June 25, 2019 --
Teachers often do not fully realize the positive impact they have on their students. School District No. 57 retirees were reminded of their capacity to be life-changing influences during a celebratory banquet last week.
At the celebration, held Thursday, June 20 at the Coast Inn of the North, the district's Board Chair, Tim Bennett, stood at the microphone after the dinner and relayed to the audience thoughts that came directly from the minds of one-time students. Bennett used a social media platform to collect words about favourite teachers and delivered the comments for all in the room to hear and appreciate.
"I had an incredible teacher in high school," Bennett read from the first note. "I ran into him after he retired and told him he expanded my mind to a point that when I would leave his class I felt like my head was about to explode and that I was a tiny speck in a huge universe I knew nothing about, which is no small feat when someone is a teenager and feels like the Earth revolves around them."
One of Bennett's other readings was as follows: "Thanks to the teachers that believed in me and what I could actually do, and not in the dyslexia test out of Kindergarten that implied I would never graduate from high school. Thank you for your help and for believing in me. Not only did I graduate, but I went on to get a Bachelor of Science and an advanced diploma in computer programming. I owe this all to my teachers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the good you have done for all of us."
A couple of the shorter but no-less-powerful comments, as read by Bennett, were: "You inspired me, you encouraged me, you pushed me and I flourished," and "You saved my life. You believed in me when no one else did."
More than 30 retirees (teachers, administrators and others) attended the banquet. Each received a gift – either a clock or a bell, complete with engraving.
Retirees for 2019 were: Rick Armstrong; Trudy Belyea; Susan Bloomingdale; Donna Bornholdt; Lyn Boyes; Sandra Buckley; Karen Charlie; Therese Clark; Cynthia Coles; Deb Coupe; Helen Davis; Lori Dennill; Shannon Doucette; Mike Dryden; Jim Elson; Allan Erricson; Edie Frederick; Colleen Gagnon; Joan Gass; Randall Henderson; Peggy Hubley; Vonda Jacques; Laura Jagodnik; Wesley Keim; Virginia Koftinoff; Faith Mackay; Lynne McEwen; Linda McLaughlin; Elizabeth Morland; Laurie Myram; Goldie Nadfey; Cindy Norum; Darleen Peters; Shelly Pollard; Janice Radway; Laverne Remmelg; Mary Ann Rice; Debbie Rowe; Terri Schweda; Parmod Sharma; Sylvie St. Pierre; Laura Stauble; Robin Thibault; Gwen Tindill; Brian Trotter; Shelley Waite; and Shauna White. Not all were present for the celebration.
Assistant Superintendent Nevio Rossi, the master of ceremonies for the evening, shared his thoughts with the guests of honour before the evening concluded.
"It is our hope that you leave our district with many wonderful memories from the role you played supporting the children in our care," Rossi said. "As I look around the room here tonight, I've had the privilege of knowing and working with many of you over the years and I know the dedication you brought to your roles. You are valued members of our team and we wish you the very best.
"On behalf of School District 57, thank you for the years of effort, thank you for your commitment and dedication, congratulations on your retirement," Rossi added. "Your experience, knowledge, dedication and presence will be sorely missed."
The banquet included performances by the D.P. Todd Secondary School brass ensemble, a speech arts piece by Meg Peters and a Highland dance routine by Victoria Bleecker.
Lheidli T'enneh elder Darlene McIntosh offered a traditional welcome and blessing.
TOP PHOTO: Assistant Superintendent Nevio Rossi speaks during the School District No. 57 retirement banquet.
ABOVE: Retiree Brian Trotter, left, accepts his gift from School District No. 57 Board Chair Tim Bennett.