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UVic salutes outstanding education grads

UVic’s faculty of education on Oct. 22 bestowed its annual Distinguished Alumni Awards on three outstanding educators: Frank Conibear (BEd’88, MA’01), Joseph Lott (VC’42, MA’73), and Judi Warrington (BEd’82, MEd ’88).

As a teacher and counsellor in the public schools, Frank Conibear (or Tul qwe muwlt and Chigajaymixw) has taught both native and non-native students to respect First Nations cultures. He helped develop a First Nations leadership course that evolved into a career preparation program for native youth, and has confronted issues of racism in popular drama workshops involving both native and non-native students.

Conibear has served for six years as elected band counsellor for the Lyackson First Nation Band. Frank has been a board member and vice-president of Esquimault Neighborhood House, and an active member of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, providing leadership to its First Nations Provincial Specialist Association and First Nations Task Force.

For the defence of his thesis, “Speaking and Living What it Means to be a First Nations Educator in the Public School System,” he invited members of the university and his own community to a gathering at the Lekwammen Big House. The event artfully wrapped university protocol within a traditional Big House ceremony.

Joseph Lott served the Saanich School District for 33 years as a teacher and administrator. As principal of Claremont Secondary and later Parkland Secondary, he was responsible for the planning, development, and opening of these schools. He was a Saanich school trustee from 1981–90, eventually serving as chairman of the board.

Lott was a prime mover, in collaboration with UVic, in the development of the internationally acclaimed secondary internship program.

Lott was recently named Volunteer of the Year by the Saanich Peninsula Community Association. His committee work with the Peninsula Credit Unions helped establish generous student scholarships.

The standing ovation Lott received from 1,000 former students and staff at the Parkland School 25-year reunion spoke movingly of the esteem in which he’s held.

Judi Warrington has taught students in almost every type of school and setting imaginable, from Richmond Elementary and Esquimalt Secondary to Wilkinson Road Jail, the West Indies and the Amazon jungle. From 1986 to 1991 she was a district itinerant teacher for the Greater Victoria School District where she was responsible for program coordination, assessment and service delivery for gifted and talented students.

Warrington has served on provincial committees for gifted education, secondary accreditation, and evaluation of learning resources. She has developed courses and programs in social studies, English, philosophy, and integrated studies. She has presented numerous workshops to teachers, parents and administrators in Canada and abroad. She has edited anthologies of children’s art and literature and produced videos with the Knowledge Network.

One of her students writes “[Judi] is someone who really loves kids ... she is a person who still likes to play ... she encourages us to have a better understanding of what the world is like ... she was an inspiration to me ... she taught me to never give up and to never let go of your dreams.”