: Nov 23, 2021
Four individuals have been selected to receive the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board’s highest honour, the Award of Merit for Distinguished Service to Catholic Education. The award honours individuals and groups who have contributed to Catholic education in a significant and special way.
This year’s recipients of the Award for Distinguished Service to Catholic Education are: Yvette Beach:
A retired principal and outstanding Catholic leader, Yvette Beach served her vocation with a commitment to academic excellence and faith formation. Her Christ-centred approach to learning not only tremendously benefited students but set a great example for colleagues. As a member of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board’s Anti-Racism in Education Committee, Yvette has made a significant positive difference in the lives of racialized and Indigenous students throughout the school system and broader community. She is also a founding member of the African-Caribbean Culture Program, which provides post-secondary scholarships to young people in Hamilton. In her retirement, Yvette continues to volunteer within the Board, providing extensive support to students at St. Jean de Brébeuf Catholic Secondary School, Cathedral High School and Wilma’s Place. Morris Hucal:
As Superintendent of Education, Morris Hucal actively leads in elementary and secondary curriculum, athletics, robotics, active and sustainable transportation, and physical literacy. Under his direction, Morris has grown STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) initiatives across the system, including FIRST Lego League and FIRST Robotics Competition programs which challenges students to design, build and program a robot for the chance to compete on a world stage. Working with community partners and staff, Morris successfully set up coding clubs and summer camps for students in our Board and increased participation in the Science and Engineering Fair. Morris has also served as past President of the Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers’ Association and on the Catholic Youth Organization Board of Directors. Marnie Jadon:
For over 30 years, Marnie Jadon’s tireless work and dedication to effective communication has been instrumental in promoting the good news of Catholic Education across the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board. As the Media and Communications Manager, Marnie works diligently to ensure all internal and external communications are consistent with the Board’s mission and vision, while providing effective crisis management strategies to uphold the reputation of the Board. During these last 20 months, Marnie took on the role of COVID-19 Board Lead, navigating a constantly changing landscape to make sure the most up-to-date information and advice is available for staff, schools and parents. Her vision and commitment to the HWCDSB has also led to our “new” Board logo, as well as the implementation of new social media and communication tools. Kelly Lazure-Valconi:
A visionary leader, Kelly Lazure-Valconi’s impact across the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board has been immeasurable. As the Employee Assistance Counsellor, Kelly’s expertise, goodness, commitment and warm demeanour makes a visit to her office an affirming experience. Through her successful implementation of the Employee Assistance Program, staff can seek guidance on matters relating to mental health, work, family life, or personal coaching. Her extensive knowledge in social work has helped advise the Board regarding Human Rights legislation, particularly pertaining to employee mental health and wellness. A “life-long learner,” Kelly continuously stays current with modern research to ensure staff are provided the most effective care. Kelly is also a professor in the Social Work Program at McMaster University, inspiring others to get into the field.
“Each of these remarkable individuals has served Catholic education in immeasurable ways,” says Chairperson Pat Daly. “This awards ceremony is an opportunity for us, as a Catholic community, to acknowledge their significant achievements and thank them for their dedication and commitment to our Catholic school system.”
An Awards Mass and Presentation Ceremony will take place on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King, beginning at 7:00 p.m.