CHAMPLAIN - Norm Bonneau has done innumerable deeds for his community, ranging from helping children to his peers to the needy. Not many people earn the title of being "notable," but Bonneau has proven to his community that he is nothing less.
Bonneau has been with the girls basketball program at Northeastern Clinton Central School for 17 years. He began coaching at the modified level, but, in 1993, Bonneau became the assistant coach to Andy Landry of the varsity team.
"We've won the league every year," stated Bonneau, regarding his 15 years so far at the varsity level. The duo has only lost 10 league games.
Bonneau's dedication hasn't gone unnoticed, however, as those he coaches credit him for working hard and loving what he does.
"Mr. Bonneau is always willing to come in early or stay late after practice to help us work on our game," said Kim Dragoon, an NCCS basketball player.
Bonneau enjoys sharing his experience and knowledge of basketball with the adolescents of the community. The reward for his hard work and dedication to the program is simply the smile on the girls' faces, he said.
"I love the game of basketball, and I enjoy working with young people," said Bonneau, explaining his reasoning for coaching.
The time and effort he puts in is all voluntary.
"He spends so much of his time and money on us, for nothing in return," said Erin Macey, another player of the varsity team. "Mr. Bonneau is a great coach; he does anything and everything for us," said another player, Courtney Brooks.
In addition to his coaching career, Bonneau served as a teacher for 39 years. He taught all business courses at NCCS, ranging from keyboarding and business management to business law and college accounting.
"The students were just amazing," he said.
In addition to committing himself to educating young people, he served as a role model for community involvement. Most notably, he coordinated the a blood drive at the school through CVPH Medical Center for 10 years.
"We were always the school who donated the most blood. I always challenged them to beat the year before," he said.
In the early 1990s, Bonneau also helped when NCCS was facing an economic slump. He organized fundraisers to reinstate programs such as computer classes and driver's education.
"Thanks to the community support, we were able to bring back those programs for the second half of the school year," he stated.
Rick Hunter, a business teacher at the school, said Bonneau was "a dedicated educator in the classroom for more than 39 years" who "continues to educate our youth with continued service both as a coach and as a role-model on and off the athletic fields."
"He epitomizes the personal characteristics and principles of a valued community member and educator," said Hunter.
Jennifer Bechard is a student correspondent from Northeastern Clinton Central School.
Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of articles featuring notable people in the Northern Tier. If you know someone who deserves recognition for his or her efforts, contact editor Jeremiah S. Papineau at 561-9680, ext. 102, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.