If you went to Greenwood Public School anytime between about 1977 and 1998, chances are you were lucky enough to have had Doris Ewing looking out for you.
And Friday, the beloved former noon-hour aide’s family helped make sure the school’s current generation of students will know her too through a memorial Friendship Bench that will be installed on the school's grounds.
“Mom was a champion and a protector of the underdog, the bullied, or the quiet kid who was just going through a tough time,” said Doris’s daughter Shelagh Ewing, in a speech crafted with the help of her brother Sandy.
Doris's husband, Bob, was joined by his wife's former colleagues — retired Greenwood teachers and noon-hour aides — as Shelagh delivered the speech in front of current Greenwood staff and students in the gym on Friday and representatives of the group Kill it With Kindness delivered their anti-bullying message.
The bench, which is meant to be used by kids to signal that they might need some help, or just a kind word of support, fits well with the spirit of her mother’s time at Greenwood, said Shelagh.
Doris, who passed away unexpectedly last fall, taught high school classes at Sault Collegiate in the early 1960s and later taught on the elementary supply list — but only the primary grades and only at Greenwood, said Shelagh.
“She loved Greenwood Public School and had no desire to go elsewhere,” said Shelagh.
Lorrie Sawchyn, Greenwood’s school council chair, worked with the Ewing family to make the bench project happen. Sawchyn, who went to Greenwood during the 1980s, said she thinks the bench’s anti-bullying message is very appropriate.
“I think it’s fitting. Mrs. Ewing was always very attentive to the kids — she always noticed,” said Sawchyn, whose children go to Greenwood, making them the fifth generation in their family to attend Greenwood since the early 1900s.