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Dedicated teacher rewarded

Jessica Gray
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 01/06) - Many drivers and heavy equipment operators in the NWT have one person to thank for teaching them all they needed to know.

Retired teacher Ed Jeske, who devoted 31 years to students here in Yellowknife, was recognized for his stalwart career at the Baker Community Centre Oct. 27.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Retired teacher Ed Jeske was honoured for his 31 years in the education field Oct. 27. - Jessica Gray/NNSL photo

With MLA Robert Hawkins - one of the many students Jeske taught to drive -- in the audience, the former teacher was modest as he accepted a certificate for his efforts. "I don't know that I deserve all of this, thank you," he said.

Jeske began teaching at Akaitcho Hall, now known as Sir John Franklin high school, in 1958. He taught drivers education and heavy equipment operation until he retired in 1989. The certificate was presented by Amanda Mallon, the NWT Teachers' Association (NWTTA). The 79-year-old retiree also has a NWTTA bursary named after him.

The $500 bursary is used to pay for professional development for aboriginal teachers. The deadline for the bursary is March 2007. In front of a full crowd of seniors visiting the Baker Community Centre for lunch, Mallon said Jeske was known for having a classroom "free of racism and prejudice."

Mallon said this is the kick off for the 10th anniversary of the Teachers Make a Difference campaign. The NWTTA is asking people in the NWT to remember teachers who have made a difference in their lives.

The campaign is set to run in January and February of next year. "I feel awesome, this is what I want to see," Vivian Squires, the executive director of the Yellowknife Seniors Society, said of the initiative.

It's important to recognize seniors in the community because of their many achievements, Squires said.