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150 has recognized two Winnipeg School Division employees for their positive
contributions to the province and the people around them.
On Feb. 17,
Elmwood High School principal Mike Babb and Sisler High School head caretaker
Junel Malapad were announced as recipients of Honour 150.
by Canada Life, Honour 150 recognizes 150 Manitobans who “stand out for their
role in making Manitoba such an amazing province.”
recipients receive a commemorative medal designed by Manitoba artist Takashi
Iwasaki, as well as a $500 donation to a charity of their choice.
The Honour 150 program was launched in early 2020 as part of the province’s 150th
anniversary celebrations, but was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
started his teaching career in 1984 at Churchill High School as a phys-ed and
biology teacher. A long-time coach at the school, university and community level,
Babb was inducted into the Manitoba High School Athletic Association’s Hall of
Fame in 2019 in the Builder category.
Honour 150 recipients were announced, Babb said he was inundated with messages
of congratulations from current and former students, colleagues and athletes.
huge honour. Very humbling,” Babb said. “My kids posted the announcement online
and I coached a lot of their friends and classmates, so the messages that were
coming in from across the country – and even some from overseas – were just
phenomenal how quickly word gets around. It’s really nice to hear from people
that you coached 15 or 20 years ago.”
run at Churchill, Babb was the phys-ed department head at Sisler for seven
years, before becoming Elmwood’s vice-principal in 2000. In 2004, he moved to
Andrew Mynarski V.C. School where he was principal for four years, before
moving into his current role as Elmwood’s principal.
his time as a phys-ed teacher prepared him well for his current administrator
I’m really proud of that is still running at Churchill and Sisler is the
Mini-Olympics,” Babb said. “I started it in the ‘80s at Churchill and it’s
still going. Organizing a school-wide event like that or organizing a major
sports season, you get used to those organizational demands, so moving into an
administrative role was a natural fit.”
highlights of Babb’s career (so far) are helping to establish the annual Grade
9 ski and canoe trips at Churchill and the implementation of Elmwood’s Student
Success Centre in 2010, which has seen the average graduating class size
increase from 59 to 89 students per year.
Student Success Centre is supporting kids to stay on the graduation path, and
been really effective,” Babb said.
50, is on a different path, and he’s on it a lot.
Malapad ran 50 kilometres 50 times to raise money for local charities. In
total, his running raised approximately $40,000, including a 100 kilometre run on
Boxing Day that raised $26,000 for Siloam Mission.
“I was quite emotional yesterday,” said Malapad the day
after the Honour 150 announcement.
“I knew it was coming, but when it finally came out on
social media and people were reaching out to me, it was quite emotional to know
that I was able to be a part of so many people’s lives.”
started long-distance running 14 years ago for his own health, but it was a
couple years later that he started running for others.
“My father passed away from a heart condition and cancer,”
Malapad said. “It was getting close to his birthday and I was on a run by
myself at the lake and I started getting emotional about it. I decided to raise
some money for CancerCare MB, because they really helped my father out.”
“I did this thing called 4 Hours 4 Cancer. I canvassed my
friends and family and said I’m going to run for four hours in Kildonan Park to
raise money for cancer research. It was my birthday too, so it turned out to be
a great potluck lunch with friends and family. That was the first time I raised
money for something and then something else happened that sparked some more
That spark was Edward “Fast Eddy” Dostaler. In 2015 and
2016, Fast Eddy ran across Canada and back in support of Alzheimer’s and breast
cancer research and Malapad had the chance to run alongside him in Winnipeg.
“That inspired me to run for mental health,” Malapad said.
That’s when Malapad founded Trash the Stigma, an annual June
run around Garbage Hill that raises money for the Canadian Mental Health
Association. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 event was virtual, but
“It was actually good, because more people got involved,”
Malapad said. “I had participants from Alberta and B.C., people in the States,
as well as people in Kenora and Winnipeg Beach, so Trash the Stigma wasn’t just
on Garbage Hill last year.”
With Honour 150, Malapad’s charity of choice is Rossbrook
House, a neighbourhood drop-in centre for youth in the inner-city.
When he’s on a long, grueling run, Malapad said it’s
organizations like Rossbrook House that keep him going.
“My yoga instructor said, ‘When gratitude is genuine, it
puts you in a place of strength’,” Malapad said.
“When I run, it’s tough, but if I had cancer, it would be a
lot tougher. One month I ran for the Manitoba Brain Injury Association. If I
had a brain injury, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing. I’m just so
grateful and that transfers into the strength that keeps me going.”
As for Babb, he’s donating his Honour 150 money to the
Elmwood High School Legacy Fund. Babb said he has no plans for retirement and
is eager to get back to coaching basketball and other sports once COVID-19
restrictions are lifted.
with young people in the same area of interest is an awesome experience. It’s
kind of like you’re not putting in any hours at all,” Babb said.
of students that I’ve got to work with over the years is pretty phenomenal. You
build connections that often last a lifetime. It’s a huge honour to coach these
young people and you’re always excited to see where they get to. And sometimes
you’re able to help them reach those goals.”
“And to be
honest, coaching is my happy place. I’m not thinking of anything else when I’m
coaching. It’s great.”