Staff and alumni of Brock High School are mourning the death of former teacher Donna Corrigan, who died Friday (Oct. 26) at the age of 60.
Starting at Brock as the head of girls’ physical education in 1998, she quickly became a favourite, according to current teacher Kristine St. Louis.
“She was a vivacious presence and dynamic figure in the lives of both students and staff. Her laugh penetrated the walls while her spirit and her tenacity to bring out the best in all her students were both unfailing,” St. Louis wrote.
“Mrs. Corrigan was a favourite teacher to many. She was highly involved in the life of the school as she coached, led student council, MC’ed assemblies, supervised dances and proms and chaperoned many overnight and overseas trips.”
She had a tremendous sense of humour and certainly wasn’t afraid to laugh at her own expense.
“Her antics had her dressed up for every spirit day (even allowing students decorate her hair with Smarties), participating in staff skits for students’ viewing pleasure and leading phys ed warm-ups through the halls – follow-the-leader style,” St. Louis continued.
“Mrs. Corrigan demanded the best out of her students. She encouraged, cajoled and supported all to do more than they thought they were capable of.”
And she absolutely delighted in her students’ success, St. Louis concluded.
“Mrs. Corrigan’s favourite school event was Commencement, where she watched and cheered as students had their moment in the spotlight, when they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, having worked and succeeded for four or five years developing the skills and tools they would need to succeed in the world beyond Brock High School.”
Jessica Smith couldn’t agree more.
As a student, her family was dealing with some struggles and she’d all but made the decision to drop out prior to having an informal chat with Corrigan.
“You turned my decision and my fears into hope and opportunities. I opened up to you and told you how my family was going through a rough time and how I was having a hard time in school dealing with peers and change and work. You told me to keep my head up and that you’d always be here to listen if I needed,” Smith wrote.
“The next day, you brought me into the gym office and had filled the crisper in the gym office fridge with all sorts of healthy foods in case I didn’t have a lunch. Then came the list you wanted me to write of things my family and I needed. A week later, you dropped off household supplies and furniture and even helped us with groceries.”
It meant the world to Smith, who would go on to graduate with her classmates.
“Your kind gestures have not and will never be forgotten. When I was ready to give up, you believed in me. You were the light I needed and I am forever grateful that day happened. When graduation day came, and we took a picture together, I remember thinking how lucky that school was to have such a genuine, kind-hearted, all around amazing teacher, and just how lucky I was to have ever been blessed with your presence, let alone all the wonderful things you did for me.”
Visitation for Corrigan will be held on Thursday (Nov. 1) from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Weaver Family Funeral Home in Trenton. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Peters Catholic Church in Trenton on Friday (Nov. 2) at 11 a.m.
Online condolences can be left at www.weaverfuneralhomes.com