History

historyIn the early 90’s, whispers of establishing a Catholic High School within the vine enriched soils of Niagara’s western region had been heard for more than a decade. Historically, students pursuing a Catholic Education in western Niagara had been bussed to Denis Morris Catholic High School in St. Catharines, of the former Lincoln County Roman Catholic School Board.

In 1993, the Lincoln County Roman Catholic School Board approved the opening of an unnamed Catholic high school in Grimsby, slated to open in September, 1994.

The community was invited to assist in the naming process for the new school. The name was inspired by Sandy Startek, an intermediate teacher at St. Joseph Elementary School in Grimsby, who recognized that this Catholic Secondary School would serve three communities: Grimsby, Lincoln, and West Lincoln, as well as the three parishes St. Joseph, St. Martin of Tours and St. Helen and symbolic of the partnership between school, the church and the home. The concept of three was further cemented in the concept of the Blessed Trinity, God is one in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Founding Principal, Mr. Michael Lostracco, previously Vice Principal at Denis Morris, was appointed in January 1994 and was given the semester to plan for the new school. The boundaries were established for Blessed Trinity which captured the students from the schools of St. Joseph and Our Lady of Fatima (Grimsby), St. John in Beamsville and part of the St. Edward’s territory, Jordan (Lincoln), and St. Martin (West Lincoln - Smithville). St. Mark, in Beamsville, which currently feeds Blessed Trinity, was not opened until 2001.

At its inception, funds were unavailable to secure a permanent building. The school was originally a series of connected portable classrooms which included a small cafeteria, classrooms and office space. The school originally began with only grade 9 students and a new grade was added in each subsequent year.

Registration for the new school began in March, 1994 with the students signing up to go to an empty field, as even at that time there was nothing on the site. If faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase, the original families committed to Blessed Trinity believed in the value of Catholic education. The original Open House was held at the Grimsby Peach King Centre where Mr. Lostracco presented the drawings for the portapack and a promise of the enthusiasm that the new staff would bring! The anticipated enrolment for Blessed Trinity’s inaugural year was to be 52 students.

The original portables, that formed the portapack, came from the back of the original site of Holy Cross on Lake Street in St. Catharines and were not moved until later in the spring.

In June of 1994, Mr. Zaroda, one of the original teachers ran contests with students in the associate schools for Blessed Trinity to come up with the school colours, a moniker and a school mascot. The first round generated a number of enthusiastic responses. All of these responses were compiled and a list of 10 potential monikers for the school was developed. Students were then surveyed on these 10 monikers and they were subsequently reduced to the 3 most popular. The 3 potential monikers were Trailblazers, Titans and Thunder. Students were again surveyed on these 3 monikers and with over 70% margin Thunder was the new moniker for Blessed Trinity.

The final survey resulted in the school colours being selected as navy, silver and white, as well as the school mascot for the school being selected as Thor - in Greek mythology the God of Thunder.

The first student council was chosen by having the Principal from each associate school nominate a student. There was not a formal election for positions. All students contributed wherever needed. The original student council was a team made up of one representative from each of the original five associate schools: St. John - Paula Stringer, St. Martin - Stephanie Mus, St. Joseph - David Majetic, Our Lady of Fatima - Erin Kelly and St. Edward - John Orshinsky, with Joe Zaroda as our staff advisor. Many were involved in the student council for all or most of their time at Blessed Trinity.

On September 6, 1994, Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School opened its door to 77 apprehensive grade 9 students and 5 enthusiastic teachers, Andy Cecchini, Monika Furbacher, Angelo Restivo, Michelene Urlocker and Joseph Zaroda. Barbara Mullen, administrative assistant and David Howe, custodian rounded out the original school staff. However, the original portapack facility was not ready. Consequently the first two weeks of classes for the new school were held in the basement of Trinity United Church, located on Main Street, Grimsby. Approximately 2 weeks later, classes were then moved to the original portapack facility at 145 Livingston Ave.

In September of 1995, Grade 10 was added and enrolment grew to 143 students. Grade 11 was added in September 1996  bringing enrolment to 223 students and the following year when grade 12 was added enrolment peaked at 274 students. As enrolment grew so did the need for administrative support. Mr. Angelo Restivo was appointed as the school’s first Vice Principal in September, 1997.

On June 21, 1998, Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary celebrated its first graduation ceremony at the current location of St. Joseph’s Church on Livingston Avenue, honouring 51 student pioneers who made up the inaugural graduating class.

On January 1, 1998 as part of the amalgamation of school boards, the Welland County Roman Catholic Separate School Board and the Lincoln County Roman Catholic Separate School Board became the Niagara Catholic District School Board.

In September, 1999 the original portion of permanent facility was constructed which included the gymnasium and a manufacturing technology classroom, as had been previously approved by the former Lincoln County RCSSB. The new board quickly demonstrated its commitment to Catholic education in western Niagara and approved the construction of the remainder of the facility which was originally built to accommodate 609 students.

Originally scheduled to open in September, 2001 construction was not finished until just prior to Thanksgiving, 2001. Staff worked over the Thanksgiving weekend to move into the new facility. The first day of class in the new permanent facility was Tuesday, October 9, 2001. The day began with students going to their homeroom in the portapack. From the portapack students and staff walked to St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church for a prayer service. At the conclusion of the prayer service, everyone walked down Livingston Ave. and into the new facility, entering to the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Over the years portables were added as enrolment grew which put pressure on the existing facility. In March, 2007, the Blessed Trinity Catholic School Council made a presentation at a board meeting on the need for an expansion to the school. Enrolment in September, 2007 climaxed at 1040 students.

In June 2009, Liberal MPP Kim Craitor announced at a ceremony in Fort Erie funding for two Niagara Catholic capital projects - one being an expansion to Blessed Trinity for construction of 23 classrooms. At the time of the announcement the school had 970 students housed in a building, the portapack (original school) and 8 additional portables.

In July 2009, Raimondo Associate Architect, Inc. were selected to design the expansion to Blessed Trinity which is expected to open in September 2012. It is anticipated at this time that the construction of the expansion will eliminate the need for temporary classroom facilities on the current school site and will permit the removal of the original school which continued to be in use following the building of the permanent facility as temporary accommodations. The new facility will have the capacity for 1,100 students.

 

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