Students pay tribute to high school teachers
By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer
Graduating students cross the convocation stage by themselves to receive their diplomas, but they certainly are not alone during the journey that leads them to that momentous occasion. Many students remember and cherish the support they received from their high school teachers.
Marc LaRouche was one of those influential educators for Stephanie Sweirgosz (Artsci’14). She credits Mr. LaRouche, a chemistry and calculus teacher and guidance counsellor at Kirkland Lake District Composite School, for helping develop her confidence and passion for kinesiology and health studies.
“He has touched the lives of many students with his commitment to education, fostering of critical thinking and devotion towards making the high school experience one that is not solely focused on learning information, but learning about life and about oneself,” says Ms. Sweirgosz, who nominated Mr. LaRouche for a Baillie Award for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching.
These awards are a wonderful opportunity for graduating students to honour a high school teacher who supported them on their path to higher education at Queen’s.
Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs
The award was established by Chancellor Emeritus A. Charles Baillie. It gives undergraduate students in their graduating year the opportunity to honour educators in Canada who had a decisive and formative influence on them. Mr. LaRouche and four other secondary school teachers will receive their Baillie Awards at various spring convocation ceremonies.
“I was completely speechless, and I am never speechless. I immediately reflected on the wonderful times I spent with Stephanie over the years,” says Mr. LaRouche. “Ultimately, I am left with a deep appreciation for your former chancellor. What kind of a man generously creates an award to celebrate the achievement of former teachers? I am fortunate to live among some truly great people.”
In addition to Mr. LaRouche, this year’s award recipients are:
• Ana Maria Pereira-Castillo, a Spanish and French teacher at University of Toronto Schools, nominated by Samir Kulkarni (Com’14 and Artsci’14).
• Carrie Wilson, a science and chemistry teacher at Kincardine District Secondary School, nominated by Ramona Neferu (Sci’14)
• Robert Berg, a physics, mathematics and science teacher at Orangeville District Secondary School, nominated by Alex Cormier (Sci’14)
• Barry Yee, an international baccalaureate biology and chemistry teacher at Western Canada Senior High School in Calgary, nominated by Chantal Loeppky (Artsci’14).
“The university is grateful to Mr. Baillie for setting up this program in recognition of the positive influence that so many secondary school teachers have on their students,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “These awards are a wonderful opportunity for graduating students to honour a high school teacher who supported them on their path to higher education at Queen’s.”
More information about the Baillie Awards is available on the Student Affairs website.