REPORTING · 29th June 2010
There are many ways to graduate and one special graduation ceremony was held at Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club on Monday, June 14th. This was not a graduation for students but a graduation for their educators, a retirement party to honour the teachers who have guided students for many years and to recognize the milestones for teachers in the community.
”What we’re having here tonight is a retirement and acknowledgement of long term employees of the School District, both teachers and KUPE employees. A way of recognizing their years and commitment to the School District,” said School Board Trustee Barry Pankhurst.
Superintendent of School Rob Greenwood introduced the teachers to the meeting. “In our field of endeavour, whether we are teachers or whether we are administrators or maintenance folks, they can be trying times. They can also be very rewarding. A lot of it is cast by the way you folks approach your work and when I travel around to schools, by enlarge, most of the times, happy faces and we really appreciate that because the work you do truly shapes what’s going to happen to all of us in a few years,” said Greenwood. “You help so many people in so many ways.”
There were quite a number of teachers retiring this year. Notably among them was the head of maintenance for Kitimat, Manuel Luis who has been with the district for 36 years, The principal of KCH, Janise Johnson and one of the teachers who has been with the school District for many years, Rob Goffinet who is also a City Councillor.
There were other teachers who were retiring. Doug Thomson, who taught at both the High School and Elementary School level and would become a Jr. Councillor at the High School. Robert Irwin, a Physical Education teacher from the high school who served as coach for the varsity teams and received an Award for coaching. Dennis Horwood who was described as a wonderful community leader who left a powerful legacy in Nechako Elementary School and who always cheerful in his work. Pankhurst stated both Goffinet and Horwood were pillars of Nechako.
“It’s going to be a fun night and I hope the people enjoy themselves and remains upon their years of service,” said Pankhurst. “We’re losing a lot of senior staff, we’re sad that we are losing a lot of senior people while at the same time, it is an opportunity for Jr. Teachers to get started in the school system.
Johnson was not at the ceremony but Pankhurst expressed: “It’s going to be very hard to say goodbye to Janise because she has made that school what it is today and Sheila has big shoes to fill at KCH.” Sheila McInnis will be taking over from Johnson in September.
The presentations over, Rob Greenwood had one final request before he closed, Goffinet was asked to remove his tie. “It’s wonderful joining groups of people who spent so many years working together,” said Greenwood. He thanked all the teachers for the work they do for the students.
Manuel Luis in the centre retires from the possition of head of maintenance in Kitimat
Rob Goffinet retired from his teaching career.
Dedicated Coach Robert Irwin retired from his career as a gym teacher.
Last but not least, Dennis Horwood, another dedicated teacher from Nechako officially retired this year.