrate community. We celebrate our diversity. We celebrate the many people who helped toward the renovation of our Main Campus. Mostly, we celebrate the everyday inspiration felt when students enter our school with hope of new beginnings, seize the opportunity to pursue their educational goals, and realize their success and full potential.
We began this week with a welcoming event and renovation tour to publicly thank school board and community champions who were part of the enhancements to our facilities and learning environments. The St. Louis Kitchener Main Campus renovation at 80 Young Street was spring boarded after a renewed 15-year lease agreement was signed in January 2020 with the Catholic religious order, the Congregation of the Resurrection (CR) – which has owned the site for more than 150 years.
Renovation at Kitchener Main Campus
Over the last 3 years, significant infrastructure and fixtures were replaced and numerous learning environments were renovated, including a transformed hair salon, PSW lab and upgraded commercial kitchen. With an equity and inclusion lens, universal washrooms, foot wash stations and multi-faith artifacts, and accessible signage and mobility features were added. We are enormously proud of this physical transformation, the partnership and shared legacy with the CR’s and more importantly of the impact St. Louis continues to have on learners of all ages in our community.
Heart of the Community
While the construction plans were being executed, our school community of staff, students and administrators came together to spend the last several months deciding on how we may showcase the value that St. Louis brings as the heart of the community.
The results so far:
- A new Welcome wall, in 22 of the top languages either spoken or taught at our Main Campus
- 3 student-chosen Unlearn© murals representing global diversity, flesh tones and various pathways to success
- Celebration of Diversity & Community – A St. Louis Mural – a stunningly colourful art installation of 360 tiles, painted by students and staff, and arranged to reflect the hopes and aspirations of all involved
Faith, Equity & Inclusion
Beside this Celebration of Diversity & Community mural is a living document demonstrating our commitment to the ongoing conversation and continual growth as a school community.
This Equity statement begins like this: At St. Louis, we continuously strive to create an environment where equity and inclusivity are paramount; a space where diversity is celebrated, and all voices are heard. We work daily toward achieving our vision of Hope, Opportunity, and Success for All. To assist us in realizing this vision, we commit to the following guidelines, under the categories of Professional Development, Practices and Programming, and Positive Interaction. For the full statement of this formal conversation, commitment and guidelines READ MORE.
Beautifully stated by St. Louis Principal, Lisa Mackay, “The (equity) statements contained, represent what we strive for each day in our programs… It is through these daily choices, actions and practices that we make our campuses inclusive learning communities where people thrive, feel welcome and can reach their potential. We know that as human beings we don’t always get it right, but it is imperative to always be aware of what is needed and expected, to reflect and learn and to work together to create the community we all want and deserve.”
With the old lockers of the St. Mary’s and St. Jerome’s high school era gone, and a refreshed look throughout the building, our walls and halls are filling up once again with a hope-filled future. There are many more opportunities for St. Louis to add to the remaining blank walls, just as there are many opportunities for our St. Louis students to start anew, at any point in their learning journey, and share their stories of success.