By Kirk Starratt
They weren’t expecting the recognition, but all felt honour and privilege in receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Annapolis Valley-Hants Senator Kelvin Ogilvie presented medals to three recipients Jan. 6 at the Blomidon Inn in Wolfville, all in recognition for their contributions as educators and the contributions they made to their communities through those roles.
Brian M. (Peter) Goucher was one of the recipients. He said the recognition is a tremendous honour. Looking back over his career, Goucher said perhaps one of the most enduring memories is when he became principal of Cornwallis District High School in Canning. The parent community and student body did a lot of work to overhaul a very old school and they did it on their own. Goucher said this is something they are all very proud of to this day.
“When you spend your career in education, you don’t do it ever thinking that someone down the line would recognize it but it’s quite a thrill when they do,” Goucher said.
Conrad (Connie) MacNeil, another recipient, said he didn’t expect the honour. But accepts it on behalf of the many teachers and colleagues he was worked with over the years. He said they’ve done a wonderful job.
“I was blown away by it, quite frankly,” MacNeil said about finding out he was to receive the medal.
MacNeil said one of his fondest memories is when he was named supervisor of western area schools, where he spent the last five years of his career.
Recipient James Robert Harris said it was a long career, with many 14-hour days. However, one thing he was most pleased to be able to do in his role as an educator and principal was to empower student leadership and young people who were going to make a difference in society. Another highlight was being able to pick up the phone and speak with a university president about a student who might need some special support, for example.
“It is an honour, it is a privilege, it is amazing and it’s very humbling,” he said.
Ogilvie said it’s a true privilege for him as senator to be able to give people like this a medal on behalf of the Government of Canada and the Governor General.
“How often in life do you say, ‘that person deserves a medal’?” Ogilvie said.
He said all have made an important impact from the time they were students through to today in many different ways. However, all three have been direct educators and have had administrative responsibilities at different levels. In each of their capacities, they’ve made real contributions to education and to their communities through their respective roles, which is the reason they’ve been recognized with the medal.
To see more photos and watch a video from the medal ceremony, featuring interview clips with all three recipients and Senator Ogilvie, visit www.kingscountynews.ca.