This week is Catholic Education Week and the Prince Albert Catholic School Division has chose
Laura and Clint Rissling among three winners of the Catholic Education Service Awards recipients for the 2021-2022 school year. The duo are a husband and wife team who have been very gracious with their efforts to support Catholic Education and their Catholic community.
Clint, who is a teacher at St. John Community School, was surprised to be chosen.
“I never thought anybody saw me in that kind of light I guess, but I appreciate the people that nominated us for the award for sure,” Clint said. “(I’m) very honoured to receive it.”
Laura is a teacher and Learning Leader of the Math Department at École St. Mary High School. She was just as surprised as her husband to be recognized.
“Definitely, it’s been a crazy couple of years, but it’s very nice to get the recognition,” she said. “I definitely didn’t expect it though, and it’s special to get it with Clint. He is always so supportive and patient. It is nice to be grouped in the same group as him.”
Laura said that it was nice to have something to celebrate after the last few years and the challenges of COVID-19.
“I think we graciously accept the award, but know there are so many people in this building and all around Prince Albert that are deserving of the same award,” Laura said. “They are always giving of their time.”
Clint is a key member of the staff as he supports the school’s physical education and extracurricular program. He coaches basketball, track and field, volleyball and badminton. He teaches music and other subject areas as well.
Clint has been a long-standing member of the St John Community School. He is a mentor to students and builds strong connections with families in the school community. Clint is also a member of the Knights of Columbus.
“The reason I do it is just to help other people and share the faith that we do have,” he explained. “I have been blessed to be able to teach in the same school for 21 years with great colleagues and students. My greatest hope is that our students develop a sense of morals and belief in themselves.”
With the Knights of Columbus, Clint coordinates the organization’s Free Throw Championship for the northern region of the province.
“It’s really good. We haven’t had it for the last couple of years because of COVID but for the most part it’s been rewarding,” he said. “The fellowship and the fraternity at the different events that we take in, the curling events and golf evets. Just getting together and sitting down and having those conversations with other people that share the same faith is exciting for sure.”
The Catholic School Division said Laura has excelled in her teaching profession, becoming an exceptional leader who continues to evolve professionally as a role model for others.
Laura has contributed to the life of the school by coaching the Senior B Girls Basketball Team, preparing students to play competitively as well as for the Senior A Basketball Team. She is an integral part of the awards process for Graduation and is a Statistician and Spotter for the Football Game Day Crew. Laura also takes on a supporting role in other extracurricular events in the school.
She serves as a role model herself, but credits her own role models for shaping her.
“My family has always been great at giving and showing that’s important,” she explained. “I grew up in the Prince Albert Catholic system. I was a student here, so the teachers are always giving. Working with the same staff, you get to have great role models.”
Laura has been at Ecole St. Mary High School for all 21 years of her teaching career.
“I actually was lucky, I went to school here and then went and got my degree and came back, my dad was a teacher here so we got to work together for a year and I have been here ever since,” she said.
Clint and Laura are active parishioners in St. Mark’s Parish in Prince Albert. They continue to volunteer their time and talents to the church in many ways. Examples include participation in the Decorating Committee, the 60th Anniversary Committee, hospitality volunteers and fall supper volunteers.
Laura said she has been going to St. Mark’s all of her life and there were many role models there and it has always felt like a place to call home.
“It just ends up feeling like you are more part of a family when you are chipping in,” she said.
Clint said that he was surprised that three people were selected with the combination of Laura and himself as a team.
“She’s very deserving of the award,” he said. “She always puts everybody before herself and she goes above and beyond in everything she does. She’s a part of the decorating committee and she just does so much for the church and just for herself she is always putting everybody first so it’s kind of nice to share that award with her and the other recipient for sure.”
Laura had equal praise for Clint.
“I find him to be a definite sense of calm and just a great example for me,” she said. “He’s so patient and he gives the shirt off his back if anybody asks for it. He’s, I think, more deserving than I am.”
The Prince Albert Catholic School Division established the Catholic Education Service award in 1998 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to Catholic education.
Along with 3,000 students from Prekindergarten to Grade 12 and 350 staff, the Board of Education would like to highlight the efforts of staff who make significant contributions and positively impact students, staff and the Catholic educational community.
As members of the Discipleship Committee, board Trustees Andrea Ring and Maurice Chalifour and the entire Board of Education express their delight and gratitude,
“We are forever grateful for the commitment and dedication that these very special people in our community,” the board said in a press release. “They have served our Catholic educational community well, and our Board of Education is proud to honour these recipients this year. May God bless them all.”
Presentations will occur following Sunday mass on May 29 in the parishes of the honourees.