Retiring teachers given fond farewell at annual Superannuation Banquet

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The 10 retiring teachers in attendance at the PAATA Superannuation Banquet on June 21 at the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation.

Teachers from Prince Albert and area celebrated their retirement with the annual Superannuation Banquet hosted by the Prince Albert and Area Teachers’ Association (PAATA) at the Wildlife Federation on Wednesday, June 21.

A grand total of 16 retirees were recognized, 10 of which attended in person. Outgoing PAATA President Veronica Stewart, who teaches at Birch Hills and acted as emcee, said the banquet is their way of showing appreciation for those years of service.

“There’s a lot of time and effort and sweat and tears and love that comes into the profession,” Stewart said. “We really like to honour that and then welcome people into retirement as well.”

The evening also included representatives from the Superannuated Teachers of Saskatchewan. Former Saskatchewan Rivers board chair Barry Hollick explained about the benefits of the retired teachers association on a local level and broke down what happens at the annual “To Hell with the Bell” brunch. The provincial representative was Vice President Sue Amundrud who broke down the benefits of the organization and what changes with health plans when retirement happens.

Stewart is the outgoing President after replacing Ted Zurakowski who left for a role in the STF midway through the school year.

“I teach in Birch Hills so I do that in the morning, and then I do the presidential duties in the afternoon,” Stewart explained. “I was the vice president at the time that Ted stepped down, so I was called to take over the position. I wasn’t I wasn’t necessarily expecting it. It was a surprise, but I rose to the occasion and tried to fill in until we could elect someone.”

Stewart took the role temporarily because she still has a young family and it can be difficult to juggle the many hats.

“I learned a lot but it’s some really big shoes to fill,” she said.

The new president of the Association, who begins their term in July, is Jean-Marc Beliveau. He served as a LINC Chair and STF Provincial Councillor before becoming President.

“It was to recognize all the hard work all these teachers have done throughout their careers,” Believeau said. “It’s to celebrate all their achievements and open up a new chapter in their life.”

“I look forward to next year and working with both school divisions,” he added.
Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne brought greetings from the city and Samantha Becotte, President of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF), brought greetings on behalf of the union. The Prince Albert Catholic School Division and Saskatchewan Rivers School Division were represented by their respective board chairs, Suzanne Stubbs and Darlene Rowden.
Stewart also introduced the members of the PAAT executive.

The retirees were given a grand entry led by a Piper before Elder Liz Settee said a blessing before dinner, which was catered by Farm Flavour Catering.

Retirees in attendance who had an opportunity to speak were Michael Dormuth, Pam Grassick, Patricia Hicks, Bev Hunter, Bonny Johnson, Kim Jones, Virginia Kostyniuk, Lana Kyliuk, Carol Ann Short and Linda Tilford.

Teachers retiring were from WP Sandin. St. Catherine, East Central School, Debden and Queen Mary among others.

Recognized but unable to attend were Mark Cantin, Donald Jean, Nancy Keller, Kevin LaVallee, Sharmagne Meckelborg and Tracy Roualt.

The PAAT also recognized honourary members for their contributions to the union at the local or provincial level. Recognized this year were Laurie Regnier and the duo of Laurel Smith and Penny Stupnikoff-Watchel. Recognized but unable to attend was Dave Schneider.

The Superannuation Committee was thanked by many of the retirees. It was led by Chair Kim Connaroe.