Celebrating Blessings – Everywhere!
Being brought up in a first generation Irish family, I was encouraged to learn about the Ronan Tynan story. Ronan is now a well-known recording artist and public speaker. But his life is best categorized by his belief which originally emanated from parents, that adversity was more often than not, a blessing in disguise. Tynan’s life is about simply choosing to discover blessings in all circumstances. He believes that if everyone became disciplined to embrace opportunity, the world would be a much happier place for all. How else could he have grown up as a double amputee wearing prosthetic legs, to become a physician, a champion equestrian rider, and one of the greatest tenors to sing his way in and out of Ireland.
Tynan frequently extols that God places roses at our feet on a daily basis. He goes on to say that our role is to open our eyes to them and embrace them for all their beauty whenever we discover them. Perhaps his most famous expression to support this mindset is expressed as follows, “belief and encouragement are the matches that light the candle of achievement.”
With these inspiring reminders in mind, I would like to highlight during this very busy month of May a few of the many blessings that have passed before my eyes.
We are excited to honour outstanding first year teachers: Callum MacMillan, from G.H. Primeau; and Ryan Harrison, from J.J. Nearing who were nominated for the Alberta School Board Association’s Edwin Parr Teacher Award. Congratulations to both of these excellent educators, and special congratulations to Ryan for being selected as the District’s recipient of this award.
How special it was that R.S. Fowler teacher, Brent Kieser, received the Council of Catholic School Superintendents’ Excellence in Catholic Education Award. Brent is a shining light to others about how faith can be activated in a school community. The school chaplaincy model that will be in place next school year is a direct result of the difference strong faith leaders like Brent can make to enhance the ethos of Catholic education for others -- including staff and students.
We are proud to celebrate Vincent J. Maloney’s Billie-Jo Grant as a recipient of the Guiding the Journey: Indigenous Educator Award. Thank you, Billie-Jo, for demonstrating success in advocating for resources to support culturally based curricula and supporting Indigenous students in reaching their full potential.
Thank you to all of our schools, the teachers and their students for continuing to support justice for the most vulnerable in society in so many diverse and meaningful ways.
Finally, it is nice to see that provincially Catholic supporters celebrated together World Catholic Day by wearing the colour blue. May of course, is the Month of Mary. Blue is a well recognized Marian colour. Mary, despite the challenges she would face in her own human journey, said “yes” to God by giving birth to His only Son, Jesus Christ. Mary is a strong example for us all about what happens when we say “yes” to what brings goodness to each other.
We can never count all of our blessings or realize them instantaneously in our lives. However, we can discover their presence among us as we go through our daily living just as Tynan did. In this way, we can pause periodically, even during busy times, and reflect upon simple abundances that are taking place all around us. Through doing so, we bring out the best in each one of us, the value of others, and contribute meaningfully to prosperity in our world.
Lots of blessings, everyone!
Superintendent of Schools