November 1994, Catholic Secondary education was given the green light to
begin planning for a new high school in the Muskoka area. There were
enough grade eight students and parents responding to a survey, to
indicate a strong desire to continue their Catholic education in the
area. The plan was to open a new high school that would offer a full
grade nine program the first year and continue to add a grade each year
until reaching a full OAC program.
Bracebridge Town Council paved the way for Muskoka's first-ever Catholic
Secondary School to be temporarily located in the 532 Industrial Mall.
Patricia Manson was hired as the first Principal in February 1995, and
began to lay the foundations for the new high school. She and
then-superintendent Bill Murphy headed up the process of hiring staff
and preparing for the September opening. A new era in education began in
Muskoka on Tuesday, September 5, 1995 as St. Dominic Catholic Secondary
School opened its doors to 63 grade nine students. Seven staff members;
Mrs. Manson, Sister Eleanor Gleeson, Mr. & Mrs. Michael & Josee
King, Mr. & Mrs. Stephen & Kristan Johnson and Mrs. Sandra Gohm
were on hand to welcome the students on their very first day.
For the next four years the students would remain at the 532 Industrial Mall.
grew as the ground-breaking on Cedar Lane took place in June of 1998.
On March 22, 1999, Phase One became a reality. 300 students and a staff
of 30 explored their new surroundings with much joy and enthusiasm. Only
one major project was unable to be completed for the 1999 school year -
the cafeteria servery. A year later the cafeteria servery opened its
doors to many hungry students.
Two began on April 1, 2001, including a double gym, a fitness room,
state-of-the-art construction technology and communications technology
facilities, art, photography, music and drama areas, as well as a new
chapel for prayer, reflection and community worship. Phase Two was
finished in early 2003. St. Dominic Catholic Secondary School has also
added a Hospitality/Tourisim wing and is now complete. It has a current
student population of approximately 400 and continues to serve the needs
of high school students of Muskoka.
Story of Dominic Savio
Dominic was the second child in a family of ten. His
parents, Charles and Brigid Savio, were hard-working peasants. Dominic's
politeness and studious manners had a good influence on the other boys.
He was known among his classmates as one who was cheerful, friendly,
obedient and gave sound advice.
Dominic died of tuberculosis just prior to his 15th
birthday. His last words were, "What a beautiful thing I see!" Dominic
is a true model for youth, since he lived a simple life of virtue - one
that can be imitated by youth of all ages.
St. Dominic once wrote to a friend, "Here we make
sanctity consist in being joyful at all times and in faithfully
performing our duties".
Dominic followed this simple rule of life:
- fulfill the duties of being a student
- do good to companions who by nature are displeasing
- consume all food and drinks at meals so as not to waste anything
- study all subjects, even those not appealing
- be humble when others are chosen ahead of me
- never complain about the weather, rather thank God for it
- be bright and cheerful when inclined to be otherwise
- at every opportunity show love for Jesus Christ
John Bosco reminded the future saint,
"Obedience is your greatest possible sacrifice."