Craig Patton loves the students at F.P. Walshe school.
The students showed they feel the same way about the long-time teacher and coach last week when Patton received the F.P. Walshe Lifetime Achievement Award.
“This year the award goes to a man who represents passion, dedication and inspiring power,” said Carlin Van Driesten, co-president of F.P. Walshe school’s student council. “For decades he has poured out his heart into multiple sports programs which has impacted the lives of hundreds and hundreds of students.”
The F.P. Walshe Lifetime Achievement Award was launched in 2003.
The award recognizes people who have coached, advised or served on two or more extra-curricular activities, including sports, clubs, councils, committees, organizations or groups.
Recipients have a positive influence on the students, reflect the school’s spirit, and are willing to volunteer their time and effort to the school.
“The greatest quality a leader can have is to love,” Van Driesten said. “This man loves like no other.”
Van Driesten said Patton’s passion is seen in every game and every team he has coached, and the support he shows for his players.
“He has pushed students to persevere and accomplish goals they set their minds to,” Van Driesten said.
Van Driesten said Patton’s influence on young people extends well beyond the court and playing field.
“He is the reason that hundreds of students have found their way, not only in sports careers, but in their entire lives,” Van Driesten said.
Patton has coached both volleyball and rugby for 28 seasons, and junior high basketball for 18 seasons.
Parmar noted Patton has also coached cross country running, track, curling and badminton.
In addition to coaching, Patton has been athletic director at F.P. Walshe school for 25 years and on the executive committee for 22 years, and has been on league executives for volleyball, basketball and rugby.
“Without him, our school would not be the same,” Van Driesten said.
Student council co-president Raj Parmar pointed to Patton’s coaching career as proof of his commitment to students.
“Craig Patton is the perfect candidate for this award,” Parmar said.
Student-athlete Cheyenne Hofer told the Blue and White Night audience of the influence Patton had on her and other students.
A multi-sport athlete, Hofer suffered a knee injury this year that kept her on the sidelines for much of her Grade 11 year.
“Being told that I wouldn’t be able to be physically active for six weeks and possibly longer was some of the hardest news I’ve ever had to hear,” Hofer said.
Patton kicked Hofer out of his physical education class, knowing that she would only get increasingly frustrated because she couldn’t take part.
Hofer was frustrated at the time, but when she looked back realized her teacher made the right decision.
“Mr. Patton takes the time to get to know all his students at a personal level, and knows exactly what buttons to push to motivate them,” Hofer said.
Hofer said it has been a privilege to be associated with Patton.
“Your sincere determination and efforts over the years are sincerely appreciated,” Hofer said. “You have made us all extremely proud.”
Previous recipients of the F.P. Walshe Lifetime Achievement Award were Wes Olmstead, Dave Gregory, Gordon Wolstenholme, Karen Smith, Gloria Whitehead, Pat Schieman, Vern Orr and Ken Perry.