When the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medals were presented at the Ches Leach Lounge in the Art Hauser Centre on Friday morning the Prince Albert Catholic School Division had two honourees with École St. Mary High School Principal Mark Phaneuf and board of education chair Suzanne Stubbs both receiving honours.
At the Ceremony on Friday, Tim McLeod of the Government of Saskatchewan presented the Medals to Stubbs and Phaneuf for their services in education. Phaneuf was astounded to be recognized in such a way.
“I wasn't told by anybody that I had been nominated and then all of a sudden I got a call from the MLAs office saying I had been nominated so that was a really pleasant surprise,” Phaneuf said.
The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal (Provincial) commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Accession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second to the Throne as Queen of Canada. The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal (Saskatchewan) recipients are to be of all ages and from all walks of life who have contributed to their community and society.
Phaneuf has been Principal of École Mary High School since 2004. Over the last 11 years, the school’s grad rates have outperformed the provincial averages in almost every category. He said one of the biggest reasons he got into education was to work with people, and being a principal at St. Mary has given him plenty of opportunities.
“Whether it was the classroom teaching or the administration or even the coaching that I do with the students and the other staff members here, it's all about the relationships that you have the opportunity to develop with people,” he explained. “Luckily in a place like Prince Albert the relationships end up being longer term because of that.”
Phaneuf began his career in the division as an Educational Assistant in 1985 and has worked in many roles as a teacher, vice-principal and principal of St. Francis School and École St Mary High School. Phaneuf is a proud member of Sacred Heart Parish and a Knight of the Knights of Columbus. Mark has coached many sports teams and continues to coach even while serving as principal.
“I kind of ran the gamut,” he said. “I was really blessed to enjoy each of the positions that I was in, Principal is the longest. I have been a principal, I think it's my 26th year now as a Principal and 19th at St. Mary, so this is where I have spent the majority of my career, but really it is just so humbling and really gratifying to be recognized for service to something that you just love to do every day.
“The one thing about being in education it's beyond the borders of the school day. It's in the evenings, the weekends, even some of the school breaks. It's the time you spend with people and the connections that you make,” he added.
Stubbs, a graduate of St. Mary High School herself became involved in her children's Catholic school of Ecole Holy Cross.
She was an active parent in the school community, serving on many committees, and many fellow parents encouraged her to pursue trusteeship with the Catholic School Board. She was elected in a by-election 2008, and has served ever since. Her time on the board includes four years as vice-chair. She was recently named board chair.
"I am honoured to have been nominated for this prestigious award,” Stubbs said in a press release. “There are many deserving recipients, and I am privileged to be recognized among them.”
Stubbs is active in her parish of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Prince Albert where she is heavily involved in the music ministry, leading prayer through song.
She has also served as the Chair of the Community Mobilization/HUB Prince Albert, and works tirelessly to advocate and support students by working to provide quality Catholic Education.
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald