Irene Adams was born on August 3rd, 1935 on a farm - the only child of Philip and Phyllis (Schweitzer) Adams. Irene really wanted to have a sibling. "Once I talked with my dad about being the only child in the family his reply was: "We decided to try one and when we saw how you turned out, we said no more!" I can't forget that joke" - laughs Irene.
Irene Adams attended country school and was a good student. At 11 years old she won 1st place at the Teachers' Local Oratorical Contest. "I was very fortunate in having good teachers. Our community looked hard for good teachers and paid them well. They shaped me into what I became after. I hope I said thank you to them! Sometimes you wish you had stopped and said thank you very much for those who made a difference in your life.”
After graduation Irene took Teacher’s College in Moose Jaw and started to teach. A year after, she enrolled into the Saskatoon University and in 1960 holding a teacher’s diploma Irene came back to Langenburg to teach senior English (including Canadian history) at the Langenburg High School.
Irene enjoyed teaching very much. It was my passion. "I loved teaching but not marking. It was my least favourite part as a teacher. I did that very carefully, because I wanted to explain why I marked this way. I was picky, students needed to have it properly done. After some years my students thanked me for that, because they were not struggling in university classes as some students did.” Irene is especially proud of her ‘Toastmasters lessons’ that she included in their curriculum. She regularly visited various teachers’ conferences and brought to Langenburg High School the best ideas and one of them was ‘Toastmasters’. "I never marked students’ speeches, I just encouraged them to stand up and speak. To be able to stand before an audience and talk is an important skill every person should have. I remember after a few years I retired, one young man came to me and thanked me for Toastmasters. He was a manager and was able to speak to big audiences without any trouble. This is the most rewarding thing in a teacher’s life, when you know that your work was important.”
Irene Adams taught 48 years, 41 of them in Langenburg High School. She retired in 2001 and was rewarded with a "Certificate of Honorary life Membership” from Superannuated Teachers of Saskatchewan.
After retirement she joined the Town Council where she served 2 terms (6 years).
Irene was a part of Barbershop Chorus for many years, a member of the Health Foundation of East Central Saskatchewan, a valued member of the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils as well as Langenburg Arts Council and President of the Saskatchewan Synodical Evangelical Lutheran Women.
She was a chairperson of the committee that wrote the 1980 Langenburg and District history book "Walk Back Through Time” (based to a large extent on the research done by local historian Gilbert Johnson) and editor of the 1989 St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Centennial history book.
Irene dedication to the community was not unnoticed, she was rewarded with Saskatchewan Volunteers Recognition Award and granted with the Commemorative Medal from the Governor General of Canada for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. The medal was awarded to those making a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, their community, or to Canada!
P.S. Irene is a wonderful artist as well. She likes to draw fun pictures. She has big collection of them!