Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 24, 2003
New ACSTA head proud to be Catholic
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
The first woman to operate a grain elevator in Alberta has been elected to head the Alberta Catholic Schools Trustees' Association.
Marilyn Welsch, a resident of Pincher Creek and trustee in the Holy Spirit division, says it's liberating "to be elected as a politician with the word 'Catholic' attached to everything I do."
Calgary trustee Linda Wellman was chosen as vice-president.
Welsch replaces John Krol of Spirit River who served as president for two years.
"I think with Catholic education, we are doing a fantastic job," she said. "But there is more that we can do. We have persevered in the past and Catholic education deserves to be important."
Welsch grew up in Vancouver where she obtained a bachelor of science in agriculture degree from UBC in 1977.
Now a mother of four children and co-operator of a family feedlot and ranching operation, Welsch was the first female grain elevator operator in Alberta.
"When I graduated from university, I had a great love for agriculture. I came out to the Prairies to find a job and was hired by the Alberta Wheat Pool. I went through a management training course and I became the first woman to manage a grain elevator in the province."
She was first elected in 1996 as a school trustee in the Holy Family school district and has since served on numerous boards and committees.
An active member of St. Michael's Parish in Pincher Creek, Welsch has also been a member of the Catholic Women's League since 1979.
Now she will be the chief spokesperson for Catholic schools in Alberta for at least the next year.
"We should be very proud of our Catholic system," she said. "I think sometimes we seem afraid to be Catholic."
"I really think we are envied in the education system. I have spoken to many public school trustees who wish they could be more open not only about their morals and ethics, but also their personal religion."
"I find it so invigorating to throw myself into my Catholicity," Welsch said. "I get so much out of it."