Bob Brooks, for whom the award for excellence in community and school relations is named, believed very strongly in the excellence of public schools. He also believed in sharing these beliefs with others.
Between 1961, when he arrived from Great Britain to teach history at Toronto's Central Technical School and December 31, 1977 when he died at age 39, Bob was a teacher or administrator at four Toronto schools: Central Tech, Brockton High School, Humberside Collegiate Institute and Malvern Collegiate Institute. In each case, he had a genius for enthusing others around him - the students, fellow teachers and parents.
During his term as vice-principal at Humberside CI, he was faced with the question of attracting parents and community to a weekend mosaic being held at the school. No problem! Bob installed a searchlight that could be seen two miles away - and more than 10,000 people passed through Humberside between Friday afternoon and Saturday night of that weekend. No wonder that his students told their parents they were in one of the best schools in the country. And the parents told their friends and neighbours.
Bob was just as involved in his professional organization, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF/FEESO), as he was in everything else in his life. He was also a Sunday School teacher and lay preacher. Bob wore many different Federation hats, including chief negotiator and district president. But his first love was communications. He served on the OSSTF/FEESO Public Relations Board and was a founding member of the provincial Communications Committee which replaced the PR Board in 1972.
A mark of the esteem in which he was held was the fact that the Globe and Mail devoted its lead editorial to his death, shortly after his passing. It was a well-written, uncommon tribute in space usually reserved for persons of world stature. It was also totally fitting for Bob Brooks who made a lifelong habit of making the impossible seem routine and who never did anything by halves.
When the provincial Communications Committee decided in 1978 to recommend a provincial OSSTF/FEESO award to encourage more school/community involvement there was only one name in mind for the award: Bob Brooks.