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Horizon School Division
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A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

May 08, 2018

We soldiered on this week, trying to come to grips with the new normal that is the reality for so many of our students, staff, families, and communities. And just when some of us, including me, found it most difficult to navigate toward that normal…up stepped our kids to remind us it is not too far off our current path. In truth, our students, on a daily basis, remind us of the many reasons we have to celebrate who we are as Horizon School Division. Here are just a few…

Last week, the Wadena Composite Girls Curling team was presented with a banner as winners of the SHSAA Sportsmanship Award for 2018. We are certainly proud of the way the team represented our division throughout the curling season, but the amazing reminder I had was that they won the award in the midst of such greatness. We had another team from Horizon (Ituna) who were likely right in the mix for the award. As a matter of fact, having had the opportunity to meet all the athletes at the event, it was clear in my mind that every one of them would represent their home school and division with class and dignity. On April 26, Ituna School held a school showcase, red carpet event and open house to celebrate past and present students. They invited past graduates to share about their careers. Creeson Agecoutay of CTV Regina was also invited to take part and share with students about his career as a television journalist. We also learned this past week that Rylan Marianchuk of Humboldt Collegiate Institute was awarded with the Schulrich Leader Scholarship from the University of Calgary. This scholarship is worth up to $80,000 and recognizes students enrolled in a STEM program at the U of C who demonstrate leadership and high academic achievement. On April 27, Lake Lenore School held the first graduation ceremony of the season for Horizon School Division. Our Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman, brought greetings and congratulations on behalf of my office, while playing a dual role as a parent of one of our fine graduates. As the graduation season gets into full swing over the next few weeks and months, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of this year’s graduates across Horizon School Division.

April 26 was Administrative Professionals’ Day and I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to thank the fantastic admin professionals we have in our schools and facilities across Horizon. The work of our admin staff is so critical to all levels of success for students and staff alike, and I can never thank our admin professionals enough.

Last Monday, afternoon classes were dismissed for all elementary and high school students in Humboldt and Muenster to allow our staff to attend a debrief session with trauma expert, Kevin Cameron. Prior to this session, Kevin and I met Crandall Hrynkiw and Jason Neville in Strasbourg to work through a session with their staff relative to grief. There has been a great deal of loss in the community and supporting these adults and Bulyea School was critical during this time. I appreciated having our own expert counselors on site at the schools to support the staff and any students and families. Making sure our adults have responded to their trauma is the first step to ensuring the trauma in our communities is able to be properly mitigated. The session back in Humboldt was jointly organized between Horizon School Division and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools and brought each of our organizations’ staff members together for a few hours to discuss our joint response to the Broncos bus tragedy. Mr. Cameron is the executive director for the Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response. He and his organization have been an incredible support for everyone during this trying time.

This week, I joined Horizon’s Board of Education Chair, Jim Hack, and Vice Chair, Wil Lengyel, and members of my senior leadership team to finalize the agenda for our May 9th Board meeting and to finalize plans for reporting at next week’s meeting. Also this past week, my Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) of school administrators and Horizon’s senior leadership met via Skype. It had been a few weeks since we had held a formal DLT meeting, and there was a great deal to discuss. I took the opportunity to thank our DLT and staff for their work and support over the course of the last several weeks. Following the DLT meeting, my Senior Leadership Team (SLT) met to hold an in-depth budget discussion prior to Horizon’s Board meeting on May 9.

Winston High School held Horizon’s second graduation ceremony of the year this past Friday evening. Jennifer Lemky, Trustee for Subdivision 3, brought greetings on behalf of our Board and Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, brought greetings on behalf of my office. Over the next two months of the school year, as we tend to graduations across our system, I know we will be grateful for the opportunities to come together as school communities and celebrate the successes of each one of our students and the achievements that have led them to this milestone in their lives.

Finally this week, I must share that my heavy heart, has become even heavier. Our former colleague and friend, Faye Waite, passed away suddenly on May 3. Faye dedicated her career to supporting the education sector and its students through her work for Horizon School Division and our legacy divisions. She celebrated 25 years of service prior to her retirement in the summer of 2014. I know that each of us has thoughts and/or prayers for Faye and her family during this difficult time. I am reminded of the words of a favorite author, Mitch Albom, who wrote in his book, For One More Day, “Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back”. Although we are not able to get that day back to say what we wanted to, I know Faye knew that, like so many, we loved her for all that she was and all that she helped our system become.  

I wish each of you a wonderful week ahead. We finally have some summer-like weather. Stay Humboldt Strong, Horizon.

- Kevin

Kevin C. Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.Ed
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. 205