For many years the name Dave Holinaty was almost synonymous with the Horizon School Board, most recently and the Wakaw Division and Unit Board prior to that. The elections held in November 2020 saw the end of an era that spanned 20 years. Dave Holinaty believed that it was crucial that the Board representatives be visible in the communities that they represented and did his best to do just that. If there was a season opener football game in Wakaw, he was there. If there was a fundraiser breakfast in Bruno, he was there. If there was a play or program in Cudworth, he was there. As long as he could make it, the schools knew that Mr. Holinaty would be there. He didn’t just put in an appearance at schools either. Dave regularly attended the School Community Council meetings and events in his district as well. Dave’s dedication to the community of Wakaw, the schools in Sub-Division 1, and indeed to all the children of the division is worthy of recognition.
Dave was born and raised in the Wakaw area. His great-grandparents homesteaded in the Wakaw/Cudworth area and his grandparents continued to live in the area as well. Dave’s father Charles himself a teacher, initially farmed at Wakaw but when a teaching job presented itself at Sunlight School near Bruno, he took it and the family moved away from Wakaw. Charles brought the family back to Wakaw in 1953 when he was hired to teach here. Charles Holinaty retired in the early 1980’s after a 35 year teaching career. Dave took grade one and two at Sunlight and the remainder in Wakaw starting grade three in the two story brick school, to which the current museum was later attached to accommodate the growing number of students. After graduating high school, Dave attended the University of Saskatchewan and obtained his Bachelor of Education. What followed was a 32 year career as a teacher in both the public and separate school systems as well as in First Nations communities, usually teaching K-6 physical education among other things. Dave married Patricia Latos, his high school sweetheart, who had also become a teacher, and they had three children. Continuing the family tradition, one of their daughters is also a teacher.
Once retired, Dave began his tenure as a school board member in 2000, at first elected to the Wakaw School Unit Board. In 2003, he served on the Wakaw School Division Board until the amalgamation of school divisions in 2005. With the formation of the Horizon School Division in 2005, Dave was once again elected to the Division Board and served as the elected representative of Sub-Division 1 until the election in November 2020 when he was defeated by Jenna Hale from Bruno. Besides being instrumental in the move to install AED’s in every school and having staff trained to use them, when asked what he is most grateful to have been able to accomplish as part of the Board he said it was being able to provide a variety of educational opportunities for the students and keeping class sizes small. Children benefit greatly from having smaller class sizes, he said, because there is more chance for individual attention and assistance from the teacher. Children are the future he said in his campaign for the School Board and those are not just words to Dave. During his years as a teacher and as an elected representative on the School Board, Dave never let go of his belief that all children deserve to have their unique qualities recognized and to have their needs met in a safe nurturing environment. His goal was always to “help make learning special, safe and accountable.”
Retirement brought Dave and Pat back to Wakaw, but it didn’t end their teaching experiences. Starting in the summer of 2004 and continuing until the fall of 2006, Dave and Pat taught English for six different sessions of six weeks each in Hong Kong. Then in the summers of 2007 and 2008 they were off again to teach English in Japan. When Dave wasn’t teaching in another country or busy with the school board he has also been heavily involved in the community. Dave served one term on Town Council and sat on the Board of Lakeview Pioneer Lodge as well as delivering Meals on Wheels. He continues to be a member of the Knights of Columbus in Prince Albert, St Theresa’s Parish here in Wakaw, the Wakaw Legion, and Club 99. In his spare time Dave still enjoys golfing and fishing as well as watching the Wakaw Warriors football and volleyball and of course spending time with family. Family is very important to Dave and Pat. Dave’s mother Barbara Holinaty, and Pat’s father Louis Latos, both in their mid-nineties, still live in Wakaw and two of Dave and Pat’s three children live in Saskatoon (the third is in Alberta). One granddaughter is a musician with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and a grandson is a member of the Saskatoon Fireside Singers and Dave makes sure he and Pat take in as many performances as possible. COVID-19 may have brought activities to a screeching halt in 2020 and beyond, but it can’t curtail the appreciation Wakaw and community have for the years of service and dedication Dave has given. Enjoy this new retirement Dave and hopefully 2021 will once again see the Wakaw Warriors taking to the field and the courts and you’ll again be able to enjoy some fine high school sports.
Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder