High school heroes

High school heroes

Baillie Awards give graduating students the chance to recognize influential secondary school teachers.

By Dana Mitchell, Division of Student Affairs

July 22, 2020


Photo of high school students raising their hands

The Baillie Awards for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching recognize the meaningful roles that high school teachers hold in the lives of Queen’s graduates.

Established by Queen’s Chancellor Emeritus A. Charles Baillie in 2007, the Baillie Awards give graduating students the opportunity to nominate an influential secondary school teacher who played a formative role on their path towards higher education and to Queen’s.

Among the 2020 award recipients is Chesley West, a French immersion, science, health, and humanities teacher at MacDonald Drive Junior High School in St. John’s, Nfld. West was nominated by Ryker Richard, who has graduated from Queen’s with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours).

In his nomination, Ryker describes West as an educator who takes immense pride in his students’ successes and as the person who has had the most significant impact on him. He wrote that West is a reliable and honest mentor who offers wise and timely advice applicable to all areas in life. West helped Ryker develop the confidence to step outside of his comfort zone and pursue things he never thought were possible, including being elected Student Council President in high school, and receiving a major university scholarship to attend Queen’s.

Chesley West

“Receiving this award has given me cause to reflect, with great fondness, on my career and the incredible students like Ryker with whom I have worked,” says West. “I feel great pride in being able to count myself among other educators nation-wide, who – on a daily basis – are dedicated to developing strong working relationships with students to ensure they have the essential support they need to realize their full potential.”

The other 2020 Baillie Award recipients are:

  • Thomas Pinkerton, computer studies teacher at Ernestown Secondary School in Odessa. Pinkerton was nominated by Vasily Shpatrov, Bachelor of Applied Science, Computer Engineering, First Class Honours.
  • Alma Prendi, English and French teacher at Neil McNeil High School in Toronto. Prendi was nominated by Miguel Martinez-Torres, Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Major in Political Studies, Arts Minor in Sociology.
  • Julie Whitfield, English teacher at A.Y. Jackson Secondary School in Kanata. Whitfield was nominated by Julia Stothart, Bachelor of Nursing Science.

Baillie Award recipients are invited to their student-nominator’s convocation ceremony, however due to COVID-19, all in-person spring ceremonies were postponed. Once it is safe to do so, and dates for the ceremonies are identified, this year’s recipients will be invited to campus to be celebrated in-person.

For more information about the awards and past recipients, visit the Division of Student Affairs website.