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Grand Falls-Windsor’s Maxine Stanley reminds Grenfell graduates of some simple things

After being presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree, Grand Falls-Windsor music teacher Evelyn Stanley addressed those gathered for Grenfell Campus’s fall convocation at the arts and culture centre in Corner Brook on Thursday.
After being presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree, Grand Falls-Windsor music teacher Evelyn Stanley addressed those gathered for Grenfell Campus’s fall convocation at the arts and culture centre in Corner Brook on Thursday.

CORNER BROOK, NL - Surrounded by the pomp and circumstance of a university convocation Maxine Stanley had some simple words of advice for the graduates of Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland on Thursday morning.

“No matter where life takes you, there are some pretty simple philosophies I highly recommend to fill your life with meaning, purpose and satisfaction,” said the Grand Falls-Windsor a music teacher, just moments after being presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree during the university’s fall convocation at the arts and culture centre in Corner Brook.

“All my life I have been taught to give,” she said. “And it’s what you should do.”

She told the graduates to always be themselves, to not lie to themselves or pretend to be something they are not.

“Life is too short to be anything but yourself,” she said.

She told them to be positive, to look for the good in everyone, to avoid negativity and confrontations and to be kind.

“Words are very powerful and once spoken the damage is done,” she said.

And in the world of social media, she said, it’s easy to type before you think.

She encouraged them to think of what they could do and not what they can’t, and to not be afraid to try.

She advised them to be mannerly and respectful and not to look down on someone who has less than them or be intimidated by someone who has more than them.

Above all she told them to find their passion.

“I was lucky enough to find my passion ... so will you.”

All her words were things the graduates had probably heard many times over and should know by now.

“But they don’t,” Stanley said after the ceremony.

So it was important for her to repeat them.

“Because I don’t think they hear it enough.”

Stanley said in this day of social media the graduates needed to be reminded that it’s the simple things in life that are the important ones.

“And I knew these were still children in my eye, a lot of them, and they needed a simple message.”

 

Grand Falls-Windsor family feels loved music teacher deserved honorary degree

In nearly 60 years Maxine Stanley has taught thousands of children and adults.

And during that time the music teacher from Grand Falls-Windsor has endeared herself to those students and their families.

Stanley is known for having an inclusive attitude when it comes to music and the arts. No one should be left out in her mind and she’s taken in many a child who could not afford lessons. Giving to the community and sharing her passion are two things she firmly believes in.

She said she’s never held and audition, but has had award-winning choirs.

“Sometimes when we audition for a musical the best audition is not necessarily the best actor or the best musician.”

She said any number of things could affect that performance, including being scared.

“And if they’re a really bad singer in the beginning you work with them and give them the confidence. And put them with two good kids and in the end they sing.

“No one person makes a choir.”

With words like that it’s easy to understand why Stanley was selected to received an honorary doctor of laws degree during the Grenfell Campus fall convocation in Corner Brook on Thursday.

It’s also easy to see why a family from Grand Falls-Windsor nominated her for the distinction.

Wayne King was a little overwhelmed after watching the woman he’s known for 40 years receive her honorary degree.

He said Stanley has been an outstanding contributor to central Newfoundland and the province via music and he was surprised she had not been recognized sooner.

“She would be the most deserving that I would know,” he said

That’s why King and his daughter Joanna King, who now lives in Comfort Cove, decided do something about it by nominating her.

“Mrs. Stanley is an inclusive community leader and certainly she excels in music and the arts. But above all she is a wonderful human being who we believe has genuinely inspired youth, adults of all ages to become community leaders themselves, to become involved and to be a part of the larger community,” said Joanna.

Joanna was once a student of Stanley’s and even though she was tone deaf was welcomed into a musical group.

“And she made me feel part of the group. She used music as a way as well to build confidence and I would say spirit in young people.” Joanna said her focus was not on the ability. “Her focus was about the individual and having them a part of something larger and having the confidence and to feel good about themselves.”

As for Stanley she said she was grateful and humbled to be selected to receive the honorary degree.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen.”

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