Be Mindful

popeThis summer my sister went to Italy.  It reminded me of a past trip when my wife and I visited that country.  Italy was a terrific trip filled with wonderful sites, places, foods, and people.  The highlight of our trip wasn’t actually in Italy but in the Vatican.  Spending only one day at the Vatican was not enough, but it was a memorable day that I cannot forget.  During this day I was star struck; not only did I get to hear Pope Francis, but I got to see him up-close (only 5 or 6 feet away).  This pic of the Pope was taken by me using my iPhone.  Seeing him was awesome, hearing his message was just as important.  I could try to summarize his message, but I found a much better summary by  Junno Arocho Esteves – Catholic News Service:

VATICAN CITY (CNS)—God did not choose perfect people to form his church, but rather sinners who have experienced his love and forgiveness, Pope Francis said. The Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman shows how his actions went against the general mentality of his time, a way of thinking that saw a “clear separation” between the pure and impure, the pope said Aug. 9 during his weekly general audience. “There were some scribes, those who believed they were perfect,” the pope said. “And I think about so many Catholics who think they are perfect and scorn others. This is sad.” Although Jesus’ love toward the sick and the marginalized “baffles his contemporaries,” it reveals God’s heart as the place where suffering men and women can find love, compassion and healing, Pope Francis said. “How many people continue today in a wayward life because they find no one willing to look at them in a different way, with the eyes—or better yet—with the heart of God, meaning with hope,” he said. But “Jesus sees the possibility of a resurrection even in those who have made so many wrong choices.” Oftentimes, the pope continued, Christians become accustomed to having their sins forgiven and receiving God’s unconditional love while forgetting the heavy price Jesus paid by dying on the cross. By forgiving sinners, Jesus doesn’t seek to free them from a guilty conscience, but rather offers “people who have made mistakes the hope of a new life, a life marked by love,” the pope said. The church is a people formed “of sinners who have experienced the mercy and forgiveness of God,” Pope Francis said. Christians are “all poor sinners” who need God’s mercy, “which strengthens us and gives us hope.”

As part of our faith plan, we are challenged to ‘be mindful and be prayerful’ throughout the year.  Pope Francis’ words make me mindful of God’s unconditional love, mindful that I am a sinner, mindful of God’s mercy, and mindful of every present hope of a new life in Christ’s love.   As a teacher and principal of Father Leonard Van Tighem School, and as a member of the Catholic faith community of Lethbridge, I will be using Pope Francis’ message to be mindful of God’s presence.

Also, I wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving as we thank God for the many gifts we have received.

Greg Kostiuk



Last night my son told me to get some sleep and then laughed.  He reminded me that I never sleep before the first day of school.  My sleeplessness to not due to anxiety about the start of the school year, but a feeling of excitement, joy, and passion for beginning another year; my 50th first day of school either as a student or educator.  I welcome all the members of our learning community to the 2019-20 school year at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.

Thank you to Mr. Wensveen, Mrs. Danylchuk, and Mrs. Maniedao for their hard work in making the school ready for us.  All the shiny floors look great.  We are excited to welcome new students, families, and staff to our school this year.  New or returning teaching staff include Mrs. Lawrence (Gr. 6), Miss Gabruck (Gr. 8), Miss Loman (Gr. 8), and Miss Tkach (Gr. 7).  Also, we welcome back Mrs. Ehlert (Educational Assistant), and we have Mrs. Walcheske joining us in our Early Learning Program.  Finally, we have two University of Lethbridge PSIII students, Miss Matthews (mentored by Mrs. Alvarez) and Miss Hemstreet (mentored by Mr. Templin).

The first School Council Meeting will be on Tuesday, September 10th.  I encourage all parents to attend.  School Council plays a vital role in our school community.  Our Welcome Back BBQ and Family Blessing are on September 19th.  Father William will start the evening with a family blessing at 5:30 pm, BBQ hamburgers will be served after the blessing, and families will be able to ‘meet the teacher’ in their classrooms or the gym starting at approximately 6:30 pm.  Also, Jennifer from St. Martha’s Parish will be there to provide information on Sacramental Preparation.  We look forward to seeing everyone to celebrate the beginning of a new school year.

The focus of this school year will continue to be on growing in our faith and experiencing the richness of Catholic Education, developing literacy and numeracy skills that will prepare students for a changing future, and helping First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students achieve equitable educational outcomes.  Also, we are excited about the first year of our new Faith Plan called Making Our Mark: Journey of an Intentional Discipline.  This year’s faith theme is Beginning the Journey.  The primary focus of Beginning the Journey is a focus on being mindful and being prayerful.  I am looking forward to us integrating our new faith plan with the Van Tighem Virtues of Honest, Accepting, Wise, Kind, Spiritual.

We are getting bigger, both physically and in numbers.  Our new portables are not quite ready; we hope to be in them before the end of September.  Some of our class sizes are getting large, and we are hopeful that once the provincial budget is brought forward in October, we will be able to address this issue.

Like last year, you can pay your school fees and other fees online.  Please click on this logo for more information:

kev   Online Payments

To help with communication, here are some social media links (please click on the logo):

facebook   FLVT Facebook

hawks-logoandwordmark_teal_eye[1]  FLVT Website

Twitter-Download-PNG   @GregKostiuk

remind   Remind enter 587-600-0226 and text @flvtscnews or email  We may be using Remind less this year as there has been a change to the Remind program.  We are looking at other texting options.

Twitter-Download-PNG   @flvthawks

We look forward to working with you to continue to make Father Leonard Van Tighem School a special place.  On behalf of our staff, I wish everyone a successful school year.

Greg Kostiuk


One to One Initiative

Last June we piloted a new project for our Grade 8 and 9 students called ‘One to One Initiative.’  We are happy to announce we are doing it again this September for our Grade 8 and 9 students.  Please see details below:

Sept 11 pg 1Sept 11 pg 2

Please click on this link if you want to submit a request form to purchase a Chromebook:

Just a reminder that this does not include the case and the Chromebooks are different than the Edwin Pilot Chromebooks our Grade 7 students used last year.

Please contact the school if you have any questions regarding this exciting project.

Greg Kostiuk

Where Did the Year Go?


Tomorrow we celebrate our Grade 9 students during Farewell exercises on June 6.  This year our Faith Plan was Sharing Our Bounty of Time, Treasure, and Talents.  Our Grade 9 Farewell is a celebration of our Grade 9s sharing their bounty with all of us.  As we celebrate our Grade 9s we must continue to find different ways that we can challenge our students; ways to let their creativity shine; ways to allow them to safely fail and learn from their experiences.  We have a lot of good ideas for next year and we are excited about the 2019-20 school year

Can you believe this school year is almost done?  We are having a terrific year because of all the support all the members of our learning community have shown the school.  I want to say thank you.

Firstly, I want to thank the parents for your support.  I would especially like to thank all the members of the School Council.  Without all their hard work our school would not be the great place it is.

Secondly, thank you to the staff for the countless hours here at the school planning lessons or the many events.  Thank you to the staff for everything, whether it is the many events they organize, the excellent work in creating positive learning environments, or the simple ways they care for all the students here at FLVT.

Last, but not least, thank you to the students.  You are indeed a great, confident group of young people.  Our future is bright in your hands.  Every day you are accomplishing our school motto, “Many hands building a better world.”

June traditionally brings some goodbyes to some staff and welcomes to new staff.  First the goodbyes, on behalf of the learning community of Father Lenard Van Tighem School we say goodbye to Mr. Van Uden, Miss Barr, Miss Gabruck, Mrs. Kambeitz, Miss Besplug and Mrs. Bellcourt.  The dedication from all our departing teachers and educational assistant to Catholic Education is an inspiration to all of us.  You will be missed.  Please do not become strangers to FLVT, the doors of our school are always open to you, and we hope you will visit us.

I am pleased to welcome the following teachers will be joining us next year: Miss Giannetti, Miss Loman, and Miss Tkach.  You will love it here.

We are in the last month of school with year-end field trips, Sports Day, final Mass, Grade 9 Farewell, year-end exams, and report cards.  June is an exciting time for staff and students.  On behalf of the staff, we wish you a healthy and happy sun-filled June.

Best wishes.

Greg Kostiuk

Thank You for Trusting Us


The staff at Father Leonard Van Tighem will be developing class lists to create rich educational environments for all the students.  A lot of thought goes into the making of homeroom classes to ensure a balanced classroom.  As a team, we discuss:

  • Student needs
  • Educational Assistant supports
  • The male/female ratio
  • Academic balance
  • Behaviour needs
  • Number of students in classes
  • Student relationships with other students
  • New students joining FLVT

Parent requests make it difficult to create balanced classes.  Therefore, in order to create balanced, positive learning environments, parent requests for specific teachers, classes, or students will not be considered.  We do realize parents have a wealth of knowledge about their child and parents may want to share some pertinent information about their child.  Please contact me if there is any information that you would like to share about your child that will help the staff place your child in the best educational environment possible.  Please do not indicate any preference to be with any specific teacher, specific homeroom, or a specific student. We attempt to create balanced classes that are as similar as possible to each other.

To help for a smooth transition to the new school year, class lists will be posted in the gathering space at Father Leonard Van Tighem School on Thursday, August 29 by 10:00 am.  We hope this helps with any student anxiety about the first day.

Thank you for trusting us to make balanced class lists and thank you for having your children at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.  We are looking forward to a terrific end of the 2018-19 school year and we anticipate a wonderful 2019-20 school year.

Greg Kostiuk

Public Education – The Catholic Way

Public Education - The Catholic Way

This week is Catholic Education Week.  We are very blessed to have Catholic Education in our province.  To help celebrate this week, our school division and local ATA has created a video entitled Public Education – The Catholic Way.  Thank you to everyone who created it and to all the FLVT staff and students that were a part of it.  Please take some time and view it:

Thank you for having your families being part of Father Leonard Van Tighem School, Holy Spirit Catholic Schools, and Catholic Education.

Greg Kostiuk