The Government of Saskatchewan has proclaimed the month of March as Rural Women’s Month in Saskatchewan.
In recognition of Rural Women’s Month, Triangle News will bring a number of profiles from local women, during the month of March.
“Women have always played a valuable role in their family farms and local communities,” Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud said. “The hard work and leadership of women continues to be vital to the success of our province and agriculture industry.”
“Women who live in rural areas play multiple roles that are key to maintaining our farms, our families and our communities,” Social Services Minister and Minister responsible for the Status of Women June Draude said. “Rural Women’s Month is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the significant contributions of rural women past and present to the social and economic growth of our province, and to build on that success for future generations.”
Rural Women’s Month will be observed in conjunction with events held in March by various women’s groups in communities across the province. These activities will recognize the contributions of rural women to the province and will raise awareness and appreciation of their role in Saskatchewan’s development.
Our first interview is with Catherine Hiltz, Principal of the Coronach School.
Hiltz, who has been the Principal for the last five years, is happy to be living and working in rural Saskatchewan.
Hiltz, nee Palmer, was born and raised on a farm near Davidson, one of 8 children. Hiltz attended school in Davidson, completing Kindergarten through Grade 12 there.
Hiltz then attended the University of Saskatchewan, in Saskatoon, where she attained her Bachelor of Education.
In 1988, she took her first teaching job in Coronach, in the former Borderland School Division. Except for a half of a year in Bengough, Hiltz has taught her entire career in Coronach in the K-12 school. She has taught many subjects, in many classrooms from Grades 4 through 12.
Hiltz married local Guy Hiltz in April of 1990. They have two children. Michael, 21 and Madison, 17.
Catherine believes the biggest advantage to living in a rural community is the peacefulness, safety and accessibility and affordability of many extra-curricular activities, such as golf, bowling, swimming, hockey, curling, skating, etc.
Hiltz’s children are active in many sports, especially golf. “I don’t think a person would be able to do all of those things as easily in the city.” said Hiltz.
The hard work and leadership of women continues to be vital to the success of our province and agriculture industry. - Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud
“I also like being close to family and friends.” she said. Guy’s parents, as well as his three siblings live in the community.
She believes that opportunities for socializing would be the same for rural or urban, with many choices available for those who choose to do so. She then added, “We sometimes lack some more cultural activities, such as the symphony or jazz festivals, but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.”
Disadvantages for Catherine, would ring true for most residents of Coronach. Traveling for doctor appointments, dentist appointments and the like, are usually the first on the list of complaints.
Having spent her entire teaching career in a rural school, Catherine, easily came up with the advantages of teaching in Coronach. “Probably the biggest advantage is that you are able to connect more personally with the students, which is highly rewarding and beneficial to the kids. The stability of the staff and personal care that’s given to them is highly beneficial to them.”
One disadvantage, she thought, would be having to frequently adjust to different ages in the school setting. A high school teacher is required to supervise on the playground, while the primary teachers are required to supervise the high school hallways. “Sometimes, it is hard, if you aren’t used to that age regularly, to know what is expected.” said Catherine.
Of course, the distance needed to travel is always a hurdle for rural people. “Just the time factor, when you have to travel to meetings and courses, especially in the winter.” she added.
Although, Catherine was promoted to an administration position 11 years ago without moving schools, she says that most times, in order to make advancements in a rural setting, teachers in the division are usually required to move.
According to Catherine, these disadvantages are small compared to the advantages of teaching the well-behaved students in the Coronach School.
“Every speaker, every one, comments on how well behaved our students are for presentations,” she said proudly.
“It’s been a great place to raise my family and fulfill a very rewarding professional career.” concluded Catherine.