Excellence in Education Awards 2017

John Clarke

John Clarke has been a teacher at GDCI for 30 years. He started in 1987 as a Computer Science and Business Studies teacher. He has been the Head of Business Studies since early 2000’s.

John is doing an outstanding job as both a teacher and staff advisor with the Student Council / Leadership group at GDCI. He has motivated students to become involved in leadership, including some students who would have been considered “at risk”. He acts as a mentor/advisor, allowing students to make decisions, organize events and be responsible for running activities. John has put a lot of effort and time into increasing student participation and school spirit at GDCI. Activities such as the Warrior Dash and Colour Run, successful dances, spirit events, Valhalla Week etc. have made GDCI a vibrant community.

In addition, teachers and staff members have appreciated John’s skill and experience as a leader in OSSTF. Over the years, he has held a variety of positions in OSSTF, including Federation Officer, CBC rep, District Vice President and President, and Branch President for a total 17 years service to OSSTF. Currently, he continues to help fellow teachers in his role as GDCI Branch President.

John has maintained a healthy business program at GDCI in his role as Head of Business Studies. Many GDCI students have successfully continued their studies in business in post secondary institutions thanks to the strong business program at GDCI.

In addition to all of this, John has spent years coaching at GDCI and in the community. John has coached Sr Boys Soccer / Jr Boys Soccer since 2010 – including defending back to back HP Senior Boys Soccer champions. He has coached community soccer since 2006. In the past he coached Jr Boys and Sr Boys Basketball, boys golf and boys curling. John also spent many years as the Students Council Financial Advisor and Yearbook Staff Advisor.

John is married to Lesley, who works at Goderich Public School. They have 3 boys who have attended GDCI over the years. 2 are currently at Brock University studying Business Studies. The youngest is at GDCI in Grade 12.

Shelly Johnston

Shelly Johnston is an excellent teacher who inspires students to learn and to participate actively in their local community. As a music teacher at GDCI, Shelly leads the Jazz Band, the Small Ensemble and the Junior Band and provides students with opportunities to showcase their skills in at least seventeen performances throughout the year. They perform in school assemblies as well as events such as Commencement and Remembrance Day. They also perform concerts in local elementary schools, community nursing homes, and the town square. Shelly has also composed music for the GDCI program.

In her role as a Careers teacher, Shelly began the “Cyber Senior” project with the Alzheimer’s Society of Huron County, where students teach seniors to use current technology. The students now independently run “Cyber Seniors” at the Harbour Hill Retirement Centre in Goderich.

Shelly demonstrates leadership at GDCI as coordinator of the Remembrance Day Assembly, coordinator of talent for the Christmas Assembly, and coordinator of the GDCI Talent Show.

Shelly is also actively involved in the community. She plays music with a local brass quartet “Suncoast Brass”, a local girl band “Dames Rocket” and the Lighthouse Swing Band. She is also a Conductor of the 2018 Lucknow Public School Reunion Band and is involved in Music Directing at the Livery. Shelly is currently the musical director of “The Penelopiad” which is a reinterpretation of the Odyssey, told from a woman’s perspective. Shelly attended the University of Windsor and spent summers playing in the Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa. This is a job that requires Canadian musicians to win an audition, do Basic Training, and spend the summer playing music on Parliament Hill and for events such as the G8 Summit.

Shelly is married to Drew Macaulay who is a teacher at Brookside PS. They have two children – Molly is 5 and Walter is 2. In her spare time she runs a small business out of her home studio. It is called Cremation Keepsakes, making memorial jewelry out of glass and the cremation ashes of people and pets.

Shelly is a positive role model for students at GDCI because of her enthusiasm and her active involvement at GDCI and in the Goderich community.

Selena Reitsma

Selena Reitsma certainly fits the criteria for an award of excellence. Over her years at GDCI she has made a consistent effort to excel in all areas of high school life. Selena is a hardworking, inquisitive and dedicated student. She embraces new learning opportunities with enthusiasm. Her stellar work habits have lead her to maintain well above average grades in a variety of subject areas. Selena knows what it means to make a commitment to her studies and to stick to it. Selena also shines on the court- be it a volleyball, basketball or badminton court. She has also been a dedicated member of the GDCI soccer team for four years. Selena is a talented singer, performing at GDCI talent shows and coffee houses. She is not afraid to take on a leadership role at her school. For four years she has been a member of the Student Leadership Team, working hard to organize a variety of events at GDCI. Selena also has a strong sense of social justice and a desire to help others. She has been a member of OSAID, the Social Justice Club as well as the new Jack Chapter- a student group focussed on promoting education and understanding of mental health issues among young people.

Outside of school, Selena volunteers at her church, including helping with Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. She works at the YMCA as a preschool and youth instructor. Selena will be attending Redeemer University in the Fall for Social Work.

Lizzy McDonald

Lizzy McDonald is almost too good to be true. She embodies the spirit of the Excellence in Public Education award on all levels. She has worked tirelessly at GDCI to make it a better place for all students. She has been actively involved in organizing the Friendship Games held at GDCI for the past 4 years, and this year she is the head co-ordinator of the event. She has been a member of OSAID since Grade 10, attending conferences, chairing campaigns, and participating in countless awareness events. In Grade 11 Lizzy was chosen to be a part of the Choosin’ Inclusion Team. She is a founding member of the Social Justice Club. She is a talented artist and left her mark on the school when she helped paint the Spirit of Canada mural. Lizzy has been an active member of the Drama Club, where her positions included Assistant Stage Manager, Wardrobe/Makeup, Actor and Lead Role. Lizzy has also been on the GDCI basketball and volleyball teams.

Lizzy is also very active in her community. She has volunteered at the Celtic Festival, for the Lions Club, and the Huron County Health Unit promoting smoke free environments. For two summers she engaged children in learning activities while volunteering for the Summer reading Club. Lizzy has also volunteered with the Lakeshore United Church for the past 6 years.

On top of all of this, Lizzy has maintained a high standard of academics. This September, she will be heading to the University of Ottawa to enrol in a joint honours program for Public Administration and Political Science. She have been accepted with the opportunity to take a co-op and enrol in French Immersion, setting her sights on becoming fully bilingual.