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Dodger says goodbye to Fetts

Today was a sad day. I had to say goodbye to a friend. After less than three years, Eric Fetterley is leaving Prince Edward Collegiate Institute, where he was the vice-principal. He is heading over to Belleville to join the staff at Centennial Secondary School in a similar capacity.

I call him Fetts and I think most of the kids at the high school in Picton call him that. From watching the movie Ferris Buellerʼs Day Off, I had the impression that a vice-principal was as popular as a muddy hound rolling on a white carpet. However, when I met Fetts I knew he didnʼt fit that stereotype. For one thing he has two dogs – Jack Russells who run my butt off when we get together. For another thing he and his wife Janice are the proud parents of two of the cutest twins in the universe -Connor and Sydney.
My buddy Dave once told me that W.C. Fields said, “Anyone who hates dogs and kids canʼt be all bad” – well Fetts loves dogs and kids and he is a great guy – so what the hell did that Fields guy know anyway?

Fetts is one of those guys that gets to the school before the sun gets up and leaves after dark. He takes time with every kid he interviews, and knowing some of the kids he works with I’ve got to tell you he must be a very patient man. Fetts sees a lot of kids who are angry or hurting, outcasts at school and lost souls trying to find their way. But he always cared for each one and gave them more time than he needed to – thatʼs why he is always one of the last people to leave the school.

During his time at PECI, he helped oversee the largest renovation project in school history as the sixty year old building underwent a major facelift. Fetts took a lead role because the principal at the time, Ken Manderville, was assigned to the Board office before the start of the school year and the new principal was not named until nearly Christmas. Much of his summer that year was spent ensuring the school would be ready to open in September. It was a tough and often thankless job, but he accepted the role with the energy and enthusiasm that are part of his everyday character. Let me bark at you that Sydney, Connor and Janice were pretty happy when that reno was put to bed.

Despite his long days at school, Fetts has always been a great athlete. Often he will get up early on the weekend, head out on his bike and take a 100 km before the kids get up. When he finds the time he loves to get out on the golf course where his sweet swing has taken many dollars from my buddy Dave. Heʼs also a hell of a hockey player. While at PECI he used these athletic skills to help coach various teams – not bad for a guy who was already working a 10-hour day.

I heard a story about Fetts that illustrates what the man is all about. During his last week at PECI a student, who had spent a lot of time in his office, sent a text message to her mother. It said – “ Fetts is leaving – bring flowers”. When the mother arrived with the bouquet she said, “I know my daughter got sent to the office a lot, but you taught her some important lessons about life and she wanted you to have these”. I cannot think of a better way to recognize an eduator who exemplifies the philosophy of making winners out of ordinary people.

You are a class act Fetts and you will be missed.

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