Tom said he always wanted to be a teacher. His passion for helping kids learn has earned him respect from students, parents, and staff. He's formed close bonds with those he's taught, as two of his former students are now his adopted sons. "I'm quite blessed that out of my teaching career I have two sons, and now several grandchildren," he said. His career at St. James Collegiate (SJCI) spanned over 35 years. In that time, Dercola established multiple scholarships and implemented programs to aid in student's involvement with community outreach.
For years Tom took groups to read and to cook breakfast for underprivileged children. "The fact that my students could come away feeling like 'hey, I'm a role model,' that's what was important to me," he said.
At SJCI, Tom spearheaded "The Wall of Success" - a board in the school that recognizes the achievements of students who otherwise wouldn't qualify for scholarships or awards. "These students with lower grades are still trying their very hardest." said Tom. "They needed to be recognized."
Dercola's dedication to the betterment of the community hasn't slowed down since his retirement. He has volunteered at many local organizations, including multi year stints at Winnipeg Harvest and the Humane Society and was recently the president of CJNU-FM, a radio station that focuses on keeping senior communities supported and informed. With his love of animals and kids, he has established endowment funds to support education, animal welfare, nutrition programs and mental health initiatives.
Once a Jimmie, Always a Jimmie!
Click here: Honour 150 presented by Canada Life