Our School Profile
Father Leonard Van Tighem School provides a Catholic Education from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade Nine in the Westside community of Lethbridge. The school is closely linked with St. Martha’s Parish in West Lethbridge (www.stmarthas.ca) as well as Children of St. Martha School (K-6) and St. Patrick Fine Arts (K-6) that send students to the Junior High Program.
The curriculum includes the core subjects of Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies & Religion as well as a variety of complementary subjects at the elementary & junior high levels (e.g. Health, Music, Drama, Art, etc.). Special programs are available for students requiring extra help in academic areas. A broad co-curricular program is designed to encourage student activity in athletics and the arts.
FATHER LEONARD VAN TIGHEM, o.m.i.
The school is named in honor of Father Van Tighem, a priest belonging to the order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He was born in Meulebeke, Belgium, on June 13th, 1851.
Leonard began his studies in M. Viaennes’ boarding school, but had to quit because of his parents’ poverty and became a woodworker. He then entered novitiate in Lachine on October 31st, 1874, and subsequently went to St. Albert, Alberta (1875), where he restarted his novitiate on September 7th, 1875 and took vows on September 8th, 1876.
Wanting to be an ordained priest, he studied theology at the St. Albert Grand Seminary at Lac-La-Nonne and Fort Saskatchewan; then he entered the scholasticate on March 18th, 1882, and took vows on March 19th, 1883. He was ordained a priest in St. Albert at the beginning of his novitiate on March 19th, 1882, by Vital-Justin Grandin o.m.i., Bishop of St. Albert.
His first assignment was in Fort MacLeod (1883-1888), and he became pastor of Lethbridge (1888-1889), with responsibility for Milk River and Warner (1908-1909), and for Coutts (1887-1909). He had already said the first Mass ever in Lethbridge in 1882, visited Pincher Creek in 1885, built the Church in Lethbridge in 1886 and become its first resident priest in 1887.
Fr. Van Tighem attended the general Chapter of 1904 in Rome; then, he was put in charge of the Strathcona [Edmonton] mission (1909-1911) and of a Dutch colony. He visited the Langdon House, where he built a residence in 1911 and became pastor (1911-1913), and from 1913 to 1917 he served as pastor in Taber. Fr. Leonard Van Tighem died suddenly in Taber, Alberta, on March 10th, 1917. He was buried in the Oblate Cemetery in St. Albert and a memorial plaque has been erected in his memory in front of St. Patrick’s Church in Lethbridge.
The F.L.V.T. “F” Logo: The “F” was created for our school by Mrs. Hay, the first year our school doors opened and represents our community values.
- All four letters of the school name F.L.V.T. are incorporated into the logo.
- The “F’ was designed to look like a torch to represent excellence.
- The “T” was designed to represent a Cross and the hawk feathers to include our school mascot.
- The letters “L”, “V” and “T” combine to form a triangle representing the home, school and church working together for our children.
The F.L.V.T. Athletic Logo: The first year Father Leonard Van Tighem School opened, staff and students noticed a hawk had taken residence in our pond area. As a result staff and students thought it would be a natural transfer to have our sports teams represented by such a magnificent bird.