School History

        Back in 1956, several local parishioners, along with Reverend Thomas Kroetch, felt that there were enough Catholic children in the town of Provost and surrounding areas to warrant the establishment of a new Catholic Separate School, and in early 1957, a petition for the establishment of a separate school district was signed.  The first organizational meeting of the new School Board was held later that year.  Also in 1957, the Board borrowed funds from St. Mary’s Parish and nearby land was purchased for the school grounds.  As well, Catholic separate school districts were formed in Luxenburg, Rosenheim, Hokenheim and Western Ridge.

       On Registration day on September 2nd 1958, the new St. Thomas Aquinas School, consisting of six regular classrooms, two auxiliary rooms and a gymnasium was intended to open but was not quite ready.  Jr./Sr. High students registered at the Community Hall and the Elementary in the St. Mary’s Church basement.  Classes for Grades 9 to 11 began in the basement of the Hall on September 3rd and the Elementary began classes on September 11th on the school, though it was not yet complete.  On the 22nd of that month, the Grades 9 to 11 moved into the now completed building.  There were 180 students that first year.  Later that same year, many hundreds of people from the town and the local area crowded into the school auditorium to witness the blessing and official school opening by the Archbishop of Edmonton on November 30th.

        By 1961, enrollment had risen to 212 students and to accommodate this increase, the Parish built a house west of the school to be used as the Grade 1 classroom.  The next year of 1962 saw plans formulated for a stage and 3 classroom addition to the school that was completed within the year.

        Three years later in 1965, school enrollment was now 241.  The trend continued with enrollment then up to 250 in 1966 and again, more room was needed.  The School Board made plans to add an Elementary classroom as well as a Library, infirmary, Principal’s office and staff workroom, among others.  In addition, two temporary classrooms were set up in the gymnasium and one on the stage.

         By 1968, enrollment had climbed even higher to 270 and the Parish built another house north of the church which was divided into two classrooms and temporarily rented by the school.  The next year, the new addition was started and enrollment had risen yet again to 282.  Finally, in November of 1969, High School students moved into the new building.  It was also in this year that the East Central Alberta Catholic School Association was formed with schools in Provost, Killam, Wainwright, Vermilion and Vegreville.

         In September of 1971, enrollment had risen to 289 (the highest in the entire history of the school including to the present day), and in the next year of 1972, the STA Library had been completed.  In September of 1983, the school received a special holiday from the School Board as it was the occasion of the visit of Pope John Paul to Edmonton.  Many STA students, teachers and parents were able to travel to the provincial capital for this once in a lifetime event.  That same year also saw St. Thomas Aquinas celebrating its 25th anniversary with a theme of “Share Our Memories and Help Build Our Future”.  1988 brought a new Mission Statement for the school, drawn up by the superintendent, the staff, board members, students and even interested parents.   The year of 1989 saw plans initiated for some new proposed construction and modernization of the school, centered mainly around a new gym and modernization of the school office, computer room, change rooms and possibly a new library, though these were put on hold due to the challenging economic times during those years.  

1990 saw both the completion of a brand new playground for the school and the school being declared a smoke-free building with a new focus on health and air quality prevalent at the time.  In addition, the year saw the School Board accepting 10 neighboring jurisdictions as Catholic districts to help continue the high standards of education at STA:  Maypole, Marquis, Goodlands, Lyle, Emerald, Cadogan, McAulay, Symington, Eye Hill and Strand. In 1994, the Provost RCSSD was regionalized with East Central Alberta Catholic Separate Schools Regional Division No. 16.  

In 1999, the Board introduced Early Childhood Services (ECS) to the school and celebrated with the Archbishop of Edmonton the opening of a new ECS Room, gym and school modernization, which had been applied for as far back as 1986.


 

 

“We teach; we share; we learn; we care. We grow in Christ, believing that together we can make a difference.” Alberta Public Catholic Education. © 2022 East Central Catholic Schools. All rights reserved.