Above right: MCHS Teacher Sandee Blackburn retired Friday after 35 years of teaching, six of those at Morinville Community High School. – Lucie Roy Photo
by Lucie Roy
Morinville Community High School Teacher Sandee Blackburn completed her 35 years last week.
Blackburn graduated from the University of Alberta 35 years ago and taught in this area. She started teaching in St. Albert and has been in Morinville for most of her 35 years.
She taught about every grade level, and a majority of her teaching took place in Junior High. She taught Junior High at GHP for 20 years, and Grade 5 at Vanier before that.
When she started her career, she was a floater, so she taught Grade 1 to 6 and different subjects in each of the various grades.
Then she came to MCHS and has been here to finish off her career.
“This is my 6th year here,” she said. “It is a nice round 35 years. It has been a fantastic career. I Love it. I am going to miss the kids, miss the colleagues. I met so many incredible people, worked with a lot of really talented people, and many have become really good friends of mine. All are pretty awesome people that I worked with.”
For her plans for future endeavours, Blackburn said both she and her husband Dan, who worked for the Edmonton Fire Department, retired this month.
Their goal in the spring is to head across Canada and take their time travelling. Their hope was to always go to all the provinces and explore all of them. She looks forward to doing that.
In an interview with Morinville News on Friday, Feb. 28, her last day at school, Blackburn said she would soon go on her first winter holiday in 35 years, a great way to kick off her retirement, she said.
“I don’t plan on being away completely from teaching. I don’t think I could ever be completely out of the building, but I am hoping to do some subbing and still kind of keep in touch with some of the kids and colleagues and be able to spend some time with them,” Blackburn said. So that will be really good, and the nice thing is that I will have the flexibility to do it when I want. So if Dan and I want to go to the coast to see our grandsons, we can do that. It will just be not so scheduled. We will be able to be more carefree, which is what I am looking forward to.
In a speech she prepared at a retirement function Susanne Christensen MCHS Learning Support Facilitator said, “Over the last six years, Sandee has been invaluable in Student Services. She has worked incredibly hard to help program for hundreds of students that required that required various learning supports. She has been an integral part of helping countless students’ graduate high school. I think fondly of Sandee as a “momma bear.” She cares about each and every student, and sometimes it means getting mad at them when they are not achieving their potential.”
Christensen went on to say that Blackburn is an event planner extraordinaire.
“She is unbelievably creative and full of amazing ideas,” Christensen said. “There was never a time that Sandee wasn’t the first to jump up and volunteer to help out no matter what it was. Sandee was involved in pretty much every aspect of the school from pep rallies, to HOWLS lunches, to celebrations, to grad to student singing performances, to Coffee House, to staff parties and Christmas parties. Everything we planned had the Sandee flair of decorating. ”
Blackburn is one of several significant changes in the Faculty at Morinville Community High School (MCHS).
There are four long-term staff that will no longer be with the school, including three teaching faculty members and one support staff.
Teacher Lisa Appell who started with Greater St Albert Catholic Schools in Sept 1988 and worked at MCHS and Georges H. Primeau (GHP) Middle School, retired at the end of January.
Appell is known for her work and dedication with her webpage and teaching of Career & Technology Studies (CTS) Food Studies, CTS Fashion Studies and Home Economics 9.
Secretary Lorna Chytyk, who received a 30-year Long Service Award from Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools in October 2019, started in August 1989 and worked at GHP and MCHS. She retired at the end of January.
Teacher Terry Maslyk, who started in August 1993 and has worked at GHP and MCHS, is to retire in June after this school year.