Opening Statement



Thursday, 7 June 2012

TAN: Teacher Appreciation Night 2012!

This Wednesday was our annual TSU TAN [Teacher Appreciation Night] at Fantasy Farm off Pottery Road in the Toronto Don Valley. Hidden from sight among the lush ravine vegetation,  and a world away from the busy expressway rush, it is always a pure delight. This year was no exception!

Over 200 of our teacher reps, committee members, retires and executive members past and present, along with the visiting OECTA dignitaries easily helped us fill the dinning hall. We enjoyed a tasty, hearty barbecue dinner of steak, chicken or salmon with all the fixings. Our members and guests enjoyed chatting outdoors on the splendid patio, while inside we mixed and mingled before and after dinner enjoying engaging conversation and our favourite drinks. All the retirees were given Hawaiian Lays to wear, a TSU retiree tradition. Over dessert we clapped and cheered as the awards were given out.

This year's Teacher of the Year was Kevin  Welbes Godin from BMT. Michele Blais from Cardinal Carter won the Teacher Rep award. Alan Kwok from St. Mary's was named Beginning Teacher of the Year. I presented an Award of Recognition for Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan. His strong union leadership and support for Catholic education is perhaps especially poignant this year, considering the many contract problems we face. Gerard Ardanaz won the Distinguished Service Reward for his four years of tireless service as our TSU 1st VP, and of course for all the other many union contributions he has made to help make OECTA TSU the powerhouse it is today.

Past OECTA President James Ryan and Grievance Officer Bruno Muzzi graced us from OECTA Provincial. Jane Moore from Don Bosco delivered a witty, touching speech on behalf of the retiring teachers. Sal Amente returned to play the accordion for us, as our wandering minstrel, visiting the dinner tables and anywhere else our members were gathered. Master of Ceremonies Theresa Oakley once again made sure we had a smooth running, well organized, fun ,and relaxed evening. [IMHO]: In my humble opinion it was one of our best TSU TAN nights yet!

TSU's tradition is to hold TAN each year to recognize and thank our many active and retiring members for their service to our teacher union and Catholic education. It was a very pleasant mix of young and older teachers without any of the partisanship or political infighting of years past. It was quite an  honour to see our strong leadership vanguard of TSU Presidents past and present lined up for a photo shoot; Don Schmidt, Seve Kirby, Kathleen Gardiner and Rene Jansen. 

Janet and I drove off afterwards into the night. As we headed back home along the freeway, I felt a strong sense of fulfilment in having worked again with so many great teachers this year. Also, I will admit, I daydreamed a bit about when I too can retire from the ultimately tiring school year grind, and move on to the next stage and many pursuits in my life after teaching at the TCDSB. And so, a special tip of the hat goes to the many, many teachers at TAN 2012 for all their great service and the untold number of students lives who they have touched and at the very least made a little bit better as a part of our teacher vocation! We are truly blessed for all your fine service as Catholic teachers!

PS: Photos will be posted from TAN in my slide show on the top left of your screen all week. There are quite a few to share!




My wife Janet and I at TSU TAN 2012.


PPS: I have seen the TSU Highlight's photos and the quality puts me to shame. Also they have all the retirees individual photos. It should hopefully be out by the end of June or early in the new school year, so in the meantime, I hope this will suffice.

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