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GDCI students and staff win Excellence in Education awards

Updated: May 31

The Excellence in Public Education Awards recognize the efforts of people who make the schools better places to learn and work.

Whether it is the student who has enriched the atmosphere of the school, the teacher or support staff member who has encouraged excellence through their contributions to the school, or the community member, the goal is to recognize their contributions.

Three students and one staff member from GDCI were recognized at the award ceremony: Siobhan Kleuskens, Gryffin Langis, Kyuss Lawrence, and Tamara Crocker.

Siobhan Kleuskens:

Siobhan Kleuskens is an outstanding leader at GDCI.

Through her academics, Kleuskens has proven herself to be highly responsible, self-motivated, and mature.

On the honour roll each year, she shows great interest in learning.

Kleuskens is an active member of the GDCI community. She participates in several extracurricular sports teams including cross-country, basketball, swimming, and track and field. She has won several MVP awards and multiple Athlete of the Year awards.

Additionally, Kleuskens has won several firsts at WOSSA track and field, and two firsts at WOSSA swimming. Representing the school at OFSAA in both sports, she has a Canadian Ranking in Triple Jump and a Top 6 finish in the 50-metre freestyle swimming race.

Kleuskens track and field accomplishments earned her a special recognition award from the Town of Goderich Council.

As a member of the student leadership team, Kleuskens has volunteered for school events, including the bottle drive, Christmas craft shows, the Friendship Games, food drives, Grade 9 orientation days, plus many others.

Within the community, she was a personal assistant for the Goderich Skating Club, and has participated in many community events and parades as a competitive dancer.

She regularly helps the younger dancers at recitals and parades.

Gryffin Langis:

Gryffin Langis has maintained an incredible academic record, and he has also actively engaged in creating a supportive academic environment within GDCI.

His presence on the honour roll each year and his proactive involvement supporting struggling students in the Learning Commons highlight his commitment to academic excellence both for himself and others.

Langis’ key role in planning GDCI’s Welcome to Grade 8 night exemplifies his dedication to encouraging students to actively participate in their education.

His leadership skills have been prominently displayed in his involvement in events such as the Science Olympics, Envirothon, and GDCI Orientation days.

Langis collaborates well with others, uses his strong problem-solving skills, and applies his learning to yield positive outcomes for many.

As the only student leading a team in lifeguarding at the YMCA and teaching the bronze medallion course, Langis serves as a mentor to young, aspiring lifeguards.

Further, this showcases his proficiency in aquatic skills as well as his dedication to teaching, learning, and valuing the safety and well-being of the community.

Langis’ active involvement in coaching soccer, basketball, and floor hockey teams further emphasizes his commitment to community service, and contributing positively to the development of young athletes.

He has been consistently awarded Athlete of the Year, receiving individual awards for community involvement in grades 10 and 11, and has earned well over 80 community service hours in Goderich.

One of Langis’ outstanding achievements is his involvement with the school mental health team, where he focuses on creating opportunities for student well-being.

His collaboration with another student leader to secure a $1,200 grant for mental health and awareness initiatives demonstrates not only his leadership skills, but also a deep sense of social responsibility.

Kyuss Lawrence:

Kyuss Lawrence is an excellent example of what excellence in education means.

He excels academically, takes risks, participates in many different extracurricular activities, and takes a leadership role at GDCI.

Lawrence is a reliable, conscientious, personable, and intelligent addition to every activity.

On the Science Olympics team, he quietly leads by example and inspires others to do their best.

During the GDCI Food Drive, he was entrusted with younger students who needed leadership and support, and during Grade 6 day activities, he used his science skills to inspire future students.

Lawrence also helped with the GDCI Vikings Valhalla Day, encouraging younger students.

He was instrumental in the success of GDCI’s Envirothon team last year. He motivated others, excelled at his designated topic, and was an important part of the team’s presentation – all of which earned the team a spot at the provincial level.

Lawrence also attended an ecological research trip to Peru with other GDCI students over March Break, participating in bird, mammal, fish, and vegetation surveys to add to the data that supports conservation efforts there.

Finally, Lawrence is a GDCI mental health liaison. He volunteers during his space time to support students, runs tutoring and study groups, volunteers at Kintail on the road, and has a part time job.

He researched the Materials Olympics at McMaster University, registered GDCI for the event, and then led his team to victory, earning $1,000 for GDCI in the process.

The staff at GDCI is inspired by this young man who is appreciated by all for his guidance, kindness, sense of humour, and intelligence.

Tamara Crocker:

Tamara Crocker is an invaluable staff member at GDCI and has been an Educational Assistant (EA) with Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB) since 2003.

She is utterly devoted to the high needs students she serves and has worked diligently to educate herself and her fellow staff members about how to best meet the needs of exceptional students.

Crocker’s care, compassion, and commitment inspire others and help create a positive environment for all at GDCI.

In addition, Crocker has been very engaged both at GDCI and in the community. She volunteers her time working with the Drama Club and runs the weekly meetings of the GDCI Hats and Mats group. In that group the students make knitwear and woven milk bag mats for distribution by the Goderich Community group.

Crocker also coordinates volunteers to come into the school from the community to work with the students.

She is involved with other aspects of the Community Hats and mats group, including assisting with media awareness, and the group’s connections with various service agencies and schools in the area.

In addition, the group makes washable feminine hygiene kits for girls, which are shipped to different countries via Dr. Simone, Canadian Food for Children.

Crocker’s concern for others is why she is a wonderful asset to the GDCI community.


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