LETHBRIDGE - St. Michael's School of Nursing, established in Lethbridge in 1953, will soon have a monument dedicated to the students who attended, after City Council voted unanimously to allow for it to be installed on public property.
550 nursing students, 50 laboratory students and 20 radiology students all graduated from the local school over the course of 20 years.
But the monument won't be located on the grounds of the current St. Michaels's facilities, on 9 Avenue South. A large slate rock measuring five feet by five feet and 11-inches thick, will instead be positioned in concrete at the top of a trail head on the western most part of 4 Avenue South, not far from the Galt Museum.
Spokesperson Chris Barnhart says former graduate Joanne Ponech brought the idea to the attention of the alumni at large.
"There is absolutely nothing recognizing the School of Nursing here in Lethbridge and she got the ball rolling. There are 550 graduates and actually we're almost around the world. As far away as Brazil and many in the States. And of course, the biggest group here Lethbridge that really influenced medicine here."
While Barnhart and Ponech made their presentation, Councillor Mark Campbell became emotional, remembering the work his mother did as a graduate of the school.
"My mother's up there right now, just clapping, saying 'Thanks. Thanks for recognizing the Sisters of St. Martha and St. Michael's School.' That is my life. That is my life with my mother who was a supervisor of the operating room, and just had such a wonderful relationship with the Sisters of St. Martha and had so much to do with the school of nursing there as well. So, she is.... thank you."
Ponech says the monument will be cast in concrete and stabilized in its permanent location over the next few weeks. The commemorative plaque in either bronze or aluminum will take a few extra weeks to be completed.
The cost of the entire project will be paid for by the St. Michael's Alumni Fund.
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