Dayna Mekkes has been secretary of North Memorial School in Portage la Prairie for 14 years but with the School Division altogether for 27 years. She was honoured by students and staff last week on the same day the school held its annual Indigenous Days Feast. Mekkes says she didn't expect it, and describes her reaction.

"I was sitting in the office, like I usually do, and the kids came and got me and said that I had to come out and do a draw," says Mekkes.

While she was speaking to us, students were gathering all around her giving her 'Sharing Stones.' They're given to someone you especially care for. 

As they gave them she said, "You better share the wealth, you guys. Oh, God, I love you guys. I'm going to miss you guys so much. I think I'm going to have to open the pocket here."

Blanket created for Dayna MekkesBlanket created for Dayna Mekkes

"They made them with Angela Roulette (school elder). This was part of their tradition and you're supposed to give them to somebody that, I guess, you care about you've got a lot of care. Retirement to me is a happy thing and a sad thing because I've been with the division 27-and-a-half years. I also became a grandma this year, and so I'm happy but sad. I love kids as you can tell. I like to think they love me. But it's not the end. I probably will do some uncertified subbing. I'm going to take a year off and help my daughter-in-law. She owns Meraki and I'll probably babysit the little guy for for a year. And then I'll be back because I don't think I can say totally goodbye. I'll probably have to because I just I love this. So, I'll be back."

She notes she was from Oakville and the drive was getting a little old, sop now lives in Edwin. 

"We have a cattle farm. So, this came up and I took it. You can't feel more love than here. But now with the little guy and the cattle farm, it's a lot for me. I'm getting old, but that's that's my story."

Val SmithPrincipal Valerie Smith

Principal Valerie Smith adds they honoured Rocelyn Gabriel with a Memory Bench the same day, so it was a special day to likewise honour Ms. Mekkes.

"Ms. Mekkes is retiring and so we wanted to also honour her and so it's been a beautiful, beautiful sunny day for us to recognize all the beautiful things we have in our world."

MekkesMekkes making draw for bicycle

Cindy Fagnan was with her husband at the feast and shares her remarks on the honour for the school secretary.

"She is so awesome. My granddaughter loves her and talks about her all the time. She's so good with her. Our granddaughter needs a little bit of help and she just made sure she was always there."

Teacher of Preschool and Kindergarten Readiness Tammy Garnham says she's known  Mekkes for a few years but it was the first year she worked with her.

"She does a wonderful job with all the children here in the school, and is very efficient at her admin job,. She knows where everything is. If you need anything, she knows where it is. She was very kind and helpful with all the students."

Tammy GarnhamTammy Garnham

Tianna Thomas is one of the students and adds she thinks Ms. Mekkes us is lovely and very kind. 

"I was there when she first came in. I love how kind she is, and I get to talk to her sometimes. I gave her a 'Sharing Stone,' which had clouds and she kind of reminds me of how nice the clouds are."

TiannaTianna Thomas