Every year, OSSTF District 8 partners with the Avon Maitland District School Board to host the Excellence in Education Awards and banquet. These awards honour students, teachers, support staff, and community members for their service and dedication to outstanding achievement in education.
OSSTF District 8 and the Avon Maitland District School Board welcome you to the annual celebration of the Excellence in Public Education Awards recognizing the efforts of the people who make our schools better places to learn and work. Our goal is to recognize excellence in all areas of public education in Avon Maitland - whether it is the student who has enriched the atmosphere of the school, the teacher or support staff member who has encouraged excellence through their contribution to the school, the community member whose contribution has improved the school environment, or the trustee or administrator who commits to ensuring the educational experience is a positive one.
Here are the stories of the special people honoured at the Excellence in Education Awards:
Avon Maitland has been fortunate to benefit from Jane’s breadth of experience as an Elementary Secretary at Walton Public School, Listowel Central Public School, Hullett Public School, as well as her secondary school head secretary knowledge gained at Stratford Northwestern Secondary School. In addition to her day-job, she was the office cheerleader, organizing many events and team-building activities for the Education Centre staff. Jane was also a champion of providing training and professional development for all Support Staff. As part of the ‘Branch Out’ Professional Development committee, Jane represented the Board at the provincial level and was congratulated by then Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne, for her good work. Jane has recently moved on to the next chapter in her life, but left us all with a mandate to provide excellent customer service, regardless of position.
Dr. Sheila Bennett—Community Member
Sheila Bennett has been an integral part of starting our journey towards more 'positive inclusive learning environments' in the Avon Maitland District School Board. She has started the conversation on full inclusion for our School Communities and SEAC by sharing her past experience and research through talks she has given. Her work with the Ministry of Education has set an example of advocacy and passion for equal access and opportunity for all students to receive a rich experience throughout their years of schooling. We are grateful for the role Sheila has filled and continues to grow within our board as she undergoes a research study with classroom teachers who are growing their teaching practice to encompass all learners as they work with Learning for All Coaches.
Larry Marshall—Community MemberIn the time that Larry Marshall has been leading the Huron Perth CAS he has focused on the development of partnerships with the broader community, in particular with the education sector. His efforts have allowed both organizations to better support the youth who are the most vulnerable in our society. Larry has also been an advocate encouraging youth to engage in education at all levels; his support of the annual celebration of success and the agency's involvement with the Crown Wards Education Championship Team both speak to his commitment to see all young people receive a quality education. We appreciate the work that Larry has done to extend and strengthen the ties between the Huron Perth CAS and our board and we look forward to finding more ways to support youth through this partnership.
Grand Bend Rotary Club
For over twenty years, The Rotary Club of Grand Bend has been a source of opportunity for Avon Maitland students. They provided funding to support installation of an elevator at South Huron District High School in 1993. They also provided funding to enable 100 students to attend a presentation by Stephen Lewis at the Huron Country Playhouse in 2011. Amidst these highlights, the Rotary Club of Grand Bend upheld an ongoing commitment to enrich Avon Maitland students in the form of annual youth awards, public speaking prizes, and delegate sponsorship for Rotary International programming like the Seminar for Tomorrow’s Leaders in London and Adventures in Citizenship in Ottawa.
These reasons alone justify acknowledgement and thanks, however it is the Rotary’s most recent project that brings them into the spotlight today. The Club’s own Global Literacy Project aims to take all of the no longer needed surplus of schools that have shut down and send them via shipping containers to schools in South Africa where classroom supports that we take for granted, like blackboards and even desks and chairs, are not to be found. Today, we not only celebrate how the aspirations of both the Club and the Board have long intermixed to enhance education for local students but that our mutual global citizenship focus has now spilled over into the lives of students 12,000 kilometers away.
Melody VanDorp first began her employment with Avon Maitland District School Board at our Centres for Employment and Learning as a literacy practitioner in 1998 and quickly added Continuing Education teacher to her responsibilities. With her love of teaching and making that connection with adult learners, Melody moved into Continuing Education on a full-time basis, where she has focused on marking English, Co-operative Education and Social Sciences, while working closely with our adult students to also provide tutoring support. Melody is someone who we can go to at any time to take on new challenges to help meet the needs of adult learners. Melody is also a key participant in a Ministry Hybrid Pilot which involves creating online courses, following current curriculum and assessment and evaluation policies, which are appropriate for adult learners. Melody has been involved with a provincial working group to make PLAR assessments better for our adult learners, which ultimately means that adults are able to acquire credits by communicating the curriculum knowledge they have accumulated through their various life experiences. Melody has willingly taken on these rather significant challenges and we could not begin to take advantage of these opportunities without teachers such as Melody.
Claire earns outstanding academic results, often being found at the top of her class, but it is not this which impresses her teachers and fellow students most. It is Claire's dedication, personal integrity and creativeness which leaves others in awe. Claire has an amazing reputation for creating memorable and meaningful independent presentations which might include teaching classmates ballet steps or offering a simulation of the Tour de France or the 24 hours of Le Mans. Her 'outside-the-box' approach means that she is creative and inspiring. In CHSS extra-curriculars, Claire shows her commitment to personal fitness and well-being by participating on the cross-country and swim teams. Outside of school she is competitive in dressage and is currently participating in a personal and charitable challenge. This challenge sees Claire and brother Will cycling across Canada in order to raise awareness and funds for the Canadian Tire 'No Kid Left Behind' initiative. This program aims to get kids who normally wouldn't have it the opportunity to become involved in physical activities. The program offers money for registrations and equipment. It is a credit to their own levels of dedication to fitness that they feel strongly enough to make this sacrifice.
Nick is an intuitive and curious student. He is well-informed about world and community issues. He contributes greatly to the CHSS school community. He has served in many capacities within Student Council and always makes meaningful and thoughtful contributions to all events. Nick has assisted with dances, assemblies, concerts and guest speakers. Nick is currently vice-president of the CHSS Student Council. In that capacity he has taken on a leadership role in the planning and execution of the CHSS Redwalk, an activity which sees the student body participate in a fun and fundraising event which builds school spirit. Nick is part of the GSA club and has been a perennial contributor to the Junior and Senior Reach for the Top teams. Nick has an after-school job at MJ Russo and Associates and was thus able to finance a March Break 2014 school trip to Ireland and Scotland. Nick represented CHSS as a proud youth ambassador on this journey.
For the past four years Shane has been key in organizing the school “Movember” campaign. Teachers and students have grown facial hair, donated items or services to raise awareness of prostrate cancer. At an assembly, Shane auctions these items to raise money for the cause. This event raised over $5,000.00 this year alone, close to $10,000.00 in the last two years. Shane also has been running volleyball and basketball tournaments with the feeder schools, where they play each other, then get to play our grade 9 athletes.Shane also helps to organize the Annual Agriculture and Water Festival in Seaforth and the annual EarthHour observances, both at CHSS and at the feeder schools. Shane organizes a number of students to run these events for local elementary students, further promoting our school.
Christina’s professional life has been dedicated to the previous Huron Board and the AMDSB since 1987, and dedicated is not a word used loosely here. She is completely committed to doing the best job she possibly can as a teacher, colleague, mentor and Department Head. Christina has constantly worked to update and improve her classes. She has been the Head of Business Studies, COPE and the COOP program at Central Huron. Christina is a generous and supportive colleague who approaches tasks with a practical, patient and efficient manner. Most recently Christina has helped to develop and maintain a thriving COOP program which allows students to experience their most rewarding high school experiences while gaining valuable life skills. Christina is demanding of students but in a calm, kind and patient way, thus allowing them to make the most of their options, choices and opportunities.
Dedication, patience, kindness, and a smile describe the way Steve Blake, a hardware technician for Region 4, conducts his daily work. I have known Steve Blake for many years. Every time Steve enters the school, he always greets our staff with a smile. On several occasions, Steve has had to return to our school to address a reoccurring, inconsistent problem. Even though I am frustrated with the problem, Steve still comes to the school with a smile and has the patience to persevere in finding a solution. There have been times when he has had to return to our school several days within a given week for various unrelated problems that occurred one day after another. However, Steve still arrives with the patience of Job and calmly returns to address the problems each day.Steve is a highly competent technician. He persists in finding solutions even when they are at first not obvious.
Carrie Wilson—Early Childhood Educator
Carrie is an ECE at Hamlet Public school. She works together in a very busy kindergarten classroom. Carrie comes to work everyday prepared for an active day with 25 very busy 4 and 5 year olds. Not only is she a cheerful, ambitious and intelligent educator, she is also always kind, patient and fair to all of her students in every circumstance. She has the ability to relate to each student individually and make them feel comfortable, special and loved.
Carrie spends many hours of her own time preparing for our classroom needs so that our days can run smoothly and efficiently. She often supplies materials from her own home for one of our many kindergarten projects.In Carrie's own time, you may find her at the hockey arena cheering on her 7 year old son Troy or at a dance studio watching her 9 year old daughter Tory. She has been a volunteer for the Cancer society for more than 7 years and continues to spend numerous hours helping with the annual daffodil sales and at the Relay for Life.
Rebecca Gerber—Early Childhood Educator
Ms. Rebecca Gerber is an extraordinary individual and a well deserving recipient of the Excellence in Public Education award. This is Becca’s first year as an ECE at Hamlet Public School. She has unbelievable patience, talent and passion for her students and the Full Day Kindergarten program. Becca is a genuine and caring person who goes above and beyond to encourage her students to wonder and explore their interests, while promoting the development of the social skills needed for future independence. She challenges herself constantly to reach her students by “thinking outside of the box”, however messy or loud that may be! With Becca’s ingenuity, the students have embraced and built so many creative projects: hula hoop looms, woodwork string art, “Electric Cities” for toy cars using the insides of old electronics, a huge rocket ship…the sky truly is the limit for Becca. Her passion for their successes and acceptance of their individualities is truly admirable.
Marion Dutton—Educational Assistant
Marion is outstanding in her role as an Educational Assistant. She is a team player, helping educators to see different points of view and offering strategies for learning. Marion is a problem solver. She anticipates how changes in the schedule or environment will affect the students in her care and helps to think of ways to work through it. Marion is a truly caring person and is always striving for the best educational opportunities for her students. Marion thank you, you are absolutely deserving of and Excellence in Education award!
Carson Lamb – Student
Carson is a star in the classroom, on the court and in the community. Carson’s hard work and outstanding work ethic has proven results as his marks are consistently exceptional. Carson knows how to set priorities and follow a plan in order to meet his goals. Carson readily seeks input from his teachers in order to ensure excellence in his work. Carson demonstrates a keen interest in learning and always approaches new tasks with a positive attitude.Carson has been active in many sports throughout his high-school career. He has been member of the volleyball, basketball, badminton, soccer, baseball and track and field teams. Carson is well known at GDCI not just for his athletic abilities, but also for his dedication and leadership skills. His coaches describe him as a smart and humble leader, always ready to play with his whole heart. It is no surprise that Carson was named GDCI Male Athlete of the Year four years in a row. Carson is also active within his community. He has earned over 150 community volunteer hours, going far above the required 40 hours.
Samantha (Sam) Gowanlock is an exemplary student leader. Sam has been the inspiration and driving force behind a unique project that she began here at Goderich District Collegiate Institute (GDCI). Sam’s project is aptly named “The Princess Project”. The idea was to create a dress exchange program for young women so that Prom or Semi-Formal can become financially accessible to all students. This project has bloomed into so much more under Sam’s careful attention to detail and excellence. Students are able to exchange, borrow or simply take a beautiful gown for their special evening. Sam has promoted the project on Twitter as well as Facebook and she received accolades from the local newspaper for her good work. She is a positive role model in our school and is competent in many ways as a leader. In the classroom, Sam is a friendly and conscientious student. She is always smiling, always greeting students and staff alike, and could be considered an exemplar of what it means to be a well-rounded individual.
Alanna has been described as “one of those quiet, unsung heroes”. Despite her unassuming nature, her contributions and accomplishments have not gone unnoticed at G.D.C.I. Alanna has been an integral member of the concert band and quintet ever since she started at GDCI. She is unfailing in her commitment and always rises to the challenge of performance with a smile on her face. Throughout her high school career Alanna has been a member of the swim, track and cross country teams. In these endeavours, Alanna consistently shows a high level of commitment and is always supportive of her teammates. Alanna's hard work and dedication to excellence is also apparent within the classroom, as demonstrated by her positive attitude and consistently above average grades.
Dave Kovats has been an integral staff member at GDCI during his tenure here. Dave’s work in the Co-op department often flies under the radar, but his determined efforts have helped many of our students transition into work placements, apprenticeships, and even careers.
For more than a decade, Dave has helped plan and run our annual Christmas Food Drive, one of GDCI’s best and most meaningful traditions. What a great way to model selflessness in our community! He has also been Student Council Advisor.Dave has contributed to GDCI athletics by coaching numerous teams over the years, and he has led our teams to great success, specifically in hockey, golf and baseball.Dave does not promote himself, nor does he promote his accomplishments. That’s not his style. However, he is a team player and he is always ready and willing to help his colleagues and our students. Now it is very fitting that we recognize his significant impact at GDCI.
Paige is a very enthusiastic student who participates in many aspects of life at Madill. On the volleyball and track and field teams, she has displayed a real commitment. She has been known to stay behind after practice to seek pointers that might help to improve her skills. She gives 100% to whatever she does and she supports and encourages others on the team well. Paige has also been actively involved in extra-curricular clubs at the school such as Students' Council.Academically, Paige is a strong student who contributes in a positive way to any class she takes. Outside of school, Paige and her family, "The Ballagh Bunch" have made quite a name for themselves. This singing, dancing, violin-playing family has entertained at the Huron County Playhouse and other venues in Ontario and the Maritimes. Paige contributes to Madill in many ways and models good citizenship in everything she does.
Lexi is a polite, helpful grade 12 student who goes well above and beyond at Madill. She has been tutoring other students in the school, including those in grade 7 and 8, just because she enjoys it. She doesn't need the hours for her community involvement diploma requirement. She is an excellent honour-roll student, getting her work done promptly and accurately and is involved in many school activities beyond tutoring. She is involved in almost every school assembly, both performing as a singer (often of her original work) and helping with the technical set up. She volunteers at outside school events as a helper, and has been a peer mentor over the past few years. Specifically, she volunteers at a physiotherapy clinic in preparation for her planned career as an athletic or physiotherapist. Lexi is also on student council and is a dedicated book club member.
Ken has been a wonderful addition to the Madill staff since he arrived almost three years ago. As head custodian, he deals with each issue he faces throughout the day in such a positive way. If there is a problem, he is quick to come to try to solve it. He and his wonderful team have the school looking spotless at the start of September and they keep it looking great all year. Ken has also willingly shared his expertise with staff at Maitland River. Ken offers a work experience to some of our students who are most difficult to place and manages them effortlessly. His ability to connect with and support them is truly valued. Ken is also active in the Bluevale community, volunteering at community events. He is also a member of the Huron County Accessibility Council.
Ray has been a valuable member of the staff at FE Madill School for the past 9.5 years. During his time at FE Madill, he spent 8.5 years as the Department Head of the Tech. Department. As Dept. Head, he took the initiative to develop and implement numerous safety tracking sheets, tool inspection sheets and shop signage, much of which have been put into practice board wide. Ray has also been at the forefront in introducing blended learning into his shop classes using Desire 2 Learn. Both students and staff have benefited from his commitment to the education system, noted by his ability to mentor his colleagues on staff and improve student motivation for learning. Ray was very instrumental in the development of a Woman in Tech course as he recognized a need for a tech class which created a positive environment for young ladies. As a result of his efforts, Ray created opportunities for females students that would prove to be life changing as some have since pursued a career in the field of technology. For the past 3 years, he has been a committee member of the Huron Manufactures Association, as a liaison to the school board, Ray's voice on the committee has ensured that funding is annually set aside for student scholarships for those pursuing a career in the trades, and for organizing class trips to local manufacturing industries, providing experiences of the working environment.
Emma is a bright, articulate, talented, compassionate young woman who is a consistent force for good in the DCVI school community. In addition to ranking at the top of her class academically, she successfully maintains a part time job, co-chairs DCVI's GSA plays in the band and pursues solo musical projects, often performing at school events. In addition to all this, she is a peer mentor for younger students and a leader in class discussions and debates. Emma portrays exactly the academic and personal skills every educator hopes to find and foster in this generation.
Bronte is a grade 11 student at St. Marys DCVI. Academically, she is one of our top students, and has been recognized for her strong writing skills with both the Royal Canadian Legion Remembrance Day Contest, the Alice Munroe Short Story Competition and a regular column in the local newspaper. She maintains these high academic levels while also committing endless hours to various school and community organizations. Bronte has been an active member of Student Council, Wind Ensemble and Global Voices since grade 9 and is a founding member of the GSA at the school. She acts as treasurer for the Student Council and is a driving force behind all Global Voices activities, writing articles for the newspaper, organizing bake sales and other awareness campaigns to help those less fortunate.
Bronte is always quick to offer suggestions at planning meetings, as well as volunteering to take on a wide variety of roles depending on what is needed.
Lori is the head of our SERT department at DCVI. Lori is an inexhaustible advocate for all students at DCVI with learning, social or physical challenges. She routinely goes beyond the requirements of her job to ensure the needs of these learners are well met, and they are achieving to the best of their potential. Lori is an amazing resource for staff. She is endlessly patient in supplying aid and resources, both within class structures and in her off hours, to support staff in meeting the needs of students with IEPs. She is a source of information, guidance and comfort for parents. As a long time community member in St Marys, she is as likely to be approached with questions at the local hockey rink or grocery store as she is during school hours. She is unfailingly kind and available in meeting the needs of parents.
Tina is the Student Success lead at St. Marys DCVI. She works tirelessly with students who are struggling to make sure they are as successful as possible. Her encouraging words and perseverance are key in leading to positive results for at-risk students. At the end of any given semester, Tina leaves no rock unturned trying to get students to produce work to save their credits. She creates a warm and inviting atmosphere for students, including homemade goodies throughout the week. She runs highly effective and efficient meetings, and keeps staff informed of student progress. She also coaches the DCVI swim team and organizes staff events. Tina is a valued member of the DCVI community who always demonstrates excellence in education.
Kristen, in her 5th year at LDSS, is an excellent student who always puts 100% effort into everything: academics, extra-curriculars or other community activities. She excels in academics: she has a positive outlook on learning and consistently produces thorough work. She did a co-op placement in a Kindergarten class at Listowel Eastdale. Her placement supervisor said she had excellent aptitude to become a teacher. She has been accepted to the concurrent program at Brock University in September 2014. Kristen was co-editor of the 2012-2013 yearbook, and is currently co-president of Student Council. She is a proven student leader as she was involved in the iMatter student training program. She has been an employee at Tim Horton’s in Listowel for 3+ years, is co-trainer of Mitchell Meteors Midget Girls hockey and played hockey for LDSS and for the Meteors.
Rachel Suffern is in grade 11 and does everything in her power to make her experience at LDSS fulfilling. She is actively involved in student council taking on prominent roles. She is compiling the year book in her free time. She was on the Perth champion curling team and is working on the 2013-14 yearbook. She is involved in iMatters, offering support to fellow students and was available to inform the community of the program at LDSS. Rachel is there to support her peers, fellow LDSS students and is always offering to help with anything that comes up. She is one of those people you want to get to know.
Wayne Martin—Educational Assistant
Wayne has been an employee of AMDSB for roughly 15 years as an Educational Assistant. to working with AMDSB, Wayne had worked at the Midwestern Regional Centre near Listowel. , he has been supporting people with disabilities since the mid-1970s and has seen many changes to how people have been supported over the years. Wayne is a very wise and patient person. has a great rapport with students and staff. His experience and knowledge are invaluable to any classroom. Many will often be seen stopping to talk to him in the hallway. listens to their problems and makes them feel important.
Outside of school, Wayne has been an active participant in the community as a Minto town councilor, baseball coach, railroad aficionado, and, most importantly, grandfather.
Cathy Bitton—Educational Assistant
Cathy is committed to the students that she works with in the Life Skills class, but her commitment to the extra curricular athletic program is above and beyond.
Despite not having a permanent position at LDSS, Cathy has been committed to our athletic program for the last 4 years. has co-coached in the girls basketball program for four years. this time, her involvement was vital to the growth and development of the program. teams have made it to playoffs and won a silver medal at WOSSAA in 2011.Cathy has also co-coached the junior and senior badminton teams over the past few years. has worked closely with the female squad helping them achieve success on and off the courts. Having an EA as dedicated as Cathy to extra curricular activity, is it truly remarkable. she does to promote athletics and positive self awareness and development of our students is unmatched.
Courtney is a positive role model for many in her determination to grow academically and personally. In addition to her demanding academic schedule, she is a key player in the executive of our Athletic and Spirit Society and works hard to build moral and spirit within our population. Courtney is active in her church community and her faith and values are evident in her dealings with people. She is a valued employee at her part-time job. Courtney is a gifted musician and shares her joy in music freely with others. Courtney is determined to succeed and has worked hard to overcome the effects of a serious head injury. She does not make excuses - she works to find solutions and overcomes adversity.
Luke has been a very positive force during his years at Mitchell. In class, he is pro-active, taking leading roles, paying attention and engaging in the topic of the day in an intelligent and helpful fashion. Most recently, Luke came near the top of his ENG4U class with a 90% final mark, and also achieved a 90% in an interdisciplinary 4U course, during which he helped the school's new auto-shop teacher with his Grade 10 class. He also produced some interesting projects of his own.Outside the class-room, Luke is an excellent role-model for others, managing to maintain a "cool" image while always treating other students in a thoughtful, equitable manner. In sports, for instance, it was usually Luke who would go looking for a teacher to supervise lunch-time floor hockey, and also Luke who would see to it that any girls or younger students wanting to pay were treated fairly.
Pamela Schoonderwoerd-Smith—Guidance Secretary
Pam is an integral member of the Student Services department and a 'go to' person for many. She is a positive and capable resource for students and staff alike. Her cheery personality and empathetic nature is fundamental to the morale and spirit within our school population. Pam is an active member of her church community and her faith and values are apparent. Pamela is always ready with a helping hand and a smile for those who might be in need.
Kevin, the head custodian at MDHS, is a dedicated and integral part of our school. He is friendly, positive and always smiling. Since coming on board last year, he has worked tirelessly at creating a functional and inviting working and learning environment for staff and students alike. We particularly appreciate his efforts during the renovation and ensuing clean up of our school this past summer. It is clear that his creative input and exceptional hard work have made the school a better place. His relationship with students is one of mutual respect, and he is a role model in showing students that a job is what you make it. He consistently addresses any concerns from staff or students, providing them with any needed equipment or assistance.
Janelle is an example of a student who makes the most of the opportunities presented to her at South Huron DHS. She not only commits herself to these opportunities with everything she has, but does so with a smile, good humour and an immensely positive attitude. Janelle is very involved on our school by serving on our school's music council in the fundraising position, where she spearheaded the most aggressive but meticulously planned fundraising campaign to get our band to Nationals this year that has ever been attempted. She also serves on the school's Habitat for Humanity club, pushing herself out of her comfort zone to craft entertaining announcements helping raise money and awareness for a great cause. In all of these endeavours, Janelle has brought a number of positive things to the table, and allowed for the areas in which she is involved to benefit. She is involved heavily in music, as well as athletics where she served as skip of the school's curling team. Outside of school she has been involved with a youth curling program, passing along her enthusiasm for the sport.
Nicole epitomizes the phrase "Excellence in Public Education". She maintains one of the busiest, most diverse schedules as any student at South Huron, yet she manages to do so, somehow, without having to do anything half way. Nicole is involved in music, playing flute and piccolo in the band and piano in the jazz band. She is also a talented athlete, playing on many teams including field hockey and ice hockey, and ensuring major participation year round. She has been an active and valuable member of student council, taking on many duties and fulfilling them expertly. On top of this, Nicole has earned an incredible number of top subject awards in many of her courses. Nicole does absolutely everything she does with a wonderfully positive attitude, and an infectious smile which inspires everyone around her. She is a student who sets high standards and settles for nothing but her absolute best work, pushing herself positively towards goal after goal.
Jason is a true gentleman who is kind, honourable, and committed to his school and community. As a student, Jason is an active participant in class discussions and always respectful towards his classmates. As a member of the school community, Jason has been a committed member of the Me to We / CASE club, the Environment Club, and OSAID, and the 30 Hour Famine. He presents himself as a decisive leader and is always dedicated to the clubs and causes that are near and dear to his heart. Outside the school community, Jason serves as an Army Cadet and has had numerous growth and leadership opportunities with this organization. This community experience combined with his school activism has served him well as he is also the 2013-2014 representative of the Huron County Oddfellows and Rebekahs Pilgrimage of Youth. Jason Essery is an ideal candidate as he embodies the characteristics of an Excellence in Education Award recipient.
Sandra Fremlin-Skinner—Educational Assistant
Sandi came to SHDHS about five years ago, and has been a welcome addition to our staff. She has been an Educational Assistant with the Board since 1985 (first at McCurdy Public School, then transitioned to Hensall PS, and finally at Stephen Central). Her personality in the classroom is such that students find themselves drawn to her. She is eminently approachable and genuinely wishes to help her students succeed whether they are part of the inclusion process, struggling with behaviour issues, or having scholastic difficulties. Teaching staff who have worked with Sandi greatly appreciate the important contribution she makes to the students’ success. Beyond the classroom Sandi has willingly lent her expertise and enthusiasm and helped with various sports teams. Sandi has been the assistant-coach with the girls slo-pitch team at South Huron, and has also been known to help out with the staff team when playing against the graduating students in the annual teacher-grad ballgame.
Anna has been an avid member of many groups throughout Central. Since grade nine, she has played on several sports teams such as Tennis, Volleyball, and Badminton traveling to WOSSA and OFSSA on several occasions. She has recently focused on volleyball and returned in March from senior girl's OFSAA with the silver medal. She also helped coach the boys' junior volleyball team and is the co-president of the Central Athletic Association. In the community, she has played volleyball in Stratford, London and Kitchener.Anna participates in Symphonic Band, Central Singers and Vocal Chords and demonstrates her music abilities each year at the Stratford Kiwanis Music Festival. Each morning, she acts as one of the announcers on Rams Radio and sometimes we are lucky enough to hear her sing the national anthem. Anna maintains extremely high academic marks while being actively involved in all of these activities.
Alexandra is a positive and friendly student at Stratford Central Secondary School. She has been involved in numerous extra curricular activities which include being an active member of the Music Department. Alexandra participates in Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Jazz Band, as well as participating as a member of Music Council. She has played on the tennis team and participated in Reach for the Top and Student Council as well. Alexandra is an active member of the Interact club which focuses on helping and organizing events to help those in need in the community. She is also involved with the Me-to-We club which each year selects a pillar such as water, education, food. The group then raises money and awareness to help a community have access to this pillar in the developing world. In her spare time, Alexandra participates in musical theatre and competes in all types of dance.
John Wilkinson—Community Member
John started at Choices for Change, part of the Huron Perth Mental Health and Addiction Network, in 2008 after completing his BSW. He divides his time between Stratford Central Secondary and St Marys DCVI where he spends two days a week at each school. His role is to provide counseling services to youth involved in substance use of alcohol and drugs as well as for youth whose families have had a history of substance use. John also facilitates the “High on Life” program, a drug prevention initiative, that targets students in Grades 7 - 9. At teachers’ requests, he provides drug awareness presentations to health classes. He mentors students who have expressed an interest in counselling by having them co-facilitate the High on Life program. John enjoys getting involved in school life especially through sports such as golf, floor hockey, and skating. His ability to connect with youth reflects an active listener and a patient and caring adult. His role must be conducted discreetly within our schools and communities and because of this, his work may not always be recognized and appreciated.
Ann-Marie began her teaching career in 1985 in the Toronto area and London before joining the Avon Maitland District School Board in 1987. She has taught a variety of subjects such as Business, English, Family Studies and for the last fifteen years, Math. Ann-Marie helped run the school yearbook, assisting the editors and other students to ensure deadlines were met and the numerous events were covered. She also led the Interac Club for many years which helped students to foster a sense of caring about the people around them in their own community as well as the global community through different projects and activities.
More recently Ann-Marie has been the driving force behind Change Day and the Change Day Club which addresses issues of bullying, building empathy and igniting a movement of compassion and positive change in students. Her classroom door is always open to students. Ann-Marie is a compassionate, caring person who truly wants the best for her students.
Taylor is a serious, yet "calm" student. He is very capable academically. In all his classes he is highly responsible and calmly displays leadership to his peers. Taylor does not seek the "limelight", yet his peers look to him for leadership. He has been a keen leader in the Screaming Avocado as well the drummer for The Red Kings - a student band that has played in assemblies and school graduation. Taylor is a student that teachers in all areas, academic or open, would openly acknowledge that he is a pleasure and honor to teach.
The best way to describe Ben is humble. He is a kind and considerate young man who is always willing to lend a helping hand, but never seeks the spot light. For the past two years he has helped with Math mentoring, and has also helped the SOAR enrichment program with computer programing. Behind his modest exterior, Ben is a student with exceptional academic abilities as demonstrated by his school marks such as 100% in Math and Science as well as his success in subject contests. He has also demonstrated his leadership through participation in many school teams including Track and Field, Pole Vaulting, Nordic Skiing (where he advanced to OFSSA) and Cross Country where he represented Northwestern at WOSSA.
Well, besides being a swell guy, Keith contributes a lot to the undercurrent of the school. He is a valued member of the Tech. department as he represents the school and Board at the Home Builder’s Association. His passion as a member of the school’s Awards Committee helps to ensure equity in the presenting of awards to graduating students. In particular, Keith brings a precise eye to the myriad of awards which are dedicated to the Tech. component of the night. This year has seen the introduction of a new course designed to assist students which are interested in architecture, engineering and design. Students will have the opportunity to pursue their “AED ” interests beyond the traditional classroom with real life classroom projects through partnerships in the community, participation in Skills Canada competitions, enrollment in the Specialist High Skills Major program and related field trips.
Sue Robinson—Educational Assistant
Sue has been the back bone for our EA staff for many years. She has a huge heart and always sees the potential in every student. She is extremely caring, and has often brought in clothes for students, or reading material because it is a subject that they are interested in. She is more than EA to the students - she is like a Grandma to them. Her generous spirit and "get r' done" philosophy will be greatly missed as she approaches retirement.