February 24th, 2020
Dear Vanier families and friends,
This email, unfortunately, requires me to address some very unfortunate news:
Some of you may have heard the news this weekend or may have heard it mentioned that Jean Vanier, a member of the Vanier family that our school is named after, was found to have abused women during his lifetime.
This is sad and shocking news to many, as we have offered Jean Vanier as an example of living Gospel values, especially through his lifetime of work supporting intellectually and developmentally delayed individuals through hundreds of L’Arche communities throughout the world. Sadly, however, in another dimension of his life, he was unable to respect the physical and emotional well-being of some women.
We want to be clear that, as a school, we stand in support of the women who came forward to report their abuse by him. We also stand with the thousands of residents, volunteers, and staff of L’Arche communities who are also struggling with this news.
Although our school is connected to Jean Vanier through his surname, we do want to make it clear that our school’s name does not define us. We are defined by the people – our students, our teachers, our staff, all of us – who are here together in community. Our commitment to going beyond our studies and our collective focus on service to others, helping the poor, reaching out to the marginalized, building community, and demonstrating inclusiveness is what defines our school community. These are things that we do well and we can all be proud of.
News like this is never easy to hear and, for some students especially, hearing about abuse may cause feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness, or anger to name just a few. If your child is feeling this way, please encourage them to reach out to an adult they trust to listen and help. In particular, Ms. Brogdon and Ms. Ouellette will welcome any student who seeks support.
Please pray for strength and support. First, for the women who were abused. Next, for all those connected to L’Arche communities throughout the world. Finally, for all of us as a school community.
Our school’s full public statement on this matter is posted on our website.
If you have any questions or concerns about this matter, please feel free to bring them my attention and/or our school council Chair, Cynthia Lyslo, at email@example.com
Ryan Sikkes, principal and Jeanette Gallant, vice-principal
Dates to Note:
Pink Shirt Day was inspired by an act of kindness in small-town Nova Scotia:
“David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied [for wearing a pink shirt]…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the harassment of a new Grade 9 student by distributing pink T-shirts to all the boys in their school. ‘I learned that two people can come up with an idea, run with it, and it can do wonders,’ says Mr. Price, 17, who organized the pink protest. ‘Finally, someone stood up for a weaker kid.’ So Mr. Shepherd and some other headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. They sent out message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning they hauled the shirts to school in a plastic bag. As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled. The bullies were never heard from again.”
— GLOBE & MAIL
We invite all members of our school community to wear pink this coming Wednesday in a show of support to oppose bullying.
David Wells is a world-renowned speaker on Catholic Education. He is coming to Whitehorse to facilitate our PD Day on February 28. While he is in town, he is offering two additional sessions for the public:
Wood Street Centre – 2020-2021 Program Application Dates
Service Learning Hours
If your child received an “I” on their report card for Religion and had a comment saying they need to get their Service Learning Hours completed, please encourage them to see Mr. Gillard regarding this matter. They may also have hours not completed in previous years that is affecting credits on their transcripts. Please keep in mind, if a student did not complete hours in one year, they do carry over to the next.
Please visit the website for more details: https://www.vcssreligion.com/service-learning
My child is feeling ill or has symptoms. Can my child go to school?
Click here for more information.
Follow our Instagram @stfrancisyukon
for news and fun stuff.