This Thursday is a busy day for Deborah Magdee, a cheerful School and Student Support Worker (SSSW) at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Elementary in Marpole, South Vancouver. Magdee is working busily with 34 Grade 4-7 students who are part of the school's recycling team. Their goal? Snip and recycle the emergency drinking water tetra packs that have expired. Magdee has already worked her way through her school's expired tetra packs and is now welcoming packs from other Vancouver schools.
It's a big job. But her principal says she isn't surprised that Magdee (who has a passion for environmentalism, both at home and at work) was the one who stepped up to the plate.
"Every day she makes life easier for all of us," says Janet Souther, Principal of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Elementary. "Deborah makes all those little things that might never happen get done, seamlessly."
The water recycling project is just one of half a dozen initiatives the super-SSSW has launched herself into. In addition to working with children with special needs, Deborah is also heavily involved with the school's gardening committee, school traffic patrol, fruit and vegetable program, the lost and found and the student art gallery committee. One of her newest projects is the school's greeting committee. Magdee has assembled a group of young students to help her identify and "greet" new arrivals to the school. New students are buddied up with a greeter and she keeps a roving eye on any student wandering alone on the school playground.
She says she works with the committee to help welcome new students into the school community.
"Once you feel connected, it makes you feel complete," she says. "We are all trying to fit into society. Our students need to come together as a community. That's what the greeting committee is all about."
The commitment to such a wide range of activities is part of the reason Deborah Magdee is invaluable to the school and its community.
"None of it is part of her job, but it is part of who she is as a person," says Souther.
If your school is interested in learning more about recycling tetra packs and other items you can contact Deborah Magdee at Laurier School or Kevin Milsip at the Vancouver School Board Education Centre.