OLMP grows with new middle school program
Our Lady of Mount Pleasant principal Joe Kucy has a busy year ahead of him with the introduction of a middle school program and several other initiatives on the go at Camrose the school. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian
Our Lady of Mount Pleasant High School has a bit of a different look to it this year.
Wandering the halls will be students as young as 10 years old due to Grade 5 and 6 migrating over to the high school from St. Patrick School, creating a middle school program for Elk Island Catholic Schools in Camrose.
“We’re one school, which is the message we are bringing to everybody,” said OLMP principal Joe Kucy. “They are fitting in as any mainstream class would. They are participating in our assemblies, they are participating in our activities.”
The reconfiguration was voted in this past spring with the elementary school sitting at above 100 per cent capacity and OLMP at 62 per cent. The sweet spot for school efficiency is considered 80 per cent. While exact numbers will not be confirmed until early October — the deadline to have numbers in to the province is Sept. 30 — the change was projected to put OLMP between 70 and 80 per cent for the 2017-18 school year and St. Patrick at about 81 per cent.
Kucy says OLMP gained about 75 Grade 5 students and about 60 Grade 6 students this year.
One of the big concerns was the ability to integrate students that young into a large school that goes to Grade 12. Kucy said the first week was focused on making the new students feel welcome and woven into OLMP’s cultural fabric.
They set the tone on the first day of school on Aug. 30 with a full-school assembly that included cross-grade games with a lot of play.
“It was wonderful to see our high school kids in leadership roles and it was wonderful to see the anxiety of the first day for many of the kids in the middle school disappear really quickly,” said Kucy.
The other big advantage to developing a middle school program at OLMP is it will allow students to access programs in Grade 5 and 6 that they would not have been able to access until Grade 7 in the Catholic stream in Camrose previously. This means access to foods, woods and other option programs.
It also will fold those younger students into the athletics program at the school and have them compete head-to-head with other EICS schools.
“It’s an organized league and we’re excited about these kids having that opportunity,” said Kucy.
To accentuate this further, OLMP has started an introductory athletics program called Sports for Life for Grade 5 to 9. With this class they will be bringing in high level coaches from the community, like coaches from the University of Alberta-Augustana, to work with their students on a daily basis and to introduce them to new and
This plays into the school’s mentality to have athletes try and play as many sports as possible, which will allow them to develop different muscle groups and skills and make them better all-round athletes. They also may fall in love with a sport they never imagined they would.
“The biggest thing that most people at the pro level talk about it is they get too specialized in a certain sport and they don’t develop the muscles, the coordination,” said Kucy. “Just by the specifics of this type of opportunity — a kid trying curling in Grade 5, 6 or 7, 8, 9 — they’re developing muscles and coordination that they generally wouldn’t. That really transcends into some of the sport specific things they are playing and it makes them a better athlete in general.”