Image: Varughese family
The grand opening of the Thomas Varughese Field took place this past Saturday. The community gathered to celebrate and honour Varughese for his soccer legacy and commitment to the Lakeland area. Varughese passed away in January of 2017.
As a former principal in Cold Lake, Varughese was known as a teammate, mentor, friend and family member to many people in the Lakeland area.
“Tom was instrumental, very involved with minor soccer and adult soccer. So, it’s great to recognize a community member that gave so much to Cold Lake and area,” said Mayor of Cold Lake, Craig Copeland. “His passion towards soccer and for the betterment of the community. I think it’s great that council has recognized his community efforts”
At the celebration, many friends and family of the late Varughese spoke of his impact on the community; including his son, Nyles Varughese.
“He always said that the ball should roll true to develop and showcase talent and to teach skills. More than that I think that he would have been more impressed by the community coming together to build an amazing facility like this. A place where the community can be proud to hold major events for multiple sports, in addition to soccer.”
“We are so impressed with how cold lake has emphasized positive outlets for children and adults, and even in times of economic difficulties. Dad always put people first, particularly children. And knew that investing in people now would pay off in the future” said Nyles Varughese.
Thomas’ daughter, Asha added, “Dad always said that positive relationships were the most important part of achieving success. We were able to view this field as a family yesterday and were completely blown away by this world-class facility that rivals any major university field in the country.”
Varughese life in education
Varughese dedicated over 40 years of his life to educating students in Cold Lake. He began his teaching career in September 1974 with what was then the Bonnyville School District. In 1981 he was appointed Principal of Grand Centre Junior High in what had become Lakeland Public School District. He retired in 2006 as Principal of Grand Centre Middle School with Northern Lights School Division. He then went on to represent the school board as a trustee.
Varughese was known as a strong advocate for both students and staff at board meetings and in his interactions at the provincial level with other school board trustees, elected officials and Alberta Education.
The field is officially open
The Thomas Varughese Field is now open for football, soccer and rugby games.
“The Alberta Football League will be playing here, and we get about 400 people that come to a game, so it’s a great recreational facility. This is going to benefit all the youth soccer, adult soccer, the high school football, men’s football team, and rugby” said Mayor Copeland.