Longtime Ballenas Secondary School teacher and coach John Philip will retire at the end of this school year and will leave behind a legacy that has impacted numerous people through the years.
Through his time at Ballenas, which has spanned the better part of two decades, Philip has coached many students, through track and field, volleyball, football, the list goes on and on.
If you were a part of Ballenas Whalers athletics in the last 30 years, there’s a good chance that Philip helped you out in some way, shape or form.
To commemorate all the hard work and dedication that Philip has shown throughout his career as a Whaler, Joe Martino and The Friends of Philip Field are looking to pay tribute to the man who has done so much for the athletic program at Ballenas Secondary School.
The idea is to re-name the field after Philip, place a sign above the scoreboard on the school and place a commemorative plate somewhere near the field.
“John is a wonderful man,” Martino said. “Through his time at Ballenas, whether it was as a coach, athletic director or a teacher, he’s impacted many students with his love for athletics and the passion he showed in wanting to help out anyone that he could. What better way to honour such a man than to re-name the field — which he made possible to have re-constructed — after him.”
The field Martino speaks of is the very field that was, at one point, a field that wouldn’t be used for six months of the year. Things were bad for the BSS field, which was often referred to as the “mud bowl” before coach Philip decided it was time to change things.
“John was the one that made all that possible,” Martino said. “He was the driving force behind finding the funds, the man that put forward the plan and got the ball rolling on the entire thing.”
“Without John’s passion for sport and his dedication that he’s shown to his students and players, this wouldn’t have happened.”
For now, it’s one day at a time. Martino and the Friends of Philip Field are playing the waiting game as word should come, hopefully in the not too distant future, from the District 69 school board about whether or not their petition to re-name the field Philip Field will go through or not.
The Friends of Philip Field have told the board that there won’t be any costs for the board with the project, that the Friends of Philip Field will fund it.
Martino did say that he received an e-mail from superintendent Rollie Koop, stating that Philip and Martino himself would be meeting to discuss things “going forward” from here.
“I’m not quite sure what it means,” Martino said. “Our hope is that the board can see things the way that we see and feel about it.”
“John has been nothing but amazing in his time at Ballenas and this is the least that we could do to honour a man like him.”