On Wednesday, May 16th we celebrate World Education Support Personnel Day.
This is a day for special recognition of the amazing work of all the support staff in our schools and administrative offices, including custodial staff, technicians, educational assistants, early childhood educators, professional student services staff, and more. These staff members make a positive difference each day in the lives of students, colleagues, and families and in schools across the District. The WCDSB is incredibly grateful for the hard work and compassion of support staff and is glad to recognize their dedication, adaptability, and dependability! Thank you for your many, many contributions to our schools and administrative offices.
This year, OSSTF has selected Karen Duffy, Educational Assistant at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Guelph as the Phyllis Henke Memorial Award of Merit recipient.
Annually, the BU celebrates a member at our AGM. This award is for a member as nominated by a member and was called the OSSTF Award of Merit. Three years ago it was renamed as a memorial award in loving memory of Phyllis Henke. Phyllis was an EA with our Board for many, many years. Her positivity, generosity of time and care to her students, colleagues and to the Union I have not seen matched in another person. She was a long-time member of the faith and catholicity committee, primarily responsible for organizing the Board Memorial Mass in past as well as supporting and collaborating on the initiatives of the committee. She was a person who was often dismissed or unnoticed - she was humble and did not crave or seek accolades or the spotlight. She simply, kindly and humbly did her best, gave of herself all she could for the greater good and asked nothing in return. She was the embodiment of choosing to do what was right over what is easy and she did it quietly, with humanity and grace.
The Phyllis Henke Memorial Award of Merit is presented to a member who exhibits the loving qualities of Ms. Henke. This member is dedicated, a humanitarian and strives for the inclusion of their students. They see when, and know how, to let others know that they are valued and loved.
Karen was selected for being the gentlest soul, easy to laugh and smile and having patience to no end. She knows what being an EA is all about - the kids, and is very caring of the children in her care. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to help new colleagues feel welcome and supported. She patiently explains and shares information with colleagues and students professionally and humbly. Karen has a way of welcoming others into her, prioritizing people always treating them with respect, kindness and humanity. It is an absolute pleasure working having her at Sacred Heart Guelph - which is made better by her presence.