OSWEGO, NY – Prior to the start of Tuesday’s board of education meeting, a ceremony was held to honor someone who has made significant contributions to the district for more than six decades – and is still contributing to this day.
John Canale is a person that has served the district in just about every capacity for 66 years, Superintendent Dr. Dean Goewey pointed out.
“In the summer of 1984, when I was taking the census for the school district, had just graduated from SUNY Oswego as a teacher, John Canale was my boss,” Dr. Goewey said. “And, I actually worked with Mr. (Pete) Myles (district personnel director), another young teacher in the district.”
The district presented Canale with a plaque recognizing his contributions. A brief reception, complete with a special Buccaneer cake, followed the ceremony.
“With sincere appreciation for over 66 years of dedicated service as a teacher and administrator in the Oswego City School District, Mr. Canal has served the district as a central administrator and as a teacher for all these years without a break in service. He continues to serve as a substitute teacher in our district and we are proud to recognize him tonight,” the superintendent said.
“But not only that, he has been a friend and also a mentor to many, many people that have come in the past 66 years,” added Lynda Sereno, board president.
“Sixty-six years of my life I have dedicated to being a public servant in education for all of our students. I hope that I will continue, with the help of the Lord, the future of teaching and learning together. I’d like to emphasis that – teaching and learning together with our students in the Oswego City School District,” Canale said.
Board member Sam Tripp asked Canale how he managed to stay active and get to where he is now.
“I am 93 going on 94 on January two, 2018. I just keep going and doing what I love,” he replied.
Canale also recognized board member Tom DeCastro.
“He was one of my student athletes and he was a very, very good student. He never gave me any trouble,” Canale said.
“I just want to thank you for not saying when,” DeCastro quipped.
Dr. Heidi Sweeney, OHS principal, and Mary Beth Fierro, OMS principal, were also cited by Canale. He applauded Fierro for being named the NYS Middle School Principal of the Year.
“I can’t wait to get back to school. I wish we didn’t have so many vacations that are so lengthy,” Canale said.
World War II Veteran
A US Army veteran, Canale fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.
Canale jokes that he wasn’t there on Dec. 16, 1944, when the battle began to rage. “I was six days later. But it looks like they did a good job without me,” he said.
“Many of the GIs who were in the greatest land battle that was ever fought, came from right here in Oswego,” Canale said. “Everywhere I go, whenever I have an opportunity, I brag about this all of the time. I think sometime these men here are long forgotten.”
A few years ago, he began a social club to recognize other local veterans who participated in that historic battle. The group has earned state honors from Sen. Patty Ritchie.
Canale said he doesn’t want people to ever forget the sacrifices made that day.
For 20 years, Alderman Canale could be found in the Council Chambers of Oswego City Hall. Now, even though he’s long out of office, he still has a place at City Hall.
In 2014, the street between City Hall and Pathfinder Bank was officially unveiled as John M. Canale Drive.
Canale was also Veteran of the Year for 2014.
His resume includes athlete, politician, teacher and author.
Outside of teaching, Canale said he can’t think of a better job than being a city councilor for anyone to pursue.
Though he retired from full-time teaching 30 years ago, he continues to be a substitute teacher.
“I try to teach my students something they will remember all their lives. I want them to become the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.