On Monday, February 6, 2015, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Elementary School in Markham proudly hosted a Canadian Citizenship Ceremony in honour of 37 immigrants who took the Oath of Citizenship that day.
The school’s staff and students beautifully adorned the school foyer, library and gym with red and white decorations. They also wore red and white clothing, and all of the refreshments for the ceremony reflected the Canadian flag.
Not only did the school’s students witness this important rite of passage, but they actively participated in the sacred ceremony. The school’s kindergarten students proudly waved Canadian flags during the processions, and the school’s choir sung O Canada!, in both English and French, bringing tears to the eyes of many of the new Canadian citizens. Students also told stories about Canadian culture, symbols and customs. The new citizens remarked that they were extremely grateful for the opportunity to officially become Canadians and welcomed into this role by such a caring school community.
Judge Lilian Klein presided over the ceremony. Other dignitaries and special guests who participated in the ceremony included: the Markham Crier, John Webster; RCMP Officer, Terry Russel; Police Constable, Julie Thompson; Citizenship and Immigration Parliamentary Secretary, MP Costas Menegaskis; YCDSB Vice-Chair, Marlene Mogado; Superintendent of Education, Nancy Di Nardo; and Principal Linda Ward.
“Accolades go to Ms. Ward and all of the St. Francis Xavier staff and students for making this a most memorable and meaningful occasion for this group of New Canadians,” said Di Nardo. “It was a wonderful moment for the school community as well, something they will always remember.”