Our School

Exterior of the school

At St. André of Bessette Catholic School, we are called to celebrate and nurture the God-given talents of each student as we serve with excellence in the light of Christ. We recognize our call to love and serve from our Master teacher Jesus Christ, and we are committed to creating a Catholic learning community under the protection of Mother Mary.

The Catholic Graduate Expectations are our foundation as we strive for academic excellence and the acknowledgement of those who achieve it. We recognize God as the source of all life and actively work to focus on social issues within our local and global communities.

We celebrate the diversity within our community with a collaborative approach to learning, in cooperation with parents, the Catholic faith community, and other organizations that recognize the value of our mission. Within the context of Catholic teaching and Sacramental living, our school community strives to demonstrate respect and reverence for all life, thus nurturing a safe, Christian environment for the entire school community.

2017 - 2018 School Year Calendar

Our Board's 2017 - 2018 School Year Calendar is now available. Please subscribe to our school calendar webpage to receive the latest updates and emails on upcoming events and activities happening at school.

Child Care services

We are pleased to partner with the YMCA partner to provide before and after school child care, Ontario Early Years Centre and a School's Cool summer program at St. André of Bessette Catholic School. Call our child care partner at (289) 200-3217 to learn more about our services.

School hours

Our school hours are as follows:

8:40 a.m. - School Begins
10:05 - 10:20 a.m. - Morning recess
11:25 a.m. - 12:25 p.m. - Lunch
1:50 - 2:05 p.m. - Afternoon recess
3:10 p.m. - Dismissal

Patron Saint

Our patron saint is St. André of Bessette. Brother André, was born Alfred Bessette on August 9, 1845, in St. Grégoire, Quebec. He was sickly and not expected to live long, and remained in frail health his whole life. Unable to read or write, and sick more often than well, Alfred went from one lowly job to the next until he joined the congregation of the Holy Cross. As he was uneducated, Brother André was assigned the humblest of tasks, including being the porter: answering the door and welcoming visitors. As part of his daily duties, Brother André would visit the sick in the hospital or in their homes. Many of them were healed by his prayers. More and more people came to him for advice and hope. Soon the news of Montreal's humble brother spread far and wide. Brother André took none of the credit, giving it to St. Joseph instead. 

Devoted to St. Joseph, Brother André began to gather money to build a chapel to St. Joseph. After more than 50 years of prayers and donations, the St. Joseph Oratory was finally built at the top of Mount Royal. After Brother André's death in 1937, a million people came to the Basilica to pay their respects to this simple, humble man. On May 23, 1982, Pope John Paul II beatified Blessed Brother André. In October 2010, Pope Benedict XVI canonized St. André Bessette.

Brother André Catholic School was proud to join Canada and the world in celebrating our patron saint. Although he is now known as St. André Bessette, he will always be Brother André to our community. We try to follow his example of devotion, doing humble tasks for the good of others, along with being prayerful and welcoming of all who come through our doors.

School history

In September 2005, a brand new Catholic school opened in the Ajax neighbourhood of Nottingham. It was built to accommodate the growing population of Mother Teresa Catholic School, which was overcrowded at the time. An extensive naming process took place at the Board level and the name Brother André Catholic School was chosen.

The Nottingham area is located in near Westney Road and Taunton Road. Set in front of a large hill, the school building sits next to a newly built public school and across the street from a beautiful park and soccer field maintained by the Town of Ajax.

Our founding principal, Suzanne Roche selected a staff of 18 teachers, one custodian and one educational assistant. At the end of the summer of 2005, the building of the school was slightly behind schedule, and the Board didn't get the go-ahead to take possession of the school until the day before the Labour Day weekend of 2005. Wearing workboots and hardhats, the staff toured the new building and set to work getting their classrooms ready for the students, who would arrive the following Tuesday.

The staff worked all through the long weekend, cleaning, organizing and decorating. To our dismay, each student desk was approximately two feet tall, and each leg of the desk needed to be unscrewed, readjusted and then screwed in again. It was a time-consuming process, but in a show of true community, we all helped each other adjust the desks so that the students were able to sit in them on Tuesday!

The school opened its doors on Tuesday, September 6, 2005, with a student population of 394. It was the largest school opening in Durham Catholic history at that time. Both staff and students were excited that first morning! However, the school was not entirely ready. We were lacking a finished library and gym, but the staff and students were charmed with the beautiful new building and set to work creating a community and our own traditions.

In May 2006, Brother André Catholic School was officially blessed and opened. Most of our students were involved in both the daytime and evening celebration. During the day, the students celebrated a very special mass with Father Roy Roberts from our parish St. Francis de Sales. Special songs were practiced and learned. Father Roy had all the students and staff take their shoes off once they entered the school gym to signify that our school was now a blessed and sacred place. It was a very moving mass for everyone in attendance. After the mass, Father Roy visited each classroom to officially bless each room. As Brother André was a porter or door keeper, each classroom door was shut, and Father Roy knocked on the door, and the students answered his knock as Brother André would have done and each of the four corners of the classroom were blessed with holy water. Each student received a prayer card with Brother André on it as well as a medallion with his picture on it.

The evening portion of the official opening included a procession of the current faculty as well as speeches from school board, Town of Ajax dignitaries, students and our principal, Suzanne Roche. There was a beautiful liturgical dance by some of our students that wowed everyone. Visitors toured our school and admired the beautiful, brand new building and the hard work that the staff had undertaken to build the community of Brother André that year. It was a very special and proud time in our school history.

In that first year of being open, the focus was on creating a thriving community of learners. To achieve this, we created a series of many contests and challenges to involve the students. Contests such as creating a mascot for Brother André were quite popular among the students. The winning submission, after a school-wide vote, was the Eagle. The Brother André Eagle is proudly displayed on our spirit wear, team logos, and throughout the school building.

When you enter our school, you will notice over 400 hand-painted tiles lining our foyer walls. Each student, staff member, clergy and parent council member created a unique and individual tile to be placed on our wall. These tiles have created a legacy of individuality, creativity and respect. The tiles are as distinctive and diverse as our school population.

The Brother André school community is a very multicultural one. We have students representing many cultures and countries, including the Philippines, Europe, the Caribbean, Egypt and the Middle East. We welcome many students who have just arrived in Canada, and have created a diverse learning community where we respect and celebrate our multiculturalism.

Since its opening, Brother André has been a dominating force in athletics. Our students enjoy sports such as basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, tchouckball, track and field, cross country, skipping and flag football. Our many athletic awards line the walls of our gymnasium and have created a legacy of athletic excellence.

Our students are more than just athletic. They also enjoy a wide range of creative activities, such as the knitting club, the sewing club, art club, math club, yu-gi-oh, folk dancing, craft club, choir, and social justice clubs. Over our seven years, we have done three full-length school plays involving students from grades 3 to 8. These plays were a highlight of the school year and were much enjoyed by students, teachers, parents and visiting schools.

In 2011, our school received its Silver certification for being an EcoSchool. Our students are very active in recycling, boomeranging compostables home, as well as being on the lookout for anyone or any class wasting energy. Our goal is to become a Gold level EcoSchool in the near future.

Our school has an active Catholic School Council. From the time our school opened, our fabulous parents on the council have been very involved in helping to build a fantastic community. Our school council runs the much anticipated Hallowe'en Dance-a-Thon, Pizza Days, the Meet the Teacher Barbeque and the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. In the past, the highlight of the end of the school year was the Fun Fair, where students and their families toured the school and enjoyed a barbecue and some engaging activities. Our school is a fun and thriving community thanks to the dedication of the parents on our Catholic School Council.

In September 2012, Brother André Catholic School underwent a large transformation as St. Josephine Bakhita Catholic School opened its doors. Many of our staff and students either moved to the new school or moved on to other schools and opportunities within the Board. Our projected enrolment for September 2012 was 375 students, which was significantly lower then we've experienced in the past few years.

Although this has been a huge change for the Brother André community, we look forward to the new opportunities we will face. We know that wherever we may end up, we will always have a special place in our hearts for Brother André and this community, and that the doors of Brother André Catholic School will always be open to us.

In spring 2016, the school's names was changed to St. André of Bessette Catholic School.

Philosophy

As Catholic educators, we live according to our Father's code and to lead our students, by example, to live the basic truths of the gospel message. This is an awesome, yet inspiring challenge which we share with the parents of our young men and women.

Children learn what they live. Each day we have the opportunity to teach our students:

  • to love by the way we love;
  • to be generous by our generosity;
  • to be passionate by our compassion; and
  • to be forgiving by the way we forgive.

However, a person cannot give what he or she does not have. Unless we are living the Gospel message, we cannot lead our students to do so.

There are many hallmarks of a Catholic educator, including:

  • Prayer - The challenges of our vocation, and indeed life in general, are great. To meet them we need to follow Christ's advice that we "ask the father in My name". Each Catholic educator has a duty to expose students to his or her particular style of prayer in order to assist students to recognize the value of prayer in daily life.
  • Eucharist - Parish, school, and staff liturgies provide opportunities to celebrate our faith. Our example can testify to the Eucharist as a joyful source of strength and community building.
  • Social Justice - This is the heart of the Christian message, that we "love one another as I have loved you". As our brother's and sister's keepers, we must be concerned about the aged, the poor, the oppressed, and any other marginalized group - both at home and abroad.

Links

Below are links to resources to help you achieve success while at Brother Andre Catholic School.

Contact us

We welcome your questions, comments and concerns.

Principal: Paul Podesta
60 Seggar Avenue
Ajax, ON  L1T 4Y4

Phone: (905) 619-8021
Fax: (905) 619-1366

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