The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Sisler High School
Friday, May 10, 2019 – 10:30 a.m.
Students and educators, Spartans forever – thank you for extending an invitation to a Gordon Bell Panther to help you celebrate a great school and the great teacher whose name it carries.
We are gathered on Treaty One land, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Metis people.
A long time ago, if I took a trip to Sisler High School it would have been with my Gordon Bell team uniform on and I’d be taking part in a crosstown sports rivalry.
As the biggest high school in Manitoba, Sisler always had a strong team and we always knew those trips would be a challenge.
Today, in order to set aside that old rivalry, I’ve brought a Sisler Spartan with me — my husband, Gary Filmon, who will share some of his thoughts later on his Sisler experience.
If people our age can still get a little misty-eyed thinking of our high school days, it’s because these are such important, formative years.
The educators who help young people learn and grow during these years can have such a lasting impact on their students.
Today we’re celebrating a great teacher who was renowned for his commitment to his students going back to the earliest years of the 20th century.
W. J. Sisler was not only a teacher, a coach and a principal. He also developed methods for teaching in classrooms where very often the majority of students were learning English as a second language.
He recognized that all his students had thirst for knowledge. He recognized that education was the great creator of opportunity for his students.
Surely, this high school, renowned across Canada for its educational excellence and commitment to diversity, couldn’t have a better name.
Today as we celebrate W. J. Sisler’s 150th birthday, we should also give a cheer for the spirit of teaching excellence he represents.
That spirit lives on in Sisler in teachers like your own Orysya Petryshyn, who not only organized this event, but provides leadership for commemorations of the Holocaust and Holodomor and student involvement in WE Day. Congratulations Orysya on receiving the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
Of course it lives in your principal George Heshka, who has led Sisler for nearly four decades as this school has set standards of excellence and innovation in education for all its students.
I’m confident that spirit of love of learning and public service lives on in you – the future alumni of a great school.
I urge you to let the example of W. J. Sisler and your great teachers inspire you in the years to come. Whatever your skills and interests and career goals may be, the world always needs people with a passion to learn, grow and inspire others.
Thank you to all who carry on the Sisler tradition. Merci. Meegwich.