News Archives: Couple Honoured For Dedication To Education
Tuesday, April 7th, 2020
Bill and Maura Good came to Canada in 1967 on a one-year adventure to teach in the ‘Land of the Moose’. They didn’t envision leaving a lasting legacy for future educators.
The retired Catholic school educators are the 2020 recipients of the Board of Governors Award of Distinction – the College's highest tribute to individuals or groups within the community. It recognizes exceptional commitment to supporting higher education in the region.
The couple already has a GPRC bursary in their name, The Bill and Maura Good Bursary for Teacher Education.
“We were both teaching in England and we decided we’d like to travel,” recounts Maura on how their career journeys began.
“At that time, there was a shortage of teachers in Canada. We chose the Northland School Division because the ad said, “Come teach in the Land of the Moose – No Weaklings Need Apply.’ There was a picture of a moose, which we’d never seen before. We thought, ‘Oh that sounds exciting!’”
When they arrived in Fort McMurray a gravel road had only recently been constructed and the population was about 2,000 people.
“We decided we could put up with anything for a year,” laughs Bill.
After several years in Fort McMurray, their first teaching stint would bring them to Sexsmith and then Grande Prairie. Bill taught and served as a principal for nearly 35 years. Maura was a teacher for 20 years in and around having nine children.
Her first experience with GPRC was updating her teaching qualifications when she returned to the classroom. Bill initiated his Master’s in Education at the University of Alberta through GPRC.
“The College has played a key role for us and our children,” says Maura. “Six attended as full-time students and our entire family has benefited in some way from the wide variety of individual courses, community sports programs, community camps, art, music and drama programs facilitated by the College.”
The couple was shocked and humbled over the news they’d been selected as the 2020 recipients of the Board of Governors Award of Distinction. They didn’t think they deserved an award for doing something they loved. One of their daughters put their impact to the community in perspective for them.
“She said, ‘Mom, it’s all about your and Dad’s love of education and the generations of students you have impacted in this community. It was drilled into our heads growing up that education was not optional, but a lifelong goal. It didn’t matter what we did, but we had to have a good education and to keep learning. And we have passed that onto our own kids.’”
Bill mentors student teachers in GPRC’s Teacher Education North (TEN) program during their third and fourth year practicums.
Maura served on the Grande Prairie Public Library Board to continue sharing her love for reading. She’s also been on the Grande Prairie Children’s Literature Roundtable Board for many years.
The Bill and Maura Good Bursary for Teacher Education was established in 2014 as a surprise Christmas gift from their children, grandchildren and family friends. Their family wanted to give them a gift that would have an impact in their community and allow Bill and Maura to continue encouraging and supporting local students for years to come. It is awarded to a third-year student from Northern Alberta enrolled in the TEN Program.
“As a principal, one of my concerns was how difficult it was to recruit enough locally trained teachers who were familiar with the community and who’d remain here. The success of the program is evident when I see many of these former students excelling in regional full-time teaching positions and in administration.
“It’s rewarding to know that each year one of these students has their financial burden eased just a little by the bursary set up in our name.”
Bill and Maura also share their well-earned wisdom and have advice for new teachers.
“The most important thing in teaching is relationships,” Bill says. “Focus on building really good relationships with your students, with their parents and with staff members.”
Adds Maura, “Focus on teaching your students your passion, whatever that might be – a love of math, art or reading and everything else will follow.”
Read more about the 2020 President's Award Luncheon here.