By Jenn Watt
Published July 4 2017
Len Salvatori clutched a few pieces of paper in his hands as he stood before friends and family educators administrators and community members at J.D. Hodgson Elementary School on Thursday afternoon.
Given a loving introduction by school board trustee Gary Brohman a friend and former colleague Salvatori found himself in the difficult position of having to summarize 35 years of meetings and minutes agreements arguments and negotiations.
Trillium Lakelands District School Board had decided to name the Alternative Education and Training Centre after him in recognition of his long and passionate dedication to the area’s students.
The decisions made during his tenure changed the education system in Haliburton County for the better said Brohman who advocated for the renaming.
Among the biggest accomplishments Salvatori said was the purchase of land for the Haliburton campus – connecting the elementary schools alternative education centre and high school.
“One of the greatest thing we ever did was buy this piece of property here 80 acres for peanuts” said Salvatori standing in the lobby of JDHES named for his best friend Doug Hodgson who was director of education.
“Doug said Minden needs … an expansion. We went to Minden and bought 100 acres there” he said.
When Salvatori started his time on the board it was the 1960s before Haliburton had joined with the wider region in what is Trillium Lakelands today. Taxation for education was directly tied to the decisions made by the local board members and Salvatori was using Brohman’s word “frugal.”
Yet purchases were made and programs launched. Kindergarten and special education were two of the additions that came early on in the history of the Haliburton County Board of Education Salvatori told the audience.
Brohman said having Salvatori’s name on the alternate education centre was especially appropriate.
“He fought for all kids but he fought for the person who needed more fighting for” he said in his speech.
Salvatori also put in decades of volunteering with the Scouts and minor hockey association.
Brohman said he hoped the renaming would prompt future students to learn more about the trustee and inspire them to dedicate themselves to their communities.
“Haliburton County is better because of you and the kids that come to that school will be better because of you” he said.
Salvatori ended his remarks to the group by urging his fellow Haliburtonians to continue working for the betterment of society.
“We all should do something in our community. Do what you think you can do best and go out and do it.”
A new sign was affixed to the building last week. It now reads: Leonard Salvatori Alternate Education Centre.