Monday, October 21, 2013

Remembering Paul Kay

Last week, I received some shocking news. A good friend of mine, Paul Kay, passed away suddenly on Thanksgiving Monday. Paul used to be the teacher-librarian at Northlea Elementary and Middle School with the Toronto District School Board, but about four years ago, he became a vice-principal. I wrote about Paul on this blog before. Even though we hadn't seen each other in years, we still held each other in high regard. Paul tried to arrange for me to come sailing with him a couple of summers ago, but I got lost and stuck in traffic, so by the time I arrived at the arena, they had already left. I can't clearly remember the last time we saw in other in person. Thank goodness for Twitter and other electronic means.

I attended the funeral home visitation on October 18, 2013 and it was comforting to see how many people were there. The people I spoke with had many stories to share about their experiences with Paul.
Embedded here is the footage from the time Paul and I appeared together on TVOntario.

I either laugh or cringe when I see this, because no one told me that I didn't need to look at my fellow panelists when I was talking, so I ended up looking like I was watching a ping pong match. I remember joking with Paul beforehand when we had our makeup done before the cameras started rolling. On film, Paul was articulate, educated, and unflappable - just like he was in real life.

I would rather let other people share their Paul Kay stories, if they so choose and in whatever way they wish. It's a tribute to Paul that I ended up getting some professional development while celebrating his life and acknowledging his untimely death, and it is this I want to mention as the conclusion of this post.

Paul was a life long learner. I used to love sitting with him at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference plenary sessions because the conversations we would have would prompt me to reflect and learn even more. Paul helped me understand why certain people behaved in certain ways. As friends and I reminisced at the funeral parlour about the topics we'd discuss with Paul, it led my colleague to mention his work on infographics, which I'm keen to explore. My friend sent me a follow-up email with links to test. I also volunteered for a new commitment that will increase my knowledge of current children's literature. This wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for Paul.  Paul Kay was a great educator and a great friend. May his family find solace and support - I hope they can be consoled with the knowledge that he touched many lives. Mine was.

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