LCI honours two graduates during Distinguished Achievement Awards

By Garrett Simmons

Lethbridge School District No. 51

Communications Officer

Lethbridge Collegiate Institute’s Distinguished Achievement Awards recognized two graduates on Thursday.

The awards recognize individuals who have attended LCI before moving on to accomplish significant achievements, or who have made noteworthy contributions to the school, to education in general or to the larger community.

This year’s recipients included the Honourable Greg Maxwell (1976) and Dr. Gillian Mackay (1980).

“My uncle Greg is somebody who everyone wants to be around, and he is amazing at everything he does,” said Nolan Johnson, as he introduced Maxwell.

A standout student at LCI, Maxwell moved on the University of Alberta, where he graduated from Law School. He would go on to practise criminal law in Lethbridge as both defence counsel and a Crown prosecutor, before he was appointed a provincial court judge in 2011.

Throughout Maxwell’s career, Johnson added his uncle has developed a sterling reputation.

“I can tell you I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have the utmost respect for him and who he is.”

Maxwell was humbled by the award.

“It’s an honour to be selected. I never saw this day, and I expect many others didn’t.”

He urged students in attendance to pursue their goals, even though it might be difficult at times.

“You just have to recognize you can do whatever it is you want to do.”

LCI band teacher, Ken Rogers, introduced Mackay, a Professor of Music of the University of Toronto, where she conducts the Wind Ensemble and teaches conducting. An active professional conductor, adjudicator, clinician and trumpeter, Mackay has conducted honour ensembles throughout Canada and the United States, and has conducted honour bands and judged competitions in the U.S., Singapore, Thailand and Korea.

“Gillian is a phenomenal musician,” said Rogers. “She is recognized across the country, North America and in Asia.”

Rogers added many LCI students have had the opportunity to work with Mackay, who spent much of the late-afternoon and evening with LCI band students on Wednesday.

Mackay, in her acceptance speech, credited her high school will helping her develop as a musician.

“One of the things that was great about being at LCI was there was a place for musicians to thrive,” said Mackay, as she added it was a big thrill to walk into the band room on Wednesday. “It was a wonderful place for me to be.”

Mackay added there are two keys to achieving your dreams – first deciding what it is you think you want, getting started and doing it as often as you can, and second, continuing with it, especially when you have a change to do it at a higher level. In the end, Mackay added achieving goals comes down to combining talent with hard work.

The awards program at LCI identifies individuals for their achievements, and then recognizes those selected with the placement of a special plaque on the Wall of Distinction in the school’s main hallway.

The selection criterion for a Distinguished Achievement Award is achievement related to academic and career accomplishments or service and humanitarian contributions of significance. Persons selected to receive Distinguished Achievement Awards are former students and staff members, or others who have contributed service to the school over an extended period of time.

LCI principal Wayne Pallett closed the wards with one final message for his students.

“Take pride in who you are as students, and then venture out into the world and become great.”

Date posted: April 13, 2017