Student never forgot St. James School

July 4, 2011

EDMONTON — As the school year comes to a close we take the opportunity to look back at significant events that marked the year in a special way.

A special marker at St. James School is a story that began over 50 years ago with the opening of the school and the arrival of the Cieselkski family.

The oldest, Alex, attended the school until Grade 9 and then went to St. Mary. In both schools he excelled in all areas, especially athletics, his lifelong passion.

We educators know the effect a teacher can have on a student is immeasurable. That is why Catholic teachers embrace the vocation of teaching and reflect upon our career as an Easter people, people of hope. This is an appropriate time of our year to make this story known.

In November 2003 Alex returned with family and friends to celebrate the 50th anniversary of St. James. As he walked through the hallways and classrooms, he was keenly aware of how much he had loved the place and how deeply imbedded were the memories that were made here.

He told his wife Kathy he would love to do something special for this school that was so important in his childhood.

Alex imbued the values given by his family and supported and reinforced by Edmonton Catholic Schools. His passion and dedication for family and friends characterized his life and was the impetus for his generosity to us at St. James.

In 2008 Alex was diagnosed with cancer and, after bravely facing the challenges of the disease, died at home. This year Kathy contacted us and told the story of her husband and his wish to do something special for the school.

In his name she donated $10,000 that has been used to purchase a robotics lab for the children of St. James. Other family members have also given funds to the school that will enhance our physical education programming.

A plaque in Alex's name is being printed and in September we will dedicate a room in the school in his honour.