When Kevin Kobus walked up to the microphone at the CCSTA AGM in June, he was faced with a challenge: to acknowledge all the people he’s worked with who demonstrate a commitment to Catholic education in a small window of time.
With his own distaste for long speeches, Kobus made his short, but sweet.
Kobus was named the CCSTA 2016 Justice James Higgins Award winner for excellence in Catholic education in Canada. He accepted the award at the CCSTA AGM in Yellowknife and past practice demonstrates that the award acceptance generally follows with a speech.
Kobus said receiving the award was both humbling and intimidating.
While the award recognizes Kobus’ leadership and the value he brought to Catholic education in Canada over his five-decade career, he was quick to put the spotlight on others.
“It is a privilege to be joining such an accomplished group of past winners,” he said during his acceptance speech at the CCSTA AGM in Yellowknife. “I note in particular Greg McNally’s name on this list. Greg was a friend and valued colleague. Like others who have received this award, he is a fine example of what those involved in Catholic education should strive to be.”
Kobus continued to highlight his experience working with his colleagues and how they each played a significant role during their time together. From OCSTA Presidents to CCSTA Executive Directors, these people had an impact both on Kobus’ career and Catholic education.
“I believe that all of these fine leaders fully acknowledge and appreciate the importance of having the various provinces and territories work together to ensure the ongoing success of Catholic education in Canada,” he said. “These leaders are well aware of the fact that, should Catholic education be lost in any one of our provinces, that trend could spread across Canada as quickly as an Alberta wildfire. That is a disaster that has to be avoided.”
When he reflected on his time in Yellowknife, Kobus said he met many great people, including the trustees.
“I met a lot of trustees that I had not met before, and I always have been impressed,” he said. “When I moved to OCSTA in 2008, I got to appreciate the array of commitment that so many trustees make.”
His wife, Susan, joined him in Yellowknife, and together, they enjoyed the city, the sun-filled nighttime skies, and the opportunity to learn more about the northern territory.
Coming back to his speech, Kobus admits he doesn’t like to be the center of attention. But because he retired last October, Kobus said he wanted to use this speech as his chance for final words.
“It’s the twilight of my career,” he said. “I viewed [this speech] as my last chance and opportunity to acknowledge those people, and I couldn’t think of a better forum.”