June 24th—June 28th 2019
Lakes District in mid northern British Columbia has won a piece of my heart!
The Teacher-Librarian/Learning Commons Specialist position with School District 91 started as a 6 month contract and ended as a 7 1/2 month contract during the 2018-2019 school year. I experienced a “true Canadian winter” in northern B.C. unlike the milder winters we experience on temperate Vancouver Island.
The amount of sunshine in snow country, and variety of year round sports opportunities, were bonuses I had not anticipated. I was also so grateful for the friendliness of the people thriving up here, diversity of cultures, and vast range of arts available.
It is no wonder there are so many young adults starting careers in the Burns Lake area. This blog post reflects my final few days as a member of the school staff and community of beautiful Burns Lake, British Columbia.
During the final days at Burns Lake my husband and I booked a lovely Airbnb “Lakeside Hideaway” on Gerow Island 2 minutes from Burns Lake. Each morning we awoke to birds singing, geese honking, sun reflecting off the lake, and tranquility of this peaceful, beautiful area.
The courtesy kayaks called our names and we enjoyed a paddle or two most days. Sunsets were a kaleidoscope of red and yellow hues dancing above the hilltops each evening.
Inside, the suite was modern and well equipped. Even in late June we enjoyed the mesmerizing flames from the fireplace on the cooler nights. We will definitely return to this lovely accommodation on a future trip to northern Burns Lake.
Meanwhile at school, the bustle of year end events was in full swing. Sports Day was very relaxed and it was wonderful to see so many parents in attendance. Triple Jump is normally my specialty, but at Decker Elementary I was assigned Standing Long Jump! I hadn’t seen this event in decades, but was pleasantly surprised at the distance some children achieved.
The new Aboriginal school blanket was unveiled at a school assembly by the Top All Around Grade 7 students from 2018 and 2019.
Several Learning Commons Leaders students created a QR code and riddle type scavenger hunt designed to introduce younger students to new areas of the library collection.
In the Library/Learning Commons we were busy with year end book collection, weeding of old books, Library collection inventory using Destiny, and QR Code scavenger hunts for the younger students.
Over one-half of the students in grades 5-7 were members of my Learning Commons Leaders’ club at Decker Elementary. These amazing students were quick to assist me deleting old/outdated/damaged books which we then displayed for all students and staff to take home Free!
As a special treat for these incredible, dedicated, energetic students we had an ice-cream sundae treat day.The sweet treats were a sticky hit!
On the final day of school with students in attendance we had the usual Award’s Day celebration. Although some students had departed on an early vacation, these photos give a glimpse into the number of grade 5-7 students involved as Learning Commons Leaders with me.
It was exciting to see the growth in attendance of boys as initially all leaders were girls.
The P.A.C. (Parents Advisory Committee) showed their appreciation to the staff by preparing a delicious hot lunch on the final day of the school year. The wonderful menu included pulled pork buns, stuffed baked potatoes, corn on the cob, salads, corn bread, and desserts. We emerged satiated and extremely grateful.
After school I was invited to the year end staff party of my other school–William Konkin Elementary School. As you may observe…This school has a larger population and there is a substantially larger staff. The party was hosted by the husband/wife team Richard and Judy at their home in downtown Burns Lake.
Under familiar blue skies, surrounded by lush green trees, we had a lovely time chatting and laughing together. From surprise mystery gifts and free summer time novels to read, to giant games and ‘be creative’ paint stations. Prior to the potluck dinner, two of our young female teachers made their grand entrance by driving up to the party area in their muddy side by side ATV.
This staff knows how to connect, laugh, and have fun. I made so many friends and will miss these caring, dedicated individuals very much as I return to Vancouver Island.
The final day of the school year was an administrative day at school. While teachers packed up their classrooms and filed all paperwork; in the Learning Commons my husband worked tirelessly beside me as I endeavored to complete the first ever automated inventory of the Decker Lake Elementary library collection.
Scanning over 18,000 barcodes while teaching and completing year end procedures is no easy feat! I was working late into the evenings and during weekends determined to get the library collection inventory accomplished prior to my departure from sd91. At 3:19 p.m. on the final day of the school year we finally achieved 100% completion!
The staff had all departed for summer holidays except Dylan, the principal, who informed me he planned to set the school alarm at 4:00 p.m. My husband and I hurriedly threw my personal teaching belongings into several bins and we exited the front door from Decker Lake Elementary school at 3:59 pm.
Goodbye School District 91 and Burns Lake. Feeling immensely proud to have completed the dreaded library inventory, it was officially time to switch to summer vacation and commence retirement for the second time!
Prior to departing to Prince George, we stopped in to view two local stores I had not seen yet off Highway 16–Woods ‘N Water and the adjourning sewing store Yarn and Sew On. Both stores were filled with fascinating merchandise as shown on the accompanying video which highlights the last few days in Burns Lake.
Saying goodbye to the family I stayed with and lovely Brat the cat was emotional and difficult. Loretta, Joe, and Brat have become dear friends whom I will sincerely miss.
Thanks for the memories Burns Lake and School District 91.
Tomorrow the next chapter of my adventure commences.