Image Credit: Marusia Gryba
Image Credit: Marusia Gryba

Creating a legacy to support future generations

Marusia Gryba recently created a legacy gift in her will to support northern Indigenous students pursuing post-secondary education at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. The legacy honours her late husband, Eugene (Gene) Gryba.

Marusia and Gene met while attending university. Early in their marriage, they were offered teaching positions in southern Saskatchewan. The Grybas instead chose to accept teaching positions with the Northern School Board (NSB) in a small fly-in northern Indigenous community.

“We chose this location because we thought it would be an adventure,” Marusia says. “It was that, but it was also a broadening and learning experience that subsequently seemed to give direction to the rest of our professional lives.”

Gene accepted a position as a guidance counsellor with the NSB, which meant moving to Prince Albert. While Gene was on a leave of absence developing a program called “Life Skills for Northern Adolescents,” Marusia began working as an administrative assistant at the NSB.

As a guidance counsellor and later as superintendent, the majority of Gene’s time was spent on the road visiting schools throughout the north. The NSB (later the Northern Lights School Board) was transitioning from a government appointed school board to an elected board. “We saw it as our job to help facilitate more control of education by local people,” Marusia says. “We had a good group of people who believed in what we were doing, and we worked very hard.”

It was a time of great change as First Nations were transitioning from federal to local control. Gene and Ernie Lawton, who had also been a superintendent at the NSB, formed their own consulting business (SERD Consultants). They were a powerful duo in the field of First Nations education—progressive, committed and hard working. There was mutual respect between them and First Nations people.

It is this legacy, this commitment to education, the Gryba award will help support. “Assisting northern Indigenous students further their education is a way of continuing Gene’s work, and to a lesser extent, my own. Sask Polytech is a very worthwhile place to leave your legacy,” Marusia says.

“I’m not Bill Gates, but if we can help make it a little easier for a student to have an education, that’s a worthwhile endeavor.”

For information on legacy gifts, contact Michele Krieger, Legacy Gifts Officer, 306-691-8543, legacy.giving@saskpolytech.ca or https://alumni.saskpolytech.ca/giving/legacy-giving-home.