Greendale elementary will not forget Mr. Q.
On Tuesday afternoon, the second anniversary of Richard Quiring’s passing, the school celebrated their former teacher-librarian and learning assistance teacher’s memory with a cancer fundraiser and a half-hour run around the school grounds.
Mr. Q, as he was known, died of cancer on Dec. 13, 2009.
“He was an incredible man, he inspired everyone in many different ways,” said school principal Deneen Scott. “He was so much more than just a teacher-librarian and learning-assistance teacher. He was so incredibly good at what he did that the kids flourished when they went to see him.”
Mr. Q was a stalwart in Greendale. When he got sick in the spring of 2009, it was not only a blow for the school, but for the entire community.
At Greendale elementary, he assisted students with their academics and inspired the love of reading in them.
“But it wasn’t just about the academics for Mr. Q,” said Scott. “He was outside every lunch hour playing hockey with the kids, or playing baseball. He was out there every day. The only time I didn’t see him outside was when he was sick.”
Many students at Greendale are still talking about Mr. Q’s influence.
“The older kids talk about Mr. Q to the little guys all the time,” said Scott. “Even our kindergarten and Grade 1 kids who didn’t get a chance to meet Mr. Q, their siblings have made sure that his memory is still alive and well here, so those kids feel like they knew him too.”
“He got so many people committed to running, it was incredible,” said Scott, who spoke from first-hand experience. “He trained me for my very first half marathon and I never thought I’d be able to go further than three kilometres.”
That was the power of Mr. Q.
Mr. Q never went on a run without a bandana wrapped around his head; a quirk his students relentlessly teased him about. And so, it only seemed natural for Greendale’s cancer fundraiser to be a bandana fundraiser.
Bandanas were sold at the school for $5, and raised just over $800, half of which went to a Greendale family undergoing cancer treatment, and the other half towards rebuilding the playground at the school.
On Tuesday, two-thirds of the school ran with bandanas wrapped around their heads.
“This was not a sad day, it was a lift-your-spirits day, a very positive, upbeat day,” said Scott. “It was Mr. Q day – a celebration of what he stood for.”
The school hopes to make Mr. Q day an annual event.
“Now was the perfect timing because I think the healing is there,” said Scott. “The memory of the good stuff, that’s what we want to keep going.”