On May 30 staff from all sectors of School District #49 gathered with the Board of Education to celebrate the long-term service of over 30 of its staff. Trustee Nicola Koroluk spoke on behalf of Board Chair Russ Hilland who was stuck in Vancouver. She spoke to the fact that both as a parent and as a trustee she felt that the success of our school district has rested upon the hard work, dedication and service of all staff from bus drivers, custodians, educational assistants, secretaries and teachers.
Following Trustee Koroluk, Superintendent Norma Hart spoke to how humbled she was to work in a district with such dedicated individuals. She thanked the many individuals who not only made our district a success but also those who had put so much into making the evening a success: Paige Ratcliff for her wonderful job decorating and organizing the meal, maintenance staff Mark Chatham and Ken Doiron for setting up the tables, chairs, and stage for the evening, and Jeremy Baillie for organizing the overall event. Sir Alexander Mackenzie Principal Jeremy Baillie then introduced the two student Masters of Ceremonies for the rest of the evenings events, student council President, Melissa Brooks and fellow student council member, Carrigan Tallio.
The two MC’s first unleashed a hungry crowd on the lovely catered meal prepared by Adell Robson. Shortly after dinner, Melissa and Carrigan brought the crowd back to begin the presentation of the years of service awards to many of the assembled staff.
Below is a complete list of the individuals honoured: Heather Ross (38 years – longest serving employee by date of hire), Clara Price (38 years), Wes White (32 years), Marlyn Cherry (31 years), Horace Walkus (29 years), Pat Walkus (29 years), Sheila Wilson (28 years), Terry Johnson (26 years), Elaine Ignas (25 years), Dan Watts (24 years), Carol Thompson (23 years), Erin Chapman (22 years), Sally Watts (22 years), Leonard Kozak (22 years), Colette Swailes (21 years), Mark Chatham (21 years), Stephen Sheppard (20 years), Susan O’Neill (18 years), Marc Hedges (18 years), George Pootlass (17 years), Leslie Harestad (16 years), Melanie Kloss (15 years), Marie Doiron (15 years), Kathy Flegel (14 years), Jeremy Baillie (13 years), Meredith McIlwain (12 years), Steve Dishkin (12 years), Lorri Tuck (11 years), Cindy Evans (11 years), Jen Tyre (10 years), Debbie Spec (10 years), Heather Elliott (9 years), James Mack Sr. (9 years), Heather Kopas (8 years), Gary Edgar (8 years), Lori George (8 years), Shannon Cherry (7 years), Lela Walkus (7 years), Sharon Beloin (6 years), Roxanne Burnett (5 years).
Melissa and Carrigan did a wonderful job regaling the staff with their own personal memories from their first days of school to the present day of interacting with each of the staff honoured. Although some of the honourees could not attend due to other commitments, the night culminated in an unplanned standing ovation for teacher Clara Price who, next to Heather Ross, has been with the district the longest at 38 years of service!