OPSBA Awards – ET Fall 2016

The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association offers six annual awards to recognize outstanding contributions to public education by individuals in Ontario.

The Award of Merit in Memory of Dr. Harry Paikin recognizes excellent service to public education from an active or retired trustee.

Roy Wilfong, a former trustee for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, is the recipient of the 2015-16 Award of Merit in Memory of Dr. Harry Paikin.

When Roy Wilfong retired from the Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB in October 2014, it was after 60 years of service, one of the longest terms for a school board trustee in Ontario’s history. His work on the board included multiple terms as board chair and as head of most of the board’s committees, and he always combined his unflagging support for student success with a businessperson’s sense for sound fiscal management. He believed strongly that schools and boards should be a vital part of the community and welcomed the voice of parents and members of the community.

Roy Wilfong’s commitment and dedication are also felt in his community. He has often been a featured performer at local senior homes and is the founding director of three choirs at his church, where he was a soloist.

In 2002, Wilfong was a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, and in 2015 the Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB renamed the meeting space at the board’s education centre the Roy H. Wilfong Boardroom in his honour.

The Award of Merit in Memory of Jack A. MacDonald honours a student who maintains an excellent academic record while making an outstanding contribution to his or her school and community.

The 2015-16 recipient of the Award of Merit in Memory of Jack A. MacDonald is Zachary Misener from Stratford Central Secondary School. Zachary leaves a strong legacy of advocacy on behalf of students’ interests; he was an active member of the school’s student council for four years and served as a student trustee for the Avon Maitland District School Board for two. As a student trustee, he was a regional council member of the Ontario Student Trustee Association — l’Association des élèves conseillers et conseillères de l’Ontario, where he worked on the policy committee.

This background, along with his experience as a member of the Minister’s Student Advisory Council in 2014 and a member of the Model Parliament for Youth in 2015, will serve him well in his plans to study political science at the University of Ottawa. Zachary was also very active in the school choir and was honoured for his acting skills in the 2016 Sears Ontario Drama Festival.

The OPSBA Award of Excellence is given to honour the highest overall service to public education by non-teaching staff, parents, volunteers and community partners involved in education in member boards.

Elder Felicia Waboose is the recipient of the 2016 Award of Excellence and an OPSBA Achievement Award.

From her roots in the northeastern Ontario community of Minimiska on the Albany River to her service as an elder with the Lakehead District School Board in Thunder Bay, Felicia Waboose’s life has been about resilience and sharing her strength with others. In 1989, before moving to Thunder Bay, Waboose co-founded Equay-wuk (Women’s Group), a non-profit support group for Aboriginal women and children in Sioux Lookout. She has been an elder with the Lakehead board for six years, and her wisdom has guided many successful initiatives and programs; her work with the Ministry of Education has helped shape the Ministry’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit Collaborative Inquiry. She is a well-loved visitor to all board schools, speaking about her childhood and experiences in the residential school system, as well as sharing traditional recipes and demonstrating traditional activities and customs.

The OPSBA Achievement Award recognizes outstanding contributions to public education of non-teaching staff, parents, volunteers and community partners involved in education in member boards.

Lyndy Stajkowski, chair of the Valley Central School Community Association, and Laura Shannon, supervisor of the Algonquin Avenue Public School Breakfast Club, both in Thunder Bay, are recipients of the 2016 OPSBA Achievement Award.

Lyndy Stajkowski has been an active member of the School Community Association board since 2009. She has played an important role in the school’s fundraising efforts and was part of the team that helped the school to secure a lottery licence to help increase revenues. With an outgoing personality and welcoming approach, she works effectively with staff, administration, suppliers and parents.

For the past two years, Laura Shannon has been tireless in her role as the supervisor of Algonquin Avenue’s breakfast program. She is responsible for every aspect of the program, from planning meals and purchasing the food to preparing and serving meals for the children who use the service; frequently she must cater to widely varying schedules. Her dedication is legendary; she’s been known to brave severe Thunder Bay weather to make sure she was there with a smile and a warm breakfast for the children.  

The Fred L. Bartlett Memorial Award is given to an active or retired member of the teaching profession to honour outstanding service to public education.

There were no submissions for the Fred L. Bartlett Memorial Award for 2015-16.

The President’s Award recognizes trustees who have given 25 years of dedicated service to public education and is presented annually at the Public Education Symposium in January.