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Woodall, Getty among those to have Edmonton schools named after them

The late Alberta Premier Don Getty and his wife Margaret are greeted warmly at his nomination meeting in Stettler, Alta., Apr. 20, 1989. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ray Giguere

Fallen police Const. Daniel Woodall, late Alberta premier Don Getty and Edmonton’s first female mayor, Jan Reimer, will have schools in Edmonton named in their honour.

The Edmonton Public School Board announced Tuesday the names of nine new schools that will open this fall.

Earlier this year, the EPSB asked the public to help name the schools and received more than 3,100 suggestions. The names were approved by the EPSB in a meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Constable Daniel Woodall School (K-6 school in Windermere)

Const. Daniel Woodall was a member of the Edmonton Police Service who was killed in the line of duty in June 2015. The fallen officer had a park named after him in Terwillegar, where the Woodall family used to live.

“The fact that they are naming something as important as a school – it’s not just an amateur thing, it’s a full blown school that’s going to be there for a long, long time and educating children and just so important – it’s amazing,” the officer’s widow, Claire Woodall, said.

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“I’m going to be so proud. So, so proud, just to think that even just my kids can go, ‘This is my dad’s school. We had a dad and he had a school named after him because of the things he did and the fact that he loved looking after the city with the job that he did.'”

READ MORE: ‘I can never leave this city’: Const. Daniel Woodall’s widow overwhelmed by support 1 year after husband’s death

Donald R. Getty School (K-9 school in Chapelle)

Don Getty served as premier of Alberta for seven years in the mid-80s and early 90s. He created Family Day in 1990 and helped steer Alberta through the economic slowdown and falling energy prices of the 1980s.

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Before a life in politics, Getty played for the Edmonton Eskimos for 10 years, winning two Grey Cups. Getty died in February 2016 at the age of 82.

READ MORE: ‘He was always there’: Don Getty’s son remembers ‘tough but fair’ dad

“He would be very proud and I think he’d be very humbled,” Getty’s son Darin Getty said. “My dad loved Edmonton and so to be in Edmonton, I think would be a real honour for him.”

Jan Reimer School (K-9 school in The Orchards)

Jan Reimer was Edmonton’s first female mayor, serving the city for two terms beginning in 1989. Prior to that, Reimer served as an alderman.

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Reimer left municipal politics in 1995 and worked for the Alberta Council on Aging. She has worked more than a decade for the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, which represents more than 40 shelter organizations across the province, where she is now the executive director.

Reimer was recognized as an Edmontonian of the Century in 2004. She has received numerous honours, including a Governor General’s Award in 2006.

“It’s just such a tremendous honour. It’s something you never would have dreamed of,” Reimer said. “School is such an important part of a community. But I have to say, it was totally unexpected… and it was the kind of thing you think happens after someone passes on, not when you’re still around so it makes it a special honour.”

David Thomas King School (K-9 school in Secord)

David Thomas King is a former politician and public education advocate who served as MLA, education minister and minister of technology, research and telecommunications.

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King was the first executive director of the Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta, from 1990 to 2010 when he retired.

“I grew up with a verse from Micah that we should seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God, so as an adult seeking justice was very, very important to me,” King said. “As a teenager I just knew that I was going to be involved in public life.”

“I believe that public education is the most important social institution that exists in any democratic community. I believe that teachers are doing the most important work that is done in any social institution in the community.”

Shauna May Seneca School (K-9 school in Walker)

Shauna May Seneca was a social worker and co-founder of the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society.The non-profit organization that serves Edmonton’s aboriginal population has expanded since opening in 1994 and now runs 14 programs and has helped thousands of children and families.

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Seneca was a Global Edmonton Woman of Vision in 2005. She also sat on the Edmonton Police Commission from 1998 to 2002. Seneca died in 2006.

“She had that kindness in her. She was in an industry that you’re really not going to get rich in. It was all about helping people,” Seneca’s son, David McNicoll, said. “It was her way to kind of get out there and help the community in a positive way.”

Dr. Lila Fahlman School (K-9 school in Allard)

Dr. Lila Fahlman was an educator, philanthropist and social-justice advocate who founded the Canadian Council of Muslim Women in 1982. She raised three children then earned her education degree in 1962. She worked as a home economics teacher at Jasper Place and Ross Sheppard high schools.

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In 2001, Fahlman became the first Muslim woman awarded the Order of Canada. She died in 2006.

Pam Nikolakis, Fahlman’s daughter, said her mother always believed anything was possible.

“I think being the daughter of a Syrian immigrant is what drove her to really, really want to succeed, because women in that culture at that time in particular were not expected to do much with their lives,” Nikolakis said. “I think she had to prove to her father, to start with, that she could do whatever it was that she wanted to do.”

Kim Hung School (K-9 school in Granville)

An advocate of Edmonton’s Chinese community, Kin Hung started several volunteer programs that supported foreign students. He also helped found a number of organizations that support refugees, new immigrants and seniors in the Chinese community.

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Hung’s efforts while working as a consultant with the Office of the Commissioner General for Trade and Tourism led to the twinning of Edmonton with its sister city, Harbin, China.

The City of Edmonton named Hung one of the 100 Edmontonians of the Century in 2004. He died in 1996.

“He’s very much a community man,” Mei Hung, Hung’s widow, said. “As soon as he came to Canada to study he started doing community work without even thinking about it.”

Hilwie Hamdon School (K-9 school in Hudson)

Hilwie Hamdon was one of Edmonton’s first Lebanese Muslim immigrants. She moved to Edmonton in 1933 and was instrumental in bringing together people of all faiths to financially support the building of the first mosque in Canada.

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The mosque, which became too small for Edmonton’s flourishing Muslim community, closed in 1982. The original building has since been restored and moved to For Edmonton Park where it was preserved as a historic site in 1992.

Hamdon died in 1988.

“She always involved herself in whatever community she lived in,” Marlene Hamdon, Hilwie Hamdon’s granddaughter, said. “She would have been deeply moved by this honour.”

Svend Hansen School (K-9 school in Laurel)

Svend Hansen worked for Edmonton Public Schools for more than 40 years as a teacher, principal, consultant and trustee.

Hansen taught at Fulton Place, Hardisty, Parkdale and Garneau schools. He served as principal at Queen Mary Park, Kenilworth and Dan Knott schools.

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Hansen retired in 1991, but returned to the district as a school trustee from 1998-2007. He died in 2015.

“He cared an awful lot about kids,” Clarice Hanson, Hansen’s widow, said. “He cared deeply about his staff and students. I think if you were to ask the staff they would tell you he worked very hard to have a school community and with the teamwork that would be involved in having that, he was a role model for his own kids.”