Community Spotlight_Rhoda Veinot

Just the other day I had a lady sitting in front of my desk at work and she was talking with the other people gathered here that morning. Listening to her that day I knew she was to be this month’s community spotlight. The more people I chatted with the more wonderful and heartwarming stories that were told to me. I had the honor to sit with her myself and have a wonderful chat. This month’s spotlight is on Rhoda Veinot.
To say that teaching has been Rhoda’s life is an understatement! She taught grade 2 in New Ross for most of her teaching years and to this day she still has past students that bring her trout in the spring, visit to regale stories of long ago, and send cards and gifts throughout the year. Over the years so many have experienced her comforting, loving, caring and kind nature and she indeed made an impact on them all! Rhoda began teaching in a 2 room school house on Mill Road in 1954 and would walk to school every morning and night from her home on Leville Road. Rhoda told me of the time she had Easter baskets of goodies for her students and it had snowed and her father yoked up the oxen and helped her get to school with her treats. Even though she wanted to be a nurse she became much more to the many that entered her classroom year after year. The story of her life is really that school has been her life. Rhoda was, and still is, an amazing story teller! She came up with a story called “Going up the Mountain” that was a real treat to her students every Friday afternoon. This story involved creative movement which was not something yet defined in any educational terms. The students listened fascinated every week to tales of the little valley people and the Giant that lived under the bridge. The story was always evolving and never ending. To this day many of her students remember this story and still wonder how it ended. Many remember Pixie the classroom elf. Pixie would help keep students from misbehaving by whispering to Mrs. Veinot. And the Christmas story of the littlest reindeer that couldn’t make it across the river. Even though Rhoda’s life was dedicated to education she also was an active member of the Baptist Church, an avid gardener and a wonderful cook, She received a certificate of recognition from the Charing Cross Garden Club for her outstanding ability in beautifying her property.
In 1977 Rhoda was honored by being awarded the Canadian Silver Jubilee medal in appreciation of worthy and devoted services in the area of teaching. Although this is an esteemed award to receive, the number of students that to this day keep in touch with her shows just what an impact she has made on so very many lives. Rhoda herself had a love of learning and believed that teachers need to revitalize themselves and accept the risks of trying new approaches. Grade 2 was always Rhoda’s favorite grade to teach and after many years teaching she was asked by Dr. Uhlman to become a reading teacher for the school. This was not an easy decision as she loved her classroom but she decided to take the opportunity leaving her class in the hands of MaryAnn Turner and she never regretted her decision! As a reading teacher she assisted with testing and programming within the school. This soon led to helping out in other schools in the Municipality. Opportunities for professional growth kept coming and Rhoda was soon working with the Department of Education in the mobile reading centre. She helped set up programs and plan materials to help meet the needs of the students. Later she became elementary curriculum consultant for all the schools in the Municipality. When the Lunenburg County district school board was formed Rhoda chose to become the resource teacher for the New Ross and the Gold River-Western Shore schools until her retirement. Children loved Mrs. Veinot so much some would even pretend to not be able to read just so they could go to her for extra “help”. Summers were spent continuing her studies and upgrading her education. Rhoda took courses in psychology, classroom methods, science, etc. In 1966 she began four summer sessions and graduated in 1969 with a diploma in Primary Education. Then began another 4 year program graduating in 1973 with a certificate in reading
specialization. She continued taking evening and summer courses in such areas as languages and computers. She was always dedicated to learning and teaching. While attending the NS summer school for teachers she was asked to be an instructor for graduates while she herself was still an undergraduate. She also served on the examining board at Acadia University. Rhoda gave in-services to teachers and parents within the Lunenburg county schools and also at conferences such as the primary elementary teachers’ association. She possessed a wealth of knowledge and a love of learning.
After 38 years of teaching and a passionate dedication to education., Rhoda retired in 1992. Although she had no children of her own she felt like all her students were her children and she gave them unconditional love. Her love for children, qualities of leadership, realistic and creative approaches to programs and a dedication to the course of education has enabled her to serve in a manner which is unique in its quality and scope. There are not many that would remember who taught them grade 2 let alone what songs they sang or stories they were told. Rhoda is an exceptional soul that has blessed the lives of so many! She truly is a pillar of this community, and I am honored to have her as this month’s community spotlight.