OCEA Awards Celebrates Lisa Owens and Pat Piro

OCEA Awards Celebrates Achievements of Lisa Owens and Pat Piro
Posted on 05/02/2024
OCEA Awards

OCEA Awards Celebrates Achievements of Lisa Owens and Pat Piro

At the beginning of April, the Ontario Cooperative Education Association (OCEA) hosted its annual awards dinner, a prestigious event recognizing outstanding contributions in Cooperative Education and Experiential Learning. This year, the spotlight was on two remarkable educators, Lisa Owens and Pasquale "Pat" Piro, whose dedication and innovation have significantly enriched educational programs in Hamilton.

Lisa Owens: A Pioneer in Cooperative Education

Lisa Owens was honored with the Jack Ulan OCEA Award, a distinction given to individuals who have made significant, long-term contributions to Cooperative Education and Experiential Learning. Owens, a trailblazer in the field, has been pivotal in the development and implementation of the Cooperative Education program at St. John Henry Newman Catholic Secondary School. Since 2005, she has been at the forefront of integrating experiential learning into the curriculum, particularly through the GLD course, a program designed for students with special needs or behavioral challenges that combines in-school direction with workplace opportunities.

Her commitment is evident in her active involvement in numerous projects that enhance the co-op experience for students. Owens's work has been instrumental in ensuring that the program not only operates smoothly but does so with the utmost integrity and efficiency, highlighting her invaluable contributions to the educational community.

Pat Piro: An Advocate for Cooperative Education

Pasquale Piro received the OCEA Chair Award, recognizing his role as the chair of the OCEA and his extensive contributions to the field. Since joining the educational sector in 2011, Piro has taught technology courses and cooperative education. He notably managed the Home Building Careers Program with Habitat for Humanity for six years, which has been a cornerstone of practical learning experiences for students.

Later, as the OYAP Coordinator, he continued to influence educational outcomes positively for six years. Currently, he teaches cooperative education at Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School, where he continues to advocate for enhanced cooperative education programming, liaising with significant educational and labor ministries to enrich learning opportunities through conferences and resources.

A Celebration of Dedication and Innovation

The awards dinner was not only a celebration of the individual achievements of Owens and Piro but also a recognition of their collective impact on enhancing educational practices through experiential learning. Their efforts have not only shaped their immediate educational environments but have also set benchmarks for excellence in cooperative education across Ontario.

Congratulations once again to Lisa Owens and Pat Piro, two educators whose passion and dedication have made a lasting difference in the lives of countless students. Their recognition at the OCEA awards dinner is a testament to their hard work and commitment to educational excellence.

Submitted by Brenda Beltrame-Ferritto