I was pleased, along with family, friends, and staff to attend the wonderful ceremony where Mrs. Flynn was honoured.
As quoted from the organizations' website (http://www.wetaskiwinsportsfame.com/):
The opening remarks included:
Introductory Speech by Sandy Wright
Tonight it is my honour and pleasure to introduce you to Margaret Perry Flynn who is being inducted as a Builder for her life-long involvement in the “World of Dance” and her influence on dance programs in Wetaskiwin, in Alberta, in Canada and around the world.
There aren’t many people who can say that their passion as a pre-schooler became their “life work”. This is definitely the case with Margaret. She began taking dance lessons in Wetaskiwin when she was four years old. When the teacher moved, Margaret then traveled to Edmonton for lessons. Margaret’s dream was always to become a dance teacher. Consequently, after a few years of taking lessons and with the approval of her dance teacher, Margaret started assisting her teacher, learned the teaching methods and procedures and began teaching younger dance students. At that time there was no dance program in Wetaskiwin but many mothers and young girls showed an interest. At the age of eleven, with her family’s help and her Edmonton dance teacher’s guidance, Margaret started teaching other girls from Wetaskiwin in her home, following the same lessons that she had taught in Edmonton - the Wetaskiwin School of Ballet was born. Margaret’s father built her a studio in the basement of their home. While Margaret was conducting the lessons in her basement her mother was having coffee with her students’ mothers upstairs. After a couple of years teaching in her home Margaret moved her classes to the Recreation Hall. Margaret’s reputation grew as did interest in her programs resulting in students coming from other centres to take lessons. With added students, another studio move was to the old AGT Office on Main Street.
When Margaret was of high school age she attended boarding school in Edmonton. During her three years of boarding school she continued to teach dance in Wetaskiwin, started teaching dance lessons in Edmonton, developed a program in Camrose and continued her own dance training. After high school she also added dance schools in Beaumont and Fort Saskatchewan to her teaching circuit. Wow, what a busy life for a teenager.
During the 1960’s Margaret also ran summer school dance camps in Wetaskiwin and students came from all over central Alberta and Edmonton to take part. When the students came to Wetaskiwin from out of town they stayed overnight at the Driard Hotel. Margaret would also book a room in the Driard in order to supervise the students and then she would walk them back and forth to the studio. According to an article in the Wetaskiwin Times, in 1967 there were 40 students that took part in the dance camp and 22 were from out-of-town. All students took part in several classes each day and besides hard work, they enjoyed extra-curricular activities such as movies and barbecues.
Through the years Margaret continued to train and acquire teaching certification all the while gaining confidence and experience. The last year Margaret was in charge of the Wetaskiwin School of Ballet she was teaching 80 students; several of the girls she taught had become professional dancers, several girls had become qualified teachers and others had been accepted to National Dance schools. Also, when the Bolshoi Ballet was touring Alberta, four of Margaret’s students were chosen to dance with the company. In her early twenties Margaret was already having a profound impact on dance in northern Alberta.
When Margaret founded the Edmonton School of Ballet in 1967 she turned over the Wetaskiwin School of Ballet to one of her students. The same thing occurred with the schools she developed in Camrose, Fort Saskatchewan and Beaumont, Margaret would direct the program and teach for a few years, then turn over the program to a student. Collaboration and sharing have always been a part of Margaret’s teaching philosophy.
As a teacher Margaret is strict but has kind demeanour, she sets high standards, has high expectations and is always able to get a lot out of her students. Margaret is well respected by her students, by other teachers and generally by the dance community. Even at the age of eleven students called her Miss Perry. Margaret is also very humble and unselfish, she is always ready to give others recognition.
Dance programs and schools in Wetaskiwin have changed since the 1954 establishment of the Wetaskiwin School of Ballet but the roots that Margaret planted are still evident and influential in our community.
Margaret, for sixty-one years you have dedicated yourself to following your dream and passing your passion for dance on to others. The number of young people you have affected by your teaching is immeasurable. You are indeed one of the pioneers of dance in Alberta and more than worthy of this recognition. Congratulations on your induction into the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame!
To watch Mrs. Flynn's response please check out this link on Vimeo!
Congratulations again Mrs. Flynn! You are truly an inspiration to all of us!