Each year, the Horizon School Division honours is leaders in classroom education with Excellence in Teaching Awards. Nominees for the awards are submitted by their peers for a combination of sometimes intangible traits that make them exceptional educators.  

Two of this year’s award recipients, Doug Thomas of Winston High School in Watrous and Cindy Plascko from St. Brieux create an impact on student learning and lives every day they are in their classrooms.  

Doug Thomas grew up in Kamsack and later moved to Saskatoon to pursue his Education degree at the U of S. He started his career in Biggar before moving to Watrous and accepting a math and science teaching position. His Masters from the University of Prince Edward Island was wrapped up in 2020. Doug has been a fearless adopter of technology in the classroom and has led some of his colleagues to follow suit. Thomas is active in his church, in the community, a has certainly earned the respect of his colleagues and the students in his charge.  

In receiving his award, he addressed his colleagues with his trademark humility and humour, musing about family travels to Winnipeg and a cash transaction best summed up with the axiom, “change is hard.” 

“I think that one of the outspoken outcomes of this celebration day, and all of them, is not so much to remember the celebration of individuals, but rather remembering individual stories that remind us of why we took these jobs in the first place.” 

The final award recipient, Cindy Plascko, has taught in the community she grew up in, St. Brieux, for the past 9 years. She has been tirelessly committed to her community through service as its mayor, and she’s been a staunch supporter of the hospice care unit and RUH and the Children’s Hospital in honour of her late daughter, Rayna.  

Plascko reflected on her earliest teaching experience in a northern Alberta First Nation community which laid the groundwork for her development as an open-minded, empathetic and adaptable educator. Plascko commented on the challenges that are inherent in life and offered her own thoughts on purpose and inspiration following a period away from the classroom.  

“I’ve learned that my life does have purpose, and it’s my belief that service to others, whether through volunteerism or my profession, is a leading theme in my own growth. I also learned that life can take all sorts of zigs and zags, but if you are trusting, it just might bring you back to where you were meant to be.” 

Congratulations to all the honourees at this year’s Celebration Day, and here’s to a successful year of growth and learning for all the school staff, administrators and learners in Saskatchewan schools.  

Stay with Discover Humboldt for a look at this year’s Wall of Fame inductee, Logan Banadyga of Wadena.  

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