[caption id=”attachment_2277” align=”aligncenter” width=”300”] Adrian and Mary Guldemond were presented with golf clubs and flowers as gifts during the Nov. 27 retirement dinner in honour of Adrian’s 30 years of service, as well as a plaque symbolizing the dedication of the Dr. Adrian Guldemond Library[/caption]
Retirement dinner highlights contributions of Guldemond’s work as OACS executive director
The Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) hosted a retirement dinner for Dr. Adrian Guldemond Nov. 27 to celebrate his 30 years of service as the organization’s executive director.
Held at OACS member school Kings Christian Collegiate in Oakville, the event included time to socialize with punch and hors d’oeuvres, dinner as well as greetings and presentations from colleagues and related organizations.
The evening was an opportunity to celebrate the faithfulness of God through the service of Guldemond in the community, say organizers. Approximately 160 people attended the event, including many principals, committee members, former board members and a number of Guldemond’s family members.
Ray Hendriks, OACS director of advancement, emceed the evening and says it was an elegant affair with the room beautifully set-up and an excellent prime rib dinner.
“It was just fabulously well-done and was a reflection of the kind of thing we thought would be a great tribute to Adrian,” says Hendriks.
Judy Tomczak, OACS administrative assistant and a member of the organizing committee, says the event went very well and was a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.
“Everybody had a good time, it went exactly as we had hoped. I think (Guldemond) felt honoured and appreciated,” says Tomczak.
There were a number of memory items attendees could look through, including a memory book that is being created for Guldemond.
The book includes congratulatory letters from representatives of related organizations and dignitaries such as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Niagara West-Glanbrook MPP Tim Hudak and Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale MP David Sweet.
A humorous part of the evening was the showing of a video taken of Guldemond a number of years ago at a Christian Schools Canada event when he was brought on stage by an Elvis impressionist and performed the song “Love Me Tender Love Me Sweet” for his wife, Mary.
“It was just priceless,” says Hendriks.
Greetings were delivered from Christian Schools International executive director Dave Koetje, Prairie Association of Christian Schools executive director Elco VanderGrift, Christian Teachers Association of British Columbia executive director Peter VanHuizen, Ontario Christian School Teachers Association executive director Diane Stronks and Ontario Christian School Administrators Association vice chair Jennifer Feenstra.
“The kinds of words that were expressed were deep respect for his spirit of being a founder of many organizations, his great intellect, his ability to critique current ideas and thoughts, his incredible knowledge of issues around education, his deep passion for the political challenges that we face and his courage in establishing the organization that he did,” says Hendriks, noting that although Guldemond did not establish the OACS, he has taken it to the point where it is today.
Gerry Steggerda, OACS board chair, shared memories of Guldemond’s contributions over the years.
“Adrian, your lifelong love of history and your amazing memory for decisions made and the background to situations and issues we face today has enabled us to progress boldly with a rich history,” said Steggerda.
In recognition of Guldemond’s commitment to teaching, learning and service to the Christian school movement the planned library in the new OACS Community Access Multimedia Centre (CAM) is being dedicated in his name.
Steggerda presented Guldemond with a symbolic plaque as an interim gift until the Dr. Adrian Guldemond Library is opened in the 2010-2011 school year.
“May this CAM Centre facility with its historical library always be a reminder of the incredible journey our organization followed with you as our leader,” said Steggerda.
Though Guldemond is retiring as executive director at the end of 2009, many colleagues commented that he will continue to contribute and educate the Christian school movement.
Audrey Hadfield, Independent School Associations of Ontario chair, writes, “These congratulations are not actually intended to congratulate him on his retirement because, of course, educators such as Adrian do not retire. He will simply continue to move on to the many rewarding activities that will make full use of his experience and exceptional professional skills.”