School’s out for Joe DiCurzio after more than three decades of coaching and teaching at Tec Voc High School.
The Charleswood resident officially retired this week as work education co-ordinator and leaves behind a legacy of championships and successful programs at the West End school.
DiCurzio, who is the president of Basketball Manitoba and still coaches soccer, says retiring on his own terms was important.
"I said to myself that when I was 55, and I worked for 30 years, I would be going. I’ve had 30 fantastic years and I want to end it that way," says DiCurzio, who has a wife and two daughters.
"It feels good. I’ve had a number of goals in my life and that was one of them. It’s a sad thing, but that’s what I had planned."
DiCurzio was instrumental in the success of the annual Winnipeg Invitational Tournament and once led the school to four consecutive provincial basketball championships. He will continue to be involved with WIT in an advisory role.
DiCurzio also helped establish the school’s portfolio and mentorship programs, a career fair and a work experience program.
And while he is finished with teaching, DiCurzio will continue to be a coach of sorts in his new job that begins in August.
DiCurzio will be working for the Alliance of Manitoba Sector Councils helping newcomers to the country land apprenticeships and jobs.
The AMSC is a group of industry sectors that encourages co-operation between sectors and strengthening the Manitoba workforce.
It’s a position that is close to his heart. DiCurzio moved to Winnipeg from Italy when he was 12-years-old.
"Having been a newcomer to Canada myself, I think I will have a little bit of an edge towards how to help them because I’ve gone through it myself," DiCurzio says.
"It will be just like coaching and mentoring and being a counsellor to them."
Greg Bouchard succeeded DiCurzio as coach of the varsity boys basketball team at Tec Voc and says that he was one of the cornerstones of the school that everyone looked up to.
"There was lots of times that I would sit in Joe’s office and we’d talk basketball. He was a real mentor," says Bouchard, who is now the vice-principal at Grant Park High School.
Bouchard says he always admired the relationships DiCurzio developed with students and staff, and that he wouldn’t be where he was today without knowing him.
"Tec Voc High School is going to miss him, and I know that all of us as colleagues are better because Joe was involved in our careers."
Bouchard points to WIT, which now utilizes almost all of the departments in Tec Voc to make it a unique multi-media professionaltournament, as part of the legacy DiCurzio will leave behind.
DiCurzio says he doesn’t measure his career by the success he has personally achieved, but by the success of his students.
"When I go out into all of these industries, I see so many ex-Tec Voc students and to me, that’s as good as it gets," he says.