Our Lady of Grace Catholic Elementary School in Aurora will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a Mass and Open House on Sunday, May 1, 2016. In recognition of this milestone Aurora Mayor, Geoffrey Dawe has proclaimed May 1, 2016 as Our Lady of Grace Catholic Elementary School Day.
Our Lady of Grace is the oldest elementary school in the Town of Aurora. It first opened at 9 Maple Street in September 1955 to approximately 125 students in Kindergarten to Grade 8. The school consisted of only four classrooms, and its first principal was Mrs. Campbell. Over the years, an addition was built on to the school's west side, but students still needed to go to the Our Lady of Grace Church Hall to take gym and French classes.
After a second Catholic school St. Joseph CES, was built in Aurora, Our Lady of Grace acted as a primary school serving students in Kindergarten to Grade 3, while the older students attended St. Joseph CES. In 1986, under the direction of Principal Dan Willison, Our Lady of Grace CES moved to its current location at 120 Aurora Heights Drive where it could accommodate more students. The growth at the school continued well into the 1990s, when it was under the leadership of Principal Paul Murphy. In the 1990s, two more Catholic elementary schools opened in Aurora, followed by another in 2005, bringing the total number of Catholic elementary schools currently in the area to five.
"Our Lady of Grace Catholic Elementary School is rich in history," says Ines Donato, Principal. "Our school is blessed to have a very dedicated and committed staff. Their commitment to the school community is truly inspiring, as they encourage all students to work to their full potential as kind, compassionate, life-long learners. I thank our student and engaged parent communities, past and present, for shaping our school into the dynamic, inclusive and caring place it is today! This school has touched the lives of so many as it has served multiple generations of families. I invite the entire OLG community from the past six decades -- alumni, parents, former staff, clergy, and friends to celebrate Our Lady of Grace Catholic Elementary School Day on May 1st with us."
The Mass will be celebrated at 2 p.m. by Fr. Frank McDevitt at Our Lady of Grace Church located at 15347 Yonge Street, which is adjacent to the original school site.
Following the Mass there will be an Open House celebration at the school from 3:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. During the Open House guests will have the opportunity to tour the school, view displays and mementos from the school's 60 year history, have their photo taken in a photo booth, enjoy music and entertainment by current students, catch up with old friends and make new memories. There will also be brief remarks by dignitaries and officials including: School Trustee, Elizabeth Crowe; Director of Education, Patricia Preston; and Mayor of Aurora, Geoffrey Dawe.
Refreshments will be provided. A BBQ will take place on the school's playground hosted by the Aurora Optimist Club. Food and drinks will be sold.