OPSBA Recognizes Lakehead Public Schools Excellence

Two dedicated members of the Lakehead Public Schools Community were recognized by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the Lakehead District School Board at this evening’s Regular Board Meeting. The individuals were recognized for their devotion to public education and Lakehead Public Schools students with the presentation of the OPSBA Achievement Award and an OPSBA Award of Excellence. The awards were given to Paul Amano and Elizabeth (Beth) Andros. Mr. Amano received an OPSBA Achievement Award and the OPSBA Award of Excellence in Ontario. Ms. Andros received the OPSBA Achievement Award.

“Each year, we are honoured to work with OPSBA to recognize the excellence in public education through the presentation of these awards to very worthy recipients,” says Karen Wilson, Chair of the OPSBA Awards Selection Committee. “We are extremely grateful to these very special people. Their dedication to our students and their success is exemplary and appreciated by the Board and the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association.”

Paul Amano is the owner and operator of Boreal Journeys Sled Dog Kennel in Kaministiquia. He has a passion for sharing the dogsledding history of Thunder Bay with students. He engages students of all ages and tailors his presentations to meet the needs and interests of all students.

Many of Paul’s presentations focus on character education and team building. One such presentation explains the roles and positions held by each dog in the team. He explains how each dog has a different role and strength and how those differences can contribute to being a successful team if everyone works together.

Paul often shares the story of T-Bone, one of his favourite team dogs. T-Bone was blind and students are able to discuss how a blind dog can be an influential and important team member. The students discuss and infer how a team would have to work together to compensate for her physical disability by drawing on her strengths.

Paul’s lessons are also reflective of the history and culture of our area. Students learn from the historical and cultural names he has chosen for his dogs, including Arthur, William, Nanibijou and Ernest, named after Ernest Cross who carried mail by dogsled from Silver Islet to Port Arthur in the 1900’s.

“Paul is a humble individual who promotes the historical and cultural significance to students in our schools. He truly believes in the power of storytelling and through this belief, he has made a significant and profound impact on the character education of our students,” states Rebecca Cross in her nomination letter for Paul Amano.

Elizabeth (Beth) Andros has been an Aboriginal Achievement Tutor at Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute for three years. Her primary focus is the achievement of Aboriginal students, supporting their transition from remote communities and providing the students with opportunities to continue to develop socially, emotionally and academically. Beth works diligently to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment and she has worked tirelessly to build strong relationships with students and staff.

Under her guidance, Churchill students have been recognized locally, provincially and nationally for their outstanding achievements. When one of the students was named as the recipient of the James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Award, he chose Beth as one of two adults to accompany him to the award ceremony in Toronto.

“Beth is the caring and advocating adult for many of these students who are away from their home community. She fills the void – she feeds them, she conferences with teachers, boarding parents and education counsellors,” says Dave Isherwood, Principal Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute in his nomination letter. “Without Beth Andros, many of our Aboriginal students would have little to identify with. They come to Churchill every day to excel and thrive because they know Beth is there.”

The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association Achievement Award and the Award of Excellence were created to recognize the outstanding contributions of non-teaching staff, parents, volunteers and community partners involved in education in the OPSBA member boards. The awards provide opportunities to raise awareness and promote the importance of celebrating excellence and the necessity of recognizing the work of all members of the education community. Each Board may select up to four nominees for the Achievement Award and only one nominee for the Award of Excellence.

The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) represents public district school boards and public school authorities across Ontario, which together serve more than 1.2 million public elementary and secondary students and more than a half-million adult learners. The Association advocates on behalf of the best interests and needs of the public school system in Ontario.