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Principal's Message
Principal's Welcome Message

Principal's Welcome Message


It is with a great sense of pride and joy that I embark on my 4th year as Principal of Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School. This school has been part of my life for 42 years. As a student, supply teacher, teacher-coach, and now principal at this beautiful new facility, I have had the opportunity to grow and learn alongside my fellow students, teachers, principals and lifelong friends through my own personal journey.

This school community honours the great legacy of our patron, Bishop Joseph Francis Ryan and the servant-leadership that he demonstrated throughout the Hamilton diocese during his time as our beloved Bishop. The immense footprint left by this school community is great indeed in terms of academics, spiritual leadership, athletics and co-curricular opportunities for our youth. Many inspiring teacher and student leaders as well as champions have graced our halls and classrooms, and for this we feel blessed.

As we now enter our 4th year in our campus at 1824 Rymal Road East our students continue to grow in grace and wisdom and demonstrated excellence in traditional areas of expertise: through the arts by way of the internationally renowned BR Xpression. This year, the Xpression was awarded several prestigious medals and awards at the Heritage Music Festival in New York City and performed to standing room only audiences at the BR Theatre during 3 different evening performances in the annual BR Xpression Gala Spring Concert. To state that the Bishop Ryan music program is a leader in the arts in the local community is an understatement. The passion and expertise of our music teachers, the commitment of our music students and the support of our parent community create a great environment for the expression of musical ability through song.

Another great tradition is the provincially and nationally renowned Bishop Ryan Wrestling program, which now has a boys’ and a girls’ team. Last year, the girls’ team had 2 OFSAA gold medalists and an OFSAA silver team medal while the boys earned an OFSAA bronze team medal. The female gold medalists’ were the first in the school’s history and was a very proud moment for our school! This combined with a history where dozens of provincial and several national champions learned this sport at Bishop Ryan. Also notable is the fact that 2 former BR wrestlers achieved local, provincial and national acclaim and later went on to represent Canada at the Olympic games in the sport of wrestling. Truly a special and noteworthy legacy!

Our graduates are as proud now as they ever were. The fabric of our community is one of Christian love and compassion, a great thirst for knowledge and a willingness to help the downtrodden in our local and international communities. The Bishop Ryan spirit lives in the halls, classrooms, auditorium and gymnasium. We give to local charities and are generous at various times of the year through, Thanksgiving and Christmas donations to food banks, the Halloween for Hunger Campaign, Christmas Gift Baskets and the Winter Coat Drive to name but a few.

Another important organization at Bishop Ryan is the Celtic Circle. This student leadership group dedicates their time and energy to promoting a safe and inclusive school community through a variety of initiatives and activities. Whether they are implementing transition initiatives for new students or supporting newcomers to Canada or bringing awareness to teen mental health, the members are committed to making all students feel safe and welcomed at Bishop Ryan. Recently the Celtic Circle Student Leadership club at Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School was named recipient of the prestigious Michael Carty Award donated by the Catholic Education Foundation of Ontario. The Celtic Circle has also merited the YMCA Peace Medal, the Daryl L. Cook Peer Helping Award from the Ontario School Counsellors’ Association as well as national recognition through the prestigious Governor General of Canada’s Champions of Mental Health Award in Ottawa.
We are all blessed to be part of the Bishop Ryan legacy and to create new history as we move forward. One of the programs that the school community initiated 3 years ago is D.R.E.A.M.S. The acronym D.R.E.A.M.S. stands for Dominican Republic Education and Medical Support and is a program where our students and teachers engage in a mission trip to the Dominican region of Ocoa where they live among the poor for one week and assist them by building homes, schools or other facilities. It is in living with the poor that they realize many important lifelong lessons. We have sent groups of students over the past 3 years and this year will be sending 2 groups of 14 students in early February of 2018. The expansion of this program shows the willingness of our students to engage in missionary work and I truly believe that D.R.E.A.M.S. will continue to be a life altering opportunity for our students and staff.

Bishop Ryan is also beginning its 4th year with a Robotics Team. CELT-X Robotics (Team #5406) has been very successful and has competed at numerous competitions over the past 3 years, garnering an invitation to the World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. in each of its first 3 years. During the 2017 Competitions, CELT-X won the Georgian College Robotics Competition and also helped co-convene the HWCDSB Stemley Cup Robotics Competition. I am very excited about the academic and experiential opportunities for our youth as they work with teachers, professional/university engineers, programmers, and parent mentors to build robots for competition by the end of January 2018. We will be applying many of the concepts from computer programming, electronics, mathematics and science during the building of robot #5406! This process has already begun and has helped transform Bishop Ryan in the technological age.

As the times change and technology alters the way we do things some things will never change. Bishop Ryan will always be the school “Where faith, pride and effort promote excellence.”

May God continue to bless Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School and our proud, staff, students and parents!

E. Piccioni
Principal, Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School