Sooke high school principal gets retirement surprise

Community members, students commemorate Pat Swinburson’s career

Various community members and students gave speeches to commemorate principal’s career

Staff and students at Edward Milne Community School had a special surprise for principal Pat Swinburnson, who retires on Friday.

At around 11 a.m. Swinburnson was called to the shop room in the school, where he was asked to “look at an issue” with construction on the classroom.

Meanwhile, the entire school body quietly tip-toed in to the gymnasium and awaited Swinburnson’s arrival.

Once everyone was ready, a voice suddenly came over the intercom; it was vice-principal Todd Powell asking for Swinburnson to report to the gymnasium.

When Swinburnson opened the doors to the gymnasium, he was surprised to find the entire staff and student population cheering and clapping for him.

At the surprise assembly, Powell, as well as Linda Bristol, a T’Souke elder, Janine Brooks, a former principal, Sooke School District superintendent assistant David Strange, and two students, Colby Benty and James Bruinsma, gave speeches to commemorate Swinburnson’s career.

Powell said he wanted to organize the assembly because Swinburnson has been such a great advocate and mentor for the school.

“He has created such an wonderful environment here. You walk through the halls and the energy is amazing and inclusive, and the kids are awesome,” Powell said.

“We now have a record number of senior academic classes, our trade students are going to competitions. We have all these things primarily because his (Swinburnson’s) focus at EMCS has been on relationship building, involvement and creating a sense of community.”

Powell added that Swinburnson has been a great supporter to him and was always willing to offer a helping hand.

“He’s very quiet and he’s very reserved, but he has directly impacted this school this district in an amazing way,” said Powell. “And he’s going to be incredibly, incredibly missed.”

Swinburnson was very thankful, and described the event as “lovely”.

“I have worked hard, and now it’s time to play hard,” He told the crowd.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

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