Local high school teacher recognized for outstanding service to students

By Kirk Winter

Pam Koekebakker, centre, with some of her Weldon students.

Every May, the Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) recognizes teaching excellence at a gala in Bracebridge. COVID-19 may have disrupted this year’s ceremonies, but a teacher from I.E. Weldon Secondary School in Lindsay will still be recognized.

Pam Koekebakker has won the TLDSB Impact Award – Teaching. She came to the Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) 18 years ago after teaching for the Toronto District School Board for 12 years. While at Victoria Park Secondary School she immersed herself into the vast multi-cultural setting that was Vic Park.

Koekebakker shared that students at her old school spoke 64 different languages at home. She enjoyed teaching there and mentoring youth through Youth Promoting Environmental Protection, the African and Caribbean Youth Network, the girls soccer team, the school yearbook and the International Baccalaureate biology program.

Since arriving in TLDSB, Koekebakker has taught at I.E. Weldon, L.C.V.I. and BMLSS in Bracebridge. Her last 14 years have been spent at Weldon where she teaches science, IB biology, photography and yearbook.

“I didn’t expect to let any other school than Vic Park into my heart,” says Koekebakker, “but Weldon has found a home there too.”

“From the creation of awesome and fun yearbooks to drumming with our Drummers in Action and learning lots through Reconciliation in Action – from seeing our Digestive System play on the stage at Antics to connecting with students as they take on the challenge of IB – from helping kids look at the world with the help of their cameras and keeping in touch with them and getting to photograph some of their weddings — I really do love what being a teacher has given me over the past 30 years.”

She adds, “Connecting with students means a lot to me. Teaching high school means I get to connect with young people who are learning to think and love and become adults in a complex world.”

Koekebakker was thrilled to hear as part of the award submission package her nominator had gathered numerous letters of reference from former students.

“It was beautiful to hear from them and know that I was able to play a part in who they are as they walk in the world.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.