This year one of our Fashion Arts and Business Students, Alyson Condon, submitted one of the winning essays in the Greatest High School Teacher Contest. The college held an awards reception and dinner on Wednesday, March 28, in the Humber Room at the North Campus to honour her. Alyson Condon delivered a moving speech to the audience in recognition of her teacher Mrs. Ventura:
“My name is Alyson and I am very happy to be here to share one of the most important people in my life with you all. Tanya Ventura is an English teacher at Holy Trinity High School but she is so much more than that. She is an incredible mother, a sensational motivator and such a powerful woman. High School is a hard place for most people to find out who they are; in grade 9 this was made all too real for me when I came out as gay in a Catholic High School. There was no place for LGBTQ students to be themselves and have a safe space to learn and grow in their community because it was, in fact, banned for LGBTQ clubs or events to take place in and around the schools. Tanya Ventura worked tirelessly alongside me to create one of the first LGBTQ clubs in the Halton Catholic District and run it successfully with 40 members showing up each week. When people tore our posters down, she put new ones back up. When community members lashed out at us, she was the voice used to stand up for us.
Though this is where I start when describing what Tanya Ventura has done for Holy Trinity High School, it does not begin to describe what she has continued to do. The club is in its 5th year and continues to be successfully run, providing a safe space for students to be who they are and find a community of like-minded people. Students from the first club have gone on to start LGBTQ organizations in their colleges and universities, some even pursuing careers in LGBTQ affairs. Tanya Ventura's faith in our club has reached so far across the GTA and has changed the lives of many students, some of which had never been in our club at all. The mere fact that it existed allowed them to have the courage to come out as who they truly are. Tanya Ventura inspired that courage.
Teachers who go above and beyond their job description are the ones who truly embody what being a teacher is, and people like her are the ones who are never forgotten. I am so lucky to have her continued support in my life, I always know that no matter what I have her in my corner, on my side. High Schools like Holy Trinity would be nothing but four brick walls if teachers like her didn't exist within them, and I know, as I am sure that everyone at Holy Trinity knows, how fortunate they are to have her. Thank you for the opportunity to give her back a tiny piece of the courage, power, and love she has given me for four years. Thank you, Aly Condron”