Delhi man receives prestigious award from educators

Breadcrumb Trail Links News Local News Randy Goudeseune was presented with the Silver Lamp of Learning Award by OSSTF/FEESO President Karen Littlewood during a recent ceremony in Toronto. INSERTED PHOTO Contents of the article

A Delhi man has received one of the top honors from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation.

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Randy Goudeseune was awarded the Lamp of Learning silver award, the highest award bestowed on a non-teaching Ontario resident who has made outstanding contributions to public education.

“I was blown away,” said Goudeseune upon accepting the award at a recent ceremony in Toronto. “When I went upstairs to give my acceptance speech, I was surprised when 400 people stood up and clapped for me. It was quite emotional.”

Harvey van der Meer, currently on furlough from his position as Department Head of Technologies at Delhi District Secondary School, nominated Goudeseune for the award.

A vintage car building program was initiated by van der Meer at Delhi District Composite School and Simcoe Composite School in 2012 when an old VW Beetle was brought in for students to make ready to drive.

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They went beyond simple repairs, the Beetle became a show car in a private collection.

“Technology teachers found that this three-year project was even more successful in terms of academics, attendance and student engagement,” noted van der Meer. “Students wanted to be in the classroom and were excited to learn.”

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Goudeseune belongs to several car clubs, is a freelance writer for the newspaper Old Autos and a broker for Hagerty Insurance, a classic car insurance company.

He first discovered the program when he saw one of the pickup trucks being built by the Norfolk County students at Motorama – a major custom car show in Toronto – in 2019.

“I had no idea this was going on in Simcoe. From then on I got involved, talked to the teachers and gave them all the support I could.”

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Goudeseune promoted the school’s car building program in a network of people from the automotive industry who began offering parts, safety inspections and evaluations. He also raised funds for the program through auto shows, which resulted in Hagerty Insurance’s Canadian division providing financial support for upcoming auto builds.

He also arranged for Grant Schwartz of the Vegas Rat Rods TV show to address the classes and for noted pinstriper Danno Druin to demonstrate striping on one of the class cars.

Vehicles built by students on the program — including a 1950 GMC bone-stock restoration and a 1953 GMC rest mod — have won multiple Best-in-Class awards at Motoroma, rivaling professional body shops.

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Article Summary Students in a classic car building program at Simcoe Composite School will showcase this 1967 Volkswagen Beetle at the Motorama Custom Car Show in Toronto on March 10, 11 and 12, 2023. Photo by Randy Goudeseune

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All cars built in the program are sold, with proceeds going back to the program.

“Community members such as parts suppliers, body shops and performance workshops work with the school to ensure that students who leave the program can find a job after high school,” explained van der Meer. “This is all thanks to the dedication of a community member who chose to invest in public education, their community school, and the auto program.”

The department head believes that thanks to Goudeseune’s support, it is the only award-winning classic car building program in an Ontario high school.

“The award really goes to the three teachers – Harvey van der Meer, Richard Ernst and Terry Oosting – who keep this program alive and to the students who are interested in the craft,” said Goudeseune. “I think it’s a great program.”

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