What do Butch Goring, Jennifer Jones, Evelyn Jacks, Anne Durcan and Don Lamont have in common?
At first glance, the group is quite diverse. One is a Stanley Cup winner, one a world curling champion, one an international tax expert and one a nationally recognized family physician. The latter is a professional fisherman.
They are, however, united by a two common elements: they’re all graduates of Windsor Park Collegiate; and they’re all recipients of the Collegiate’s Distinguished Alumni award.
The high school initiated the award during its 50th anniversary celebration in 2011 to commemorate the achievements of WPC students and to showcase its rich legacy of graduates.
Three graduates earned the distinction during the milestone year and every year after the school intends to admit a new inductee to the Hallway of Honour, a space created to remember the school’s leaders and achievers.
To be eligible for the award, each candidate must earn a high level of achievement in his/her life work or career; have received public recognition or accolades in a tangible way, such as an award; or impacted on the community at large in a meaningful way. Fifty two years of graduates make selecting a winner each year a very difficult task.
Principal Marilyn Thorington believes that the award "instills a sense of history and pride within our student body and our staff. We want to develop a culture where students see the possibilities for themselves."
The award recipients become role models in the school. Students are reminded during the school year that these high flying graduates sat in the same desks that they currently sit in. It’s a powerful motivator.
Cayleen Murphy, a 2013 graduate, is proud of past graduates’ achievements: "It’s inspiring to know that so many WPC students went on to do great things."
The award is also a boost to teachers, who rarely see the long-term fruit of their labour during those high school foundation years. Jeff Herkimer, a member of the distinguished alumni committee at the school notes that "teachers are always gratified to watch their students go off into the real world and achieve to their maximum potential."
This year’s recipient, Don Lamont, received the 2013 Windsor Park Collegiate Distinguished Alumni award during the Collegiate’s convocation ceremony on June 25. He offered a heartfelt message to the 2013 graduating class, stressing the importance of working hard and leaving footsteps for others to follow.
Don credited the staff of WPC for shaping his positive attitude and work ethic. "I’m happy to share the lessons I learned about hard work from my WPC teachers. They taught me that if I was going to be successful, I had to go out and earn it, and strive for excellence."
Don, the 1970 male athlete of the year, has led a distinguished and exemplary post high school life. He has been a professional angler for the last 28 years, turning a recreational passion into his lifelong work.
He produced and hosted The Complete Angler television series and has received provincial and national tourism Awards. He has written a fishing column for the Winnipeg Free Press since 1992, and has contributed to fishing magazines around the world.
He is most proud of his work as Fish Futures’ Provincial Youth Angling Coordinator, facilitating hundreds of fishing/recreation workshops to schools and clubs in Western Canada and introducing at-risk youth to the art of fishing. The award committee is always looking for great candidates to consider for future years.
If you are aware of a WPC graduate who has gone on to realize personal and public success, please contact me at my email address below or contact the school directly on its website, http://www.lrsd.net/schools/WPC/
Adriano Magnifico is a community correspondent for St. Boniface. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org