Planting The Seeds for 25 More Years of Excellence in Education
by Darren Becker
A festive atmosphere was on full display this past Tuesday as the Lester B. Pearson School Board unveiled a commemorative banner at the main entrance of Head Office to mark its 25-year anniversary. In addition, a tree planting ceremony was held at the same location. The two events are part of the school board’s planned activities to mark this historic milestone during the 2023-2024 academic year. The Lester B. Pearson School Board opened its doors on July 1st 1998 following the merger of six existing school boards.
“The commemorative banner will allow us to highlight this historic milestone throughout the year. As well, the tree planting is special as it can be seen as a symbol of our collective history and growth with roots that ground us today and for future members of the Lester B. Pearson School Board community,” said LBPSB Director General Cindy Finn.
Carol Heffernan, Assistant Director General of the LBPSB, said “Planting a tree today is an action that is sustainable and commemorative and which future LBPSB staff, family and students will admire for decades.”
The banner will remain prominently on display until next July while the new tree will replace the one that was planted next to the commemorative bench just outside of the 1925 Brookdale entrance. It suffered irreparable damage during last April’s ice storm.
“This environmentally conscious action not only symbolizes the board’s commitment to environmental sustainability and a lasting tribute to the board’s educational excellence, but it also helps to create a brighter and greener future for the community that the board serves. It is important to note that this act also symbolizes the school board’s confidence in its students, and the future they will bring,” said LBPSB Student Commissioner Lujain Hamdaqa.
Kaiya Leah Schade, co-chair of the LBPSB Central Students Committee and Student Commissioner said “This ceremony is an acknowledgment of the 25 years that the staff members, the committees, and the students have dedicated to prioritizing education, student welfare, and developing progressive changes in our community for the benefit of all. I am proud to be part of the LBPSB for its integrity and commitment to student voice and advocacy. Moreover, the tree-planting ceremony is one of rebirth and new beginnings, which aligns with the idea that, as community members, we consistently must pursue amelioration towards a more inclusive, understanding, and equitable world.”
About 120 people attended the ceremony, including staff, students, several council commissioners, as well as former school board director generals and commissioners. Honorary co-chairs of the year-long celebrations and LBPSB alumni, Bradley Heaven and Felicia Parrillo of Global News were present at the event.
The event ended on a sweet note as everyone in attendance received a specially designed commemorative cupcake that was prepared by students at the LBPSB’s Pearson School of Culinary Arts.
“It was nice to be able to share in the school board’s 25th anniversary celebrations by preparing the cupcakes and this was also a great learning experience for our students,” said Vi Minh Tran , teacher at the PSCA.