Mrs. Williams, Thanks for Always Making Us Smile

The staff at schools are always changing as new teachers come and other leave. Holy Redeemer is no different in this respect, however this year one person’s retirement will leave a hole in the heart of many staff and students: Mrs. Diane Williams.

“I am truly going to miss the students,” says Williams whose teaching career has spanned 38 years. “Teaching high school keeps you young. Because of these kids, I know more teenage lingo and slang than most of my adult children.”

Williams began teaching in 1982 in Grande Cache. She taught there for four years before moving to Edson to teach at Jubilee Junior High School (the building that is now Holy Redeemer). There she taught for a few years before working on her Master Degree. Williams also taught for several years at Parkland, in between raising her five children with her supportive husband, Chuck. In the mid-90’s she spent time teaching adults. However, she left the best years for last when she came to Holy Redeemer in 2006. Here, she spent the past fourteen years teaching junior and senior high math, as well as spent ten years as the school’s Assistant Principal.

While teaching, Williams had an amazing ability to relate positively to both her students and fellow staff members. Needless to say, many people will miss her and her many signature trademarks including singing math equations with her students and dressing in the most fabulous (and sometimes wildly crazy) outfits including tutus. These trademarks could always put a smile on the face of both students and staff.

When asked what Williams will miss the most about the teaching world, she said the kids and the staff. “Many of the staff have become really close friends,” she says. “Not only from this school, but from all the schools I have taught at.”

When someone teaches over a span of 38 years, picking your favourite memory is no easy task. “The students always had a way of making me smile,” she says. “Sometimes I would get students who would say ‘I don’t like math, but I love your class’. This always warmed my heart.”

Her impact on her students can be seen as they graduate and begin to choose their future professions. And there is no greater compliment to hear from a former student than “I became a teacher because of you.” Williams remarked these moments as incredibly proud memories.

Once June 29th hits, Williams will be officially done her teaching career. From there, she looks forward to the having the freedom to do what she wants every day. “Anyone who knows me knows I love to be outside. Gardening and cycling in the summer. Outdoor activities in the winter,” she says. “Not to mention I look forward to travelling when we are able to.”

After working with Williams for many years, you can bet that many staff will miss her and they had lots of positive things to say. “As Vice Principal Diane Williams was the heart of Holy Redeemer. Her charisma, joy, and enthusiasm for life and teaching are infectious. With a smile and a song, she spreads sunshine wherever she goes,” says Science Teacher Becky Gantz. “And she’s one heck of a math teacher!”

“I’m going to miss her laugh,” says Drama Teacher Peter Taylor with a smile. “Her laugh was amazingly contagious, and she would always be able to get the rest of the audiences for our plays laughing too.”

“One of my fondest memories of Diane was the first time we met,” recalls Math Teacher Melanie MacDonald-Winsor. “She was interviewing me for my current position as a teacher and she decided to wear a fake nose and moustache for the interview! I knew HRH was the place I wanted to work after that!”

When asked what advice Williams could pass onto current or future teachers, she had this to say, “Enjoy what every student brings to the table. If you’re good to the kids, you will get it returned to you in spades.” And if the way the students treated Mrs. Williams is any indication of how she treated them, then you know she truly loved all of her students.

And now with Williams set to retire she will hang up the fancy outfits and crazy hats. But rest assured she will be back to visit because once you’re an HRH teacher, you’re always part of the HRH Family.