Honouring Our Volunteers
Each spring, as part of National Volunteer Recognition Week, the EMSB holds a Volunteer Appreciation Evening. We feel very fortunate to have a devoted corps of parent volunteers working in our schools. La Capitale Financial Services is our title sponsor for this years’ event, which took place on April 18, 2012 at Plaza Antique on Sherbrooke E. in Montreal. Here is the program book.
List of Volunteers
1 to 4 years of service
5 to 9 years of service
10 to 14 years of service
15 to 19 years of service
20 years and over
EMSB honours its Volunteers
By Stuart Nulman
Nearly 500 school volunteers and administrators, as well as senior management and commissioners, attended the 11th annual English Montreal School Board (EMSB) Volunteer Appreciation Evening last spring at the Plaza Antique in the East End. The event was held during National Volunteer Week under the theme “Singing Your Praises.”
Time and space did not allow the EMSB to honour all of its nearly 2,000 volunteers in person. Therefore, with those individuals who have volunteered for more than five years were in attendance. Volunteers with 15 or more years of service received a set of four special edition EMSB Volunteer Appreciation Evening stemless wine glasses as a special thank you gift. Several thousand copies of a commemorative program book were distributed to each school. La Capitale Financial Services was once again the title sponsor for this event.
The emcees for the evening were Global News anchor Jamie Orchard and popular Montreal comedian Franco Taddeo. Mr. Taddeo, who is himself a former EMSB parent volunteer and a graduate of John F. Kennedy High School, entertained the guests with a brief stand-up comedy set, in which he spoke about a variety of topics from being a father to cappuccino flavoured chewing gum.
“Tonight, we recognize you, the volunteers, whom with a song in your heart and a great deal of dedication and commitment in mind, you have made our schools and centres something to sing about,” said EMSB Director General Robert A. Stocker. “And how was that accomplished? Simply by helping them to become thriving, nurturing communities within themselves throughout the year … the contributions and tireless energy you give towards the success of your respective schools are music to our ears and for that, we will continue to sing your praises.”
This year’s Volunteer of Distinction was Mario Bentrovato, who began his involvement as an EMSB parent volunteer 12 years ago, when he was asked to serve on the governing board of Edward Murphy Elementary School in Hochelaga-Maisonneiuve, where his oldest daughter Melissa was starting kindergarten at that time.
“I had no idea what a governing board meant or what it consisted of. I thought I was going to help out making cupcakes for bake sales and carnivals,” he told the audience after he accepted the award .
The son of Italian immigrants and a graduate of John F. Kennedy High School, Mr. Bentrovato continues to devote his time as a parent volunteer at Edward Murphy (where his youngest daughter Milena recently graduated from Grade 6). As well, he volunteers at two St. Leonard-based EMSB schools: John Paul I High School (where his middle daughter Jessica is a student) and Laurier Macdonald High School (where Melissa currently attends). He has served on the governing boards of all three schools, as well as on Edward Murphy’s Parent Participation Organization (PPO). He has also chaired or participated in many of the schools’ activities, whether they be BBQs, Earth Day celebrations, winter carnivals, dances, lectures, fundraisers and after school programs.
And his commitment as an EMSB parent volunteer is not restricted to just those three schools. Thanks to his network of contacts that he has established over the years, Mr. Bentrovato has been in constant demand to help organize and establish events for many of the EMSB’s other schools, and he keeps on receiving phone calls from parents of those schools, requesting his knowledge and expertise, or to lend a helping hand. He has brought athletes from the Canadiens, Alouettes and Impact to make personal appearances; has donated plenty of door prizes for school fundraisers; and was instrumental in establishing the “All the Way with the Impact” school visits program, board-wide Heart Month activities, and the Montreal Impact/EMSB Scholarship Program.
He told the guests during his acceptance speech that he attributed his success as a parent volunteer to his wife Pina, who has been by his side since the beginning and currently serves as chairperson of the PPO at Edward Murphy.
“Volunteering is a big part of my life and my family’s life. At the end of the day, when a child goes home from school with a smile on their face and they’re happy because they met their favorite athlete or had a great time at an event I helped to plan, that’s my compensation, my reward,” he said. “If I helped to change the life of one child, then I know I succeeded.”
The 2012 EMSB Volunteer Appreciation Evening was proud to have the following companies as its major sponsors: title sponsor La Capital Financial Services (www.lacapitale.com) , which offers a wide range of products and services -- such as savings, investments and funds, individual life and health insurance, and group insurance -- that are designed to simplify financial choices for members working in the public and parapublic sectors in over 900 public and parapublic institutions across the province; Steve’s Music Store (www.stevesmusic.com), which has evolved into a world renowned music store and a major force in the Canadian music industry since 1965. Steve's caters to all kinds of musical needs: acoustic, electric and bass guitarists, drummers and percussionists, keyboard players, pianists, brass and wind players, composers, public address systems, rentals and sheet music; Loft Uniforms (www.loftuniforms.com), which sells a large selection of school uniforms for public and private schools, at both elementary and secondary levels. They outfit students in complete uniform or dress code in schools throughout QuebecandOntario; Cameleo Photo (www.cameleophoto.com), a photo studio that has revolutionized school photography by using the most environmentally safe process in portrait photography, as well as offering its clients an unlimited selection of customized computerized backgrounds, and guarantees deliver in less than 10 business days; and first-time sponsor Medexel (www.medexel.com), a Montreal-based health industry firm that specializes in creating and selling personalized first aid kits, and whose clientele include most pharmaceutical banners such as Walmart, Jean Coutu, Pharmaprix and Zellers, as well as medical, dental, healthcare and educational facilities (such as schools and universities). Medexel’s first-aid packaging firm is the official Canadian Red Cross supplier. Medexel also offers its line of personalized first aid kits as a fundraising initiative to schools across the island of Montreal.
All five sponsors set up their own booths in an area of the banquet hall, and every guest got the opportunity to visit each booth and find out about their respective services and/or products.
The evening concluded with a series of door prize drawings, which included a large selection of gift cards, gift certificates, books, gift baskets, jewelry, a woman’s leather jacket, as well as a Kobo e-reader courtesy of Transco School Bus, two cheese plate gift sets courtesy of La Capitale and an African style drum that was donated by Steve’s Music Store.