To commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal was created to honour Canadians who have made significant contributions to their communities.
Local resident Linda Taylor Boyd received such an honour from Saint Boniface MP Shelly Glover this past spring for her tireless work and dedication to teaching dance and baton to youngsters in Windsor Park and Southdale.
A dancer since the age of three, Boyd has spent more than 50 years teaching children and young adults the art of jazz, ballet, tap, and baton twirling. In fact, she taught dance back when the Winakwa Community Centre was nothing but a boxcar with a woodstove. She fondly recalls how the hockey players would gently shoot pucks in the direction of the girls’ dance class in order to get their attention.
Now semi-retired, Boyd remarkably still has around 200 students whom she teaches regularly or as a guest instructor. Many of her students have gone on to win individual and group awards, and many have become dance and baton teachers themselves.
Boyd still keeps in touch with many of her former students, and has even taught some of their children. Her eyes sparkle when she talks about the many students she has had over the years.
"I like to see (the children’s) growth and progression. It makes me feel good to see what they’ve accomplished," she says.
Demonstrating a true dedication to her students, Boyd has even been known to pickup or drop off her young charges when they didn’t have a ride. It is clear she feels a deep passion for the work she does.
"Taking dance lessons makes for a positive life experience and many (of my students) go onto be very successful in whatever they do." She then adds with a laugh, "Of course, as I also tell my students, ‘No pain, no gain’!"
With a room full of trophies and medals, you might think that perhaps the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal would be considered just another award. But it quickly becomes apparent that Boyd holds this accolade in as high an esteem as some of her other notable achievements including coaching the baton team that won the first Canadian medal at the World Championships in 1983, being nominated for Manitoba’s Coach of the Year Award, and coaching the pom-pom squad that went on to win city, provincial and national titles.
A true teacher even in her spare time, Boyd is always preparing for upcoming classes and lessons. She is a shining example of what the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal stands for: commitment to community.
Heather Tiede is a community correspondent for Windsor Park. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.