|THORA TROCARD NAMED VOLUNTEER OF DISTINCTION|
MONTREAL, MARCH 13, 2006 — Thora Trocard, who has been a fixture at Coronation Elementary School in Côte des Neiges for the past 22 years, is this year’s English Montreal School Board (EMSB) Volunteer of Distinction. She will be formally recognized at the fifth annual Volunteer Appreciation Night, which will take place on Wednesday, April 19 at the Renaissance Convention Centre, located at 7550 Henri Bourassa Blvd. East in Anjou.
“This is such a joyful occasion. It’s quite an honour to be named Volunteer of Distinction and I really appreciate it,” said Ms. Trocard. “My three children have attended Coronation and I have always devoted myself to the school; it is my life. I look forward to going there every day. And when the students and staff tell me ‘thank you’ for what I have done for them, it makes my day.”
Coronation Principal Diane Wood is full of praise for Thora. “She is considered the ‘mom’ of the school,” she said. “She is compassionate and treats all the students as though they were her very own children. Thora is always there to help a child who is having difficulty with peers, and encourages them to be good for their teachers and lunch monitors. She helps students find lost clothing and keeps all the lost things organized. If students are hungry, they go to her for extra snacks or lunch.”
Ms. Trocard is also known throughout the school as its “chef.” Whenever there are any special events, she cooks up a storm, and has done so for the “New Parent Orientation Day” luncheons, the Grade 6 graduation dinner for the students, and the reception for all the parents of the graduating classes, which is usually held at the Cote des Neiges Sports Complex. She oversees the decorating of the gym and the parent volunteers who help her in the kitchen. She finds volunteers to serve the food and then clean up afterwards.
She arrives at the school early each morning and organizes the snack and milk program with the senior students. She waits for the containers to be returned, washes them and makes them ready for the next day.
Thora Trocard not only teaches the students how to cook, she also teaches them about the strength of the human spirit, generosity of heart and above all, the comfort in knowing that she is always there to offer a warm hug and an encouraging word. She shows initiative and often suggests ways to make the school a better place. She has trained and supervises a large number of students who help out each day in the cafeteria. They clean trays, sweep floors and wash the tables for the cleaning staff.
Perhaps the greatest example of Ms. Trocard’s generosity is her willingness to leave her family for a week and join the 24 students and three teachers for the school’s annual Leadership Retreat. Among her many duties there, she wakes up early every morning and prepares a hearty, homemade breakfast for everyone. She also prepares the snacks, lunches and suppers for the whole week. Many parents never hesitate to send their children away for the week when they learn that Ms. Trocard will be there to take care of them.
She has been a stalwart over the years in attending all the School Committee, Orientation Committee and P.P.O. meetings. She is particularly helpful guiding new parents and students to their classes on the first day of school. She could often be seen cleaning lockers and other areas in her free time.
There was also the time when Ms. Wood once asked for volunteers to help out during one weekend to clean the grounds of the school, which is located on a busy urban street near a bus stop and garbage is often thrown on the school property. Mrs. Trocard’s pride in her school was so evident for this task, as she recruited family, friends and other parents and students to help with this massive clean-up of the school grounds.
Prior to the opening of a cafeteria in the school, Mrs. Trocard volunteered her time to purchase food and make sandwiches for the students. As well, before the MEQ daycare was set up, she volunteered daily in the after school program.
“She is a caring, loving, honest, understanding and sympathetic person loved by all in our school community,” said Ms. Wood. “Her actions model the board’s slogan that ‘together we are better’.”
Michael J. Cohen