Youth Science Canada announced the ten recipients of its 2018 Distinguished Service Award. The Awards annually recognize up to ten volunteers and staff from across Canada who have made an outstanding contribution, through innovation, long service, or leadership, to the organization or its programs at any level. John Waddington, who has served the Rideau St. Lawrence Science Fair since its beginning in many capacities well deserves this recognition. John’s service to the ideals of Science Fair extends from the classroom to the regional committee where he influenced students, peers and fellow committee members.
John was active throughout his career as a science teacher for grades 7 & 8. Science Fair formed a staple of the science curriculum and the fabric of his school and program. John supported and organized fairs in his school as well as moving forward his students to the Regional Fair. Once he retired he continued to support school fairs through countless hours to travel to other schools to judge and provide feedback. As a committee member he would often scout out promising projects and ensure that the students understood the opportunity to move forward to the Regionals. To many Mr. Waddington would certainly represent Science Fair, and when working at the Regional Fair parents would often note their involvement with John when they themselves were students.
John joined the Regional Committee upon retirement (1999). Shortly after joining the Committee he assumed the secretary duties and data base management. John took over the management of the system and ensured that registration, judging results and certificates were all completed flawlessly and in time to ensure a successful presentation ceremony. John also provided needed guidance to Committee Members while sorting projects into categories in preparation for the Fair, assisted with Fair logistics and trained many a new Committee Member. As “registrar” John volunteered hours of time to receive applications at a public location, prior to on-line registration, to ensure that students and their parents had the opportunity to submit. He did this with a smile that appeared to get larger as the students came in to register. John was instrumental in moving our Fair to an on-line registration system which assisted both the students and the Committee.
Any Committee is only as good as the action they take – which are often captured in their minutes. John, in his role as Secretary ensured minutes were complete and out to Committee Members, most often the next day. This responsiveness allowed a thorough record and the ability of Committee Members to ensure they were working on the issues identified. John also often served as the Committee’s historian reminding us of past practice and decisions for our further consideration.
In addition to the support to the Committee and to the overall Fair operations John provided input to projects moving onto the next level – the review of backboard, summaries and general preparation for Canada Wide. While having not acting as a delegate, John assisted in the preparation of the team. Within any committee there are many different skills required. John brought what could be called the “back office” to the Fair – the support role and depth that ensures success – truly distinguished service.