Long serving educational support assistant retires

BARRY’S BAY – A long serving educational support assistant (EA) is retiring from Madawaska Valley District High School.

Rita McLean announced this would be her final semester at the school, after 28 years in the role.

McLean was born into a rather large family. She is the ninth child out of 15 children born to Joseph (known as Fiddlin’ Joe) and Evelyn Peplinskie.

She was born and raised on a farm in Combermere, and taught by nuns during her elementary years at Holy Canadian Martyrs School in Combermere.

“My parents instilled a strong work ethic and moral values in me and my siblings,” McLean said. “They provided us with a warm, loving and compassionate home environment.”

She remembers her first paying job, where she would pick a two-pound margarine container of wild strawberries and sell them for 25 cents. When she attended Madawaska Valley District High School, she worked at local lodges.

After high school, she married Robin McLean and headed to Toronto, but came back to the Combermere area a few years later. For the next 13 years, she worked for her brother Ernie Peplinskie (now Madawaska Valley Township councillor) at the Valley Market in Combermere. 

Get your July 1, 2015 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.