By Lucie Roy
Morinville– Assemblies were held at Notre Dame and Georges P. Vanier Elementary Wednesday afternoon to give an opportunity for the staff and students to say goodbye. But the songs, cheers, words, tears and hugs weren’t because the students were leaving for an extended weekend off school.
The two respective school principals packed up their personal belongings, cleaned their offices and will start at their new location effective Feb.13.
Notre Dame Principal Greg Lamer will take over the helm at Vincent J. Maloney (VJM) School in St. Albert, and Vanier principal Marlene Pelletier will assume Lamer’s former role as principal of Notre Dame.
David Keohane, Superintendent of Schools for Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division No. 29 said they had a newly created position at divisional office for a Division Principal: Learning Services. The successful applicant, Lydia Yeomans, was the principal of Vincent J. Maloney in St. Albert. The vacancy created at Maloney resulted in Greg Lamer being the successful applicant for that posting. Keohane said Pelletier’s position at Vanier would be filled by Susan Coates, vice-principal at Legal School. “The vacancy at Legal School will be filled by a new vice-principal coming into our admin team from Vincent J. Mahoney, named Mr. Damon Clayton,” Keohane said. “Mr. Clayton has been at Maloney and this will be his first vice-principal posting.”
Wednesday saw some emotional moments at the two schools as the staff, students and parents said goodbye to some well-known educators.
Jennifer McRae-Roddis, one of the parents who helped organize the farewell for Pelletier, said the principal had been at Vanier for nine-and-a-half years. McRae-Rodd’s daughter Dana Roddis presented flowers to Pelletier. Also making presentations at the Vanier farewell were Cary Wiwchar and Kari Christensen. Parent and former Vanier student Lindsay Richardson was the MC for the event and said Pelletier knows the names of every student at her school. As the students and staff lined up to exit the gym, Pelletier acknowledged each student by name and gave them a hug. After the hugs and tears Pelletier said it was an opportunity she wants to take and that she is glad to be staying in Morinville.
At the Notre Dame farewell, Principal Lamer said it was his choice to make the move. When the position became available he was ready for a new challenge overseeing a different grade level, and a way for him to grow and learn as an educator.
Prior to being principal of Notre Dame, Lamer was principal of Vanier. Prior to that experience he had served as vice-principal at Notre Dame. He credits parents for the positive experience he has had teaching in Morinville for so many years. “[I’m}Very fortunate to have such supportive parents,” Lamer said, adding although he is moving to another school in the division, he is still a Morinvillite.
At Lamer’s fairwell assembly a special chair decked out with balloons was ready for Lamer, and a small empty suitcase rested on a table in front of it. Students came to the front and read well wishes and placed items in the suitcase related to their feelings for their principal: a doorstop to let him know the door is open to him, a baseball because they know he loves sports, stylish pens for signing important principal papers, and cookies in a jar in case he needs comfort food.
Vice-Principal Angela Gauthier said Lamer made a huge difference to the school and its staff and that the gifts from the students are to help him remember them. As a fun parting gift, the staff presented him with a t-shirt that had Notre Dame School on one side and his new school on the other.