The Annual School Tea

Mrs. Natalia Radawetz, curator of the St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Catholic Museum, opened the 2013 Annual School Tea


The Annual School Tea is the largest event on the school calendar, and it attracts a wide range of visitors beyond the families currently attending IHMS. This year, the Tea took place on Sunday, February 3, 2013 from 1:30 to 4:00 pm.

(l-r): Sister Anne Pidskalny SSMI, school director; Mr. Rod Picklyk, school principal; Mrs. Natalia Radawetz, Tea Opener; Mr. Slawomir Waplak, Vice Chairperson of the IHMS Board of Trustees; Mrs. Violet Newediuk-Fosty, Tea co-convenor; Mrs. Donna Sikorsky, Tea co-convenor; Mr. Rick Buchan, vice-president of the IHMS Parent??s Guild; Mrs. Barb Pichlyk, president of the IHMS Parent’s Guild; and Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, OSBM, Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada.


Although the Annual School Tea officially began at 1:30 p.m., a lot of people arrived well in advance to get a good seat in the gym for the opening speeches. People also came early to view the displays in the Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka Exhibit Room, to enter tickets for the Basket Raffle, and to visit the Bake Room before it was sold out. Parent volunteers seen throughout the school kept things running smoothly to accommodate all the visitors to the Tea. In addition to being a fund-raiser, the camaraderie the Tea creates among the volunteer workers make it one of the biggest community-building events of the year.

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The theme for the 2013 Annual School Tea was ??Celebrating the Centenary of the Arrival of Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka in Canada?.


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Lettering on the gym wall during the Annual School Tea


BNB During the early part of the last century, thousands of Ukrainian families emigrated to Canada, many of them settling right here in Winnipeg.  At the time there were very few priests and no Ukrainian Catholic bishop to lead them. Recognizing the need for a spiritual leader for these recent immigrants, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky in Lviv, with approval of Pope Pius X, consecrated Nykyta Budka as a Bishop in October of 1912. Two months later on December 19th of that year, Blessed Nykyta Budka arrived in Winnipeg from Lviv to begin his pastoral governance as the first Ukrainian Catholic bishop in Canada. He served in this capacity until 1927, when he returned to Ukraine for health reasons. The following year he officially stepped down as Bishop of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada. Unfortunately, he was arrested and deported to a Russian labour camp in 1945, and died as a martyr on September 28th, 1949.


It??s been a custom for years for the school to showcase examples of student artwork on the theme of the Annual School Tea. Recently, that artwork has been displayed on hundreds of placemats arranged on the tables throughout the gym. Every student in the school created at least 2 colourful placemats based on the topic ??The Centenary of the Arrival of Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka in Canada?.

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Mr. R. Picklyk, the school??s principal, was Master of Ceremonies for the event. After welcoming everyone to the Tea, he introduced Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, OSBM, Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada. Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak lead everyone in the opening prayer.





After the prayer, Mr. Picklyk introduced three dignitaries who spoke briefly on behalf of the group they represented. First, Mr. Rick Buchan, vice-president of the IHMS Parent??s Guild, thanked all the parents who made this year??s Tea such a success. Secondly, Sr. Anne Pidskalny, SSMI, the school??s kindergarten teacher as well as its director, greeted everyone on behalf of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, the religious order that own and operate the school and have been doing so for over 107 years. Finally, Mr. Slawomir Waplak, Vice Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, brought greetings from the IHMS school board. Mr Waplak also noted that updated information about the school relocation project would be disclosed at the next big fundraiser for the school – the Annual Fundraising Dinner on Saturday, March 9th.






Finally, Mr. Picklyk introduced the Tea Opener, Mrs. Natalia Radawetz. Natalia is one of the school??s two librarians, as well as the curator of the St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Catholic Museum at the Archbishop’s Chancery on 233 Scotia Street. After several years of serious research, she??s probably the leading authority on the life of Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka. Mrs. Radawetz gave a facinating account of his life, from his birth in 1877 in western Ukraine, his ordination as a priest in 1905, his consecration as a Bishop in October of 1912, and his journey to Canada (and ultimately to Winnipeg) in December of that same year. Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka served as the first Ukrainian Catholic bishop in Canada until 1927, when he returned to Ukraine for health reasons, officially stepping down from his position the following year. In 1945, he was arrested and sent to a Russian labour camp, and eventually died as a martyr a few years later in 1945. The story of Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka as Canada??s first Ukrainian Catholic Bishop was extremely well researched and presented, and everyone in attendance appeared to be spellbound by Mrs. Radawetz??s captivating account of his life.




The Tea was officially opened after Mrs. Radawetz and Mrs. Pichlyk (president of the IHMS Parent’s Guild) lit the two centerpiece candles.




The Annual School Tea is such a huge event that it can only happen through the hard work and dedication of a lot of people. Although everyone involved with the school played an important role in the Tea??s success, the majority of the work was done by parent volunteers. A lot of these parents dedicated most of their weekend preparing for the event, while others worked tirelessly with the cleanup and reorganization of the downstairs classrooms after the event. A large group of parents also kept everything running smoothly by working anonymously behind the scenes during the Tea.


The Tea was organized by two very talented IHMS parents, Mrs. Violet Newediuk-Fosty and Mrs. Donna Sikorsky ?? the third consecutive year for Mrs. Newediuk-Fosty and the first year for Mrs. Sikorsky.




These two convenors spent countless hours co-ordinating the dozens of volunteers necessary to run the event. The results of the Tea speak for themselves because Mrs. Newediuk-Fosty and Mrs. Sikorsky obviously did a spectacular job!


Some of the volunteer co-ordinators and their areas of responsibility:


  • Main Raffle – Barbara Pichlyk and Jane McCarvill
  • Basket Raffle – Sandra Copp and Kathy Romaniuk
  • Kitchen Coordinator – Debbie Hanson and Violet Zbaraszewski
  • Front Door/Reception – Myron Radawetz
  • Servers – Barbara Pawlyshyn
  • Bake Room – Dorota Barczak
  • Kovbasa Sales – Peter and Elaine Capar
  • Clean Up – Slav Waplake Capar


Click here to view photos of some of the Annual Tea volunteers



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An example of a table and the beautifully prepared food at the Tea



During the Tea, each classroom on the first floor of the school was used for a special purpose.


The grade 3 classroom was the ??Bake Room?


The Bake Room has always been one of the more popular attractions at the Tea. Pastries, pies, and other baked goods that were generously donated by the families at IHMS were sold here. Every family contributed 3-4 items for the Tea, and while some were used in the Tea room, the rest were sold in the Bake Room. With well over 100 families in the school, there was an incredible selection to choose from! This year, in addition to baked goods, fresh Kovbasa was also sold in the Bake Room.

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The grade 2 classroom was the ??Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka Exhibit Room?


This was an exhibit room with information on poster board about the life of Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka along with a glass enclosed display case with a few of his personal belongings. The personal belongings were graciously brought from the St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Catholic Museum by the museum??s curator, Mrs. Radawetz. It was interesting to see the three items that belonged to Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka (a mitre, a hand cross, and a winter hat) because of their age (they were almost 100 years old) and their historical significance.

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The grade 1 classroom was the ??Cloak Room?




The Kindergarten classroom was the ??Basket Raffle Room?


In the ??Basket Raffle?, families donate items that are wrapped, itemized, and then raffled off.

Tickets were:

  • 1 card of 25 for $10
  • 2 cards of 50 for $20
  • 3 cards of 75 for $25


In addition to the basket raffle, the Tea Raffle is one of the most important fund-raising components of the Tea. Tickets for the Raffle are printed and distributed to every family in the school to sell.


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Since the School Tea takes place during the coldest time of the year in Winnipeg, weather is always an important factor for visitor turnout. The temperature on Sunday, February 3, 2013 was seasonably average ?? sunny and -17 degrees Celsius. The bright sunshine probably encouraged a lot of people to attend.




By the end of the day, hundreds of visitors passed through the school??s front doors, making the 2013 version of the Annual Tea a complete success. The hard work of everyone involved in the undertaking of an event this large is a testament to the strong community spirit and sense of volunteerism that has held Immaculate Heart of Mary School together for so many years. Thanks to everyone who helped to make the Tea such a success, and see you again next year!