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Little Flower Academy

Little Flower Academy (LFA) is an independent all girls Catholic secondary school located in Vancouver’s Shaughnessy neighbourhood. Established in 1927, by the Sisters of Saint Ann, Little Flower Academy educates young women within an intercultural Catholic faith community to realize their spiritual, intellectual, physical, social, and emotional potential.

History

In 1858, five women of the Québec-based order of the Sisters of St. Ann travelled by sea to the Isthmus of Panama and up the west coast to Victoria. They set down in a small log cabin in Beacon Hill Park, and began the process of establishing Victoria's St. Ann's Academy.

The Sisters' first presence in Vancouver came in 1888 (two years after the city was established) with a school on Dunsmuir, next to a cathedral and, according to an article researched by the late Sister Eileen Kelly (the last St. Ann order principal of LFA), "on the edge of a forest clearing."

The Sisters wanted to expand with a boarding school to accommodate young women who lived too remotely to access existing educational facilities. The building (now replaced) known as "The Convent" was built in Shaughnessy in 1910 for this purpose. By 1918, the Vancouver diocese sold 6 acre to the municipality of Point Grey, who desired a portion of the site to erect their own public school, Prince of Wales High School – which became today's Shaughnessy Elementary in 1961. The ownership of the remaining property at the time reverted to the Sisters of Saint Ann, who were able to meet the payments and whose chosen school name "Little Flower Academy" began appearing in the published Vancouver Directory books.

According to tradition, Little Flower Academy was so named apparently because the prayers of one of the Sisters had been answered in acquiring the property. The prayers had been made to Saint Thérèse de Lisieux, who had the nickname "The Little Flower of Jesus."

In April 2010, a music teacher, Lisa Riemer was forced to work from home for a few weeks until the end of her contract after she requested paid maternal leave to be with her expectant partner and wife.

Motto



The school motto is "Ad Lucem" which means "to the light."

Academics

The school offers a challenging university preparatory program for girls in grades 8 through 12. Little Flower Academy is ranked (tied) as the number one Secondary Schools in the province of British Columbia, and has consistently maintained a top three standing in the Fraser Institute provincial rankings. It has a long-established 100% graduation rate, and more than 90% of graduates achieve provincial honours designation. For the classes of 2009 through 2017, 100% of graduates were accepted to post secondary institutions.

Athletics



There are two gymnasiums, the larger accommodates more than five hundred spectators and hosts volleyball, basketball and badminton tournaments. There is also a fitness centre, tennis courts and playing fields.

The LFA Angels (sports teams) have an angel for a mascot, although there is no official physical mascot. LFA is, simply, the "Home of the Angels."

The School's athletic teams include:
  • Fall Season Sports: Cross-Country Running, Field Hockey, Swimming and Volleyball
  • Winter Season Sports: Basketball
  • Spring Season Sports: Badminton, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field, and Ultimate Frisbee
  • Badminton: BC Provincial Silver Medalist (2017 & 2012); Bronze Medalist (2018); 7th at BC Provincial Championships (joint team with Vancouver College) in 2016;
  • Basketball: BC Provincial AAA Silver Medalist (2015); 2nd at Grade 8 Provincial Championships in 2015
  • Cross-Country Running: BC Provincial Junior Gold Medalist (2014); 8th at Senior BC Championships in 2018, including a Silver for Ceili McCabe '19; 10th (2014); 6th (2012).
  • Field Hockey: 4th BC AA Championships in 2019; 5th in 2018; 4th in 2017; 5th in 2016.
  • Tennis: 5th at BC Provincial Championships (joint team with Vancouver College) in 2018; 4th in 2017; 5th in 2016.
  • Track & Field: Team Provincial Champions (2013)
  • Ultimate: Bronze Medalist (2013); at BC Provincial Championships (joint team with Vancouver College)
  • Volleyball: Provincial Champions (2016, 2020); 3rd at BC AAA Provincial Championships (2018, 2017, 2014); Provincial Champions (2012).

    Service and clubs

    All students are encouraged to fully participate in the life of the school and community through service projects and clubs. There are over 35 school clubs including: Chamber Choir; Concert Choir; Debate; Drama; Duke of Edinburgh; Environment; Liturgical; Liturgy Band; Math; Model United Nations; Newspaper; Public Speaking; Peer Mediators; Philanthropy; Right to Life; Reverence for Life (Care for sick children and the elderly); STEM; Social Justice; Tutors; Visual Arts and Photography; and Yearbook.

    Traditions

    Welcome Back Barbecue

    Every September a barbecue is held to welcome new and returning families.

    Home for the Holidays

    During the Christmas season Alumni are welcomed back to the school for music and festivities.

    Father Daughter Dance

    This popular dinner and dance is held every spring.

    Mother Daughter Christmas Brunch

    Held, usually, the first Saturday of December, it is always sold out.

    Grandparents’ Day

    This special Mass and luncheon is held each spring and is an opportunity for grandparents to visit the school and meet the teachers and friends of their granddaughters.

    Monthly Mass

    A Mass conducted by a visiting priest with choral performances is held each month. Parents and grandparents are welcome.

    Big Sister - Little Sister Luncheon

    Incoming grade 8 girls are paired with a grade 12 "Big Sister" who welcomes them to the school and who becomes their buddy and mentor. Each Spring the Little Sisters hold a thank you lunch for their Big Sisters.

    Athletics Barbecue

    This barbecue is held in June and celebrates the participation of all athletes and awards the "Angel All Stars" to outstanding individual athletes and teams.

    Grade 8-11 Academic Awards Assembly

    This special assembly which is held in the fall honours the recipients of the previous year's academic and citizenship achievements.

    Notable alumnae

  • Patricia (Grossmith) Cladis ’55 - physicist specializing in liquid crystals.
  • Frances Wasserlein '64 - LBTQ activist and arts community manager.
  • Danielle Kettlewell '10 - Synchronized Swimmer at the Rio Olympics 2016 (representing Australia).
  • Andrea Hannos '91 - professional cyclist
  • Stefanie von Pfetten '91 - actress

    Building architecture

    Until 2005, when portions of the school were de-constructed to make room for new additions, the school's convent (a 1910 mansion) held a Guinness World Record for the most exterior windows arranged at different levels.

    The 1931 library-cafeteria-art building, which was deconstructed during the 2005-2007 renovations, was once the original schoolhouse with boarding rooms in the attic. The schoolhouse ("Foundress Hall") was one of the few remaining examples of the architectural work of Sister Mary Osithe, an artist and pioneering female architect in BC who also designed the Bulkley Valley Hospital in Smithers, BC. (Details may be found in Donald Luxton's Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia (Talon Books, 2003).)

    On September 14, 2007, the school celebrated the opening of the new wing and its 80th anniversary. The new wing includes several new classrooms, a boardroom, a new chapel, a gymnasium appropriate for a high school, reception, offices, art room and cafeteria. Many of the features of the old buildings were salvaged during the careful deconstruction and integrated into the new wing. Most of the stained glass windows can be found on display in the new building (many arranged artistically in the lobby); old posts are in the new gym as decoration; the hardwood floors throughout the new wing are from the old buildings; bricks from the chimneys have been used to in the new grotto; fireplaces, which have been reconditioned and made electric, are now in the library and board room; the telephone booth is in the staff room; an original door is in the lobby; and furniture can be found in both the chapel and library.