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Elder brings positivity to new St. David site

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jun 10, 2014 - 4:48 PM |
Grade 7 St. David Catholic Elementary School students Jade Gervais (left) and Sequoia Wemigwans drum and sing at a ceremony celebrating impending construction on a new building for their school. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Grade 7 St. David Catholic Elementary School students Jade Gervais (left) and Sequoia Wemigwans drum and sing at a ceremony celebrating impending construction on a new building for their school. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Principal: New school will fit students' spirit

Given that roughly half of its students are Aboriginal, a June 10 ceremony celebrating the impending construction on the new St. David Catholic Elementary School was certainly appropriate.


Surrounded by the school's 240 students, local Aboriginal elder Vince Pawis smudged the treed construction site off of Frood Road with sage to “take away any negativity.”

He also tied red, white, yellow and black cloths — the four colours in the Aboriginal medicine wheel — containing tobacco into nearby trees.


“What we wanted to do was bring good feelings to the space and make sure that Mother Nature knows we're coming,” said the school's principal, Dawn Wemigwans.

Construction on the new $8-million, 22,097-square-foot St. David, which will accommodate 200 pupils from junior kindergarten to Grade 6, is due to begin in mid-July, and is expected to be completed by September 2015.

In a more “homey” architectural style, it will feature a sloped roof, and a walkway over the stream running through the property.

Once the school is built, Grade 7 and 8 students who would have previously attended St. David will have a choice of going to St. Benedict, St. Charles or Marymount Academy.

“Our students are absolutely beautiful, wonderful children, and right now we just don't have a structure that fits our spirit,” Wemigwans said.

“Their spirit is happy and strong, and we're going to have a new building that meets our spirit. They're going to love the trees, and rocks and playground. It's going to be absolutely just wonderful.”

As part of the ceremony, Wemigwans' daughter, Grade 7 St. David student Sequoia Wemigwans — along with fellow Grade 7 student Jade Gervais — drummed and sang a song giving thanks to the creator.

The new school is going to be “really cool,” she said.

“Our school is so old now,” Sequoia said, adding that she thinks the site of the new building is beautiful. “I think it's going to be a really great environment for kids to learn in.”
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer

@heidi_ulrichsen

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