Everyday Heroes: Benjamin Tenesia, Darlene Heeley, Dave Orr, and Michelle Driscoll

EH Banner Feb 9

We are honoured to present this week’s Everyday Heroes for the 2023/24 school year.

Our everyday heroes are the epitome of compassion, devotion and care, transforming everyday tasks into extraordinary impacts.

Their subtle yet powerful actions not only elevate the experiences of colleagues but also enrich the lives of the students we proudly serve. They are more than just supportive adults or empathetic peers; they are the vibrant pulse of our educational community, profoundly touching the lives of all they encounter.

Our everyday heroes come in all forms, quietly making a difference in our schools and board offices, yet very often they overlook or downplay their own actions.

This week we are celebrating Benjamin Tenesia, Darlene Heeley, Dave Orr, and Michelle Driscoll.

Benjamin Tenesia

Benjamin Tenesia Benjamin is the Board’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor. Benjamin was nominated by a colleague, who said:

“Benjamin is an incredibly selfless and caring individual. Benjamin works tirelessly each day to bring anti black racism and equity policies to PVNC, she works tirelessly each day to better the lives of not just black students but all students who feel they do not have a place in PVNC. Benjamin leads by example, sharing her love, passion and acceptance of all everywhere she goes. She is a fierce advocate for student rights, equity and anti racist policies. She does the work of 4 or 5 people, and most times does this work alone. The work of making this board and this world a more equitable place will never be over.

Benjamin reminds us each and everyday that what we say, and who we are matters. She is a strong advocate for always listening to student voice, and creates safe spaces where racialized and marginalized students feel like they have a voice. I don’t think I could possibly describe the impact she makes each day in just 150 words. She is an inspiration to each student, and staff she meets. She is relentless in her fight for what is right, and she often doesn’t get the credit she truly deserves. Each day is a new day for Benjamin, she spreads love and her message for true equity in every interaction she has. She is an everyday hero, because everyday she is working tirelessly to make sure marginalized students, and staff have a voice.

Darlene Heeley

Darlene Heeley
Darlene is an EA at St. Mary Grafton, and will shortly be joining the St. Anthony CES community. Darlene was nominated by a colleague, who said:

“Darlene is someone who not only puts passion, love and care into supporting the students she works with as an EA- but it reflects in her interactions with every single student and staff member at the school. We often refer to her as our angel on earth here at St. Mary Grafton, because is incredibly good at her job and also at just being an outstanding human being. Darlene puts her heart and soul into providing the most compassionate support for her students, and extends this to other students with check-ins, hellos and interactions on the yard. Darlene is an Everyday Hero because she has a special way with students. Her calm nature makes her a safe person/space for our most vulnerable students, and allows her to create meaningful connections that foster emotional and academic growth. She is known by all and as teachers we playfully argue over who gets the privilege to work with Darlene! As she moves onto St. Anthony we will miss her kindness immensely around our halls, but we know she will bring her special gifts to the students she is soon to meet.

Dave Orr

Dave Orr

Dave is a Supply Custodian for the Board. Dave was nominated by a colleague, who said:

“When it comes to keeping things clean…. you can rest assured when Dave Orr supplies he will work up to and exceed that expectation! He serves others, especially the students and staff of our schools by scrubbing the floors, sweeping up the crushed goldfish and sanitizing all our surfaces to name a few. Dave takes his job seriously of cleaning the school and takes pride in completing all tasks left for him when covering. He is friendly, social, and funny but also an extremely hard worker! Dave makes connections with both the students and staff and is such a friendly face to have in our schools. We appreciate Daves hard work and dedication to the board!

Michelle Driscoll

Michelle Driscoll
Michelle is the Curriculum Chair of Science at St. Stephen CSS. Michelle was nominated by a colleague, who said:

“Michelle Driscoll is a caring teacher and a dedicated leader of the St. Stephen Catholic Secondary School community. She not only cares for the students she works with directly in class but extensively supports many student-led initiatives throughout the school. She considers St. Stephen’s her second home and has dedicated herself to serving our ever-growing diverse community. She makes a difference in many ways, both in the classroom and outside. She is the definition of an everyday hero, quietly, and unassumingly caring deeply for everyone in the building.

Michelle is an extremely gifted science teacher and an expert when it comes to the curriculum, but more importantly, an innovator who is open to change. As the curriculum chair of science, she collaborates with her fellow teachers, and runs study groups at lunch, as well as after school, leads the St Stephen Student Cabinet, and is an active member of the graduation and awards committees. She is well respected by her peers and students alike, speaking candidly and warmly to everyone she meets. Michelle has quietly devoted her time and has helped to foster a caring, welcoming spirit, which is unmistakable if you know the community. St Stephen Secondary School has been blessed to have her on staff for 21 years of her career. Michelle embodies the 4 pillars of St Stephen: spirit, strength, serenity, and service.

We would like to thank Benjamin, Darlene, Dave, and Michelle for their commitment to creating a culture of faith, hope and love to ensure equity and well-being at our board.