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Share the Mission 2017/2018 Award Recipients: Alice Matisz, James Spiess, Dr. Mark Nixon, Savio Baptista - Sep 09,2018

(Picture from left to right: Savio Baptista, James Spiess, Alice Matisz, Dr. Mark Nixon)

The Share the Mission Award is the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division Board of Trustees' most prestigious award.  It is intended to honour those who have: offered outstanding or long term service; accepted demanding challenges and set new standards for the rest of us to follow; contributed, through action and deed, to the Catholic atmosphere of our schools; demonstrated involvement and leadership in community/parish organizations; and reflected the Mission Statement of the Holy Spirit School Division in all actions. 

Due to the rigorous standards of the award, there have been years in the past where no recipient has been selected.  This year however, there are four (4) recipients; the most to ever receive the award simultaneously.  "We actually had eight nominations this year," notes the Committee Chair, Vice Chair Bob Spitzig, "which made our deliberations very complex.  Eventually we narrowed things down and discerned that these four individuals should all be honoured for their amazing service to our school division and students."

For many Holy Spirit staff and students, past and present, these names will be both well known and synonymous with "Faith in Action":

  • Dr. Mark Nixon - Having just retired from Catholic Central High School after 28 years of service,
    Dr. Nixon leaves behind an unquestionable legacy to both staff and students. As primary nominator Mardi Renyk explains, "His faith-filled leadership resulted in creating for our students innovative and truly meaningful changes in curriculum, prayer centres in classrooms, and off-campus retreats at every grade level that I am certain have had enormous impact on how the ‘kids' in our classrooms took on the challenge of forming their worldview and their own faith lives." Past principal Carol Koran further notes, "He taught us, both directly and through his own actions, to make our Catholic identity and spirituality present and visible in every aspect of our lives."
  • Alice Matisz - Both through her volunteerism and her employment with Catholic youth ministry in Lethbridge, Alice has been instrumental in forming a rich program for our youngest students. More importantly though, "she is a consummate role model to all of our [Lethbridge] teachers and support staff in how to connect with kids about our shared faith, and never leaves an encounter with a student without making that child feel special and loved." (Kathy Jones-Husch, Principal of St. Patrick Fine Arts Elementary School).
  • James Spiess - Since his youth, James Spiess has provided leadership in a variety of activities at the parish, school, and community levels as a result of "[his] passion for supporting people at all stages in their spiritual journey..." (Sarah Stamp, primary nominator). For example, he has been intrinsic to the Little Saints program for elementary aged children, the Catholic Young Adults program (now Compass Group), the That Man is You program, and the Santa's Anonymous project at Catholic Central High School. Even in his spare time, which he uses to focus on his family and his love of basketball, James embodies what it means to use one's gifts to glorify God. He calls those around him to this message as well, which explains why the sentiment expressed on the back of the Cougar Basketball Club's hoodies/shirts reads, "Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God."
  • Savio Baptista - Nominated by the CWL at Assumption, the group remarks that "Savio is humble and yet a powerful, visible example of what Christian family is all about, serving God through church and community." Principal of École Saint Mary, Dan Monaghan, could not agree more, "When I started my tenure..., it quickly became apparent that Savio was well respected by all in the community - students, parents and staff. It did not take long to figure out why. Savio's dedication to both the curricular and extra-curricular programs is extraordinary. Equally amazing is Savio's ability to instruct in a Christ-like manner." Some of the ways Mr. Baptista models this willingness to serve is through his participation in activities like This Man Is You, coaching with the Cougar Basketball Club and other school sports, providing music at Masses, and arranging for students to build relationships with the seniors in our community by bringing them to Martha's House to sing and visit.

What is shared by all of these recipients is their humility. Superintendent Chris Smeaton clarifies, "Based on what I know about these worthy individuals, none of them will think they deserve this award. Not only are they all very humble, they simply don't do these things for recognition - they do them for God.  Truly, they are an inspiration to all of us."

Please join the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division Board of Trustees in congratulating the recipients of the 2017/2018 Share the Mission Award.



For further information regarding this press release, please contact:

Judy Lane, Board Chair
Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Separate Regional Division No.4
Phone: (403) 327-9555 


Posted August 31, 2018

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