June 13, 2016

St. Paul’s High School is pleased to announce Mr. Mitch Bourbonniere ’81 as the recipient of the 2016 Ignatian Challenge Award.

After graduating from St. Paul's in 1981, Mitch completed his Masters Degree in social work from the University of Manitoba. He was proud to have played football for the St. Paul’s Crusaders as well as the University of Manitoba Bisons. Mitch has enjoyed a 30-year career in social services in Winnipeg including working in the fields of justice, education, child welfare, and mental health. Mitch credits the values he learned at St. Paul’s, including being a “Man for Others", in helping him in his life's work. He is especially proud of his ongoing relationship with Rossbrook House which started when Mitch did a placement there through St. Paul's in 1979.  Click here for Mitch’s full biography.

Fr. Len Altilia, SJ, President of St. Paul’s High School, explains the choice for this year’s honouree, “In this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis has encouraged the whole Church to grow in the practice of mercy.  It is, therefore, most appropriate that we recognize the work and service of Mitch Bourbonniere ‘81 as an agent of God’s mercy among the poorest citizens of Winnipeg. Mitch stands as an exemplar of what it means to be a Man for Others.”

“We can think of nothing more appropriate than St. Paul’s High School - the school that taught Mitch to be a Man for Others - acknowledging his life’s work with the Ignatian Challenge Award” explain honourary dinner co-chairs Paul ’81 and Anne Mahon.  “As a social worker, university lecturer and councilor specializing in at-risk youth, gang members and issues of addictions and mental health, Mitch has developed a reputation for never turning anyone away. In his daily support of the most marginalized, through agencies including Victim Services, Child and Family Services and Spotlight Probation Program, all of Mitch’s actions are done with compassion and love.”

The Ignatian Challenge Award will be presented to Mitch at the 23rd annual Tribute Dinner at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg on Tuesday, November 1st, 2016. The award recognizes individuals within our community who embrace the ideals of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, and who reflect the characteristics and qualities inherent in a Jesuit education at St. Paul's High School. Award recipients, through their leadership and commitment to service, become examples for our students of a lived faith and a commitment to becoming Men and Women for Others.

Mitch joins past recipients including Dr. Arthur Mauro, Mr. Paul Albrechtsen, Dr. Michael Phelps '63, Mr. Kevin and Mrs. Els Kavanagh, Mr. Gregg Hanson '69, Fr. Joseph Driscoll SJ, Dr. Angus Reid '65, Mr. Richard and Mrs. Kathryn Bracken, Mr. Joe Stangl, Dr. William Norrie, Mr. Robert Puchniak '65, Mr. Gary and Mrs. Janice Filmon, Mr. Robert Chipman '44, Mr. James Tennant '66, Mr. Hubert Kleysen, Dr. Emöke Szathmáry, Dr. Peter MacDonald '76, Mr. Gary Doer '66, Mr. Paul and Mrs. Carol Hill, Mr. Michael Guertin '76, Mr. Larry Franz and last year’s recipient Sister Lesley Sacouman, SNJM.

St. Paul’s High School is Winnipeg’s only all-male, Catholic, Jesuit high school dedicated to educating Men for Others.  Since 1926, St. Paul’s High School has provided an educational environment with emphasis on academic excellence and the growth of the whole person in preparing young men for post-secondary education and subsequent leadership in the community. It is owned and operated by the Society of Jesus and is part of a worldwide network of Jesuit schools recognized for excellence in education and spiritual formation.

The event is an annual fundraiser for the St. Paul's High School Bursary Program which provides need-based tuition assistance to qualified students. Bursaries are an essential aspect of a Jesuit education and provide opportunities to families who would not otherwise be able to attend St. Paul's High School because of financial constraints. In recent years, St. Paul's High School has awarded as much as $485,000 per year in financial aid to qualified families.