Career educator appreciates Great Teachers initiative

Students share inspiring tales of teachers who make a difference

Camosun College president Sherri Bell is proud to be a part of the Great Teachers initiative. The series of stories by Black Press, sponsored by Staples in co-operation with Camosun College, highlights the amazing work teachers do in educating our children and shaping the future of our communities.

“Any time we get to honour teachers from kindergarten to Grade 12 or at the college or university level is a worthwhile endeavour,” said Bell, who is completing her first year as president of the institution. “They inspire learning and passion in students in areas they aren’t familiar with.”

Bell, the former superintendent of schools for School District 61, said she’s had the pleasure of working with a multitude of amazing teachers throughout her career. She began teaching in 1981, and has worked at all levels of education up to university, as well as a number of years at the administrative level with the Victoria School District.

“The impact teachers can have on an entire class is phenomenal,” she noted. “That experience with teachers who engage students in sports, leadership, clubs and education is what inspires young people to take courses in college or university. So much of what teachers do has a tremendous impact on our communities.”

Bell was eager to share a story about one of her former middle school students who approached her at Camosun after an earthquake preparedness drill.

“He said the teachers he had are what inspired him to pursue a career teaching history,” she recalled. “It’s stories like that that make education such a wonderful profession.”

If you would like to nominate a teacher for Black Press Great Teachers, go to SaanichNews.com, click on the Great Teachers icon, and tell us why you think they are deserving before May 29.

 

 

Librarian sparks student’s interest in written word

A friend of the family who works as a school librarian has played a major role nurturing a passion for the written word for Paige Cumming.

“I’ve known Jean Prevost, a school librarian and friend of my auntie, teacher Lisa Kinshella, since I was four,” said Cumming, a 14-year-old Grade 8 student at Royal Oak middle school.

“She sparked my creativity when I was really young. She introduced me to reading, one of my favourite activities, as well as music, and got me interested in writing.”

That has inspired Cumming to incorporate writing into her career choices, which involve journalism, teaching and photography.

“I want to include writing and something creative into whatever I do. My main focus is school, which I really enjoy,” she said. “I’m strong in every subject, and really enjoy math and English. We have a great environment at our school with an amazing group of teachers who are very supportive.”

Cumming, who plays guitar and “dabbles in a little piano,” said she enjoys all music, with the exception of “screaming punk rock.” She plays baseball, volleyball and basketball as well, and is already looking forward to college or university. “I enjoy gaining knowledge,” she added. “I also want to travel and see the diversity of the world and different cultures. Those experiences can only help as a writer.”

Secondary School

Instead of slowing him down, dealing with a serious illness since he was eight years of age set Roberto Fedrigo squarely on a path devoted to helping others. The 17-year-old Grade 12 Claremont secondary student, who has teenage rheumatoid arthritis, decided at an early age that he wants to pursue a career in medical sciences.

“The care I received made me want to dedicate my life to helping others,” he explained.

Fedrigo volunteers at Victoria General Hospital and interns doing research at the B.C. Cancer Agency in his quest toward a career in medicine.

He credits science teacher Sean Hayes with assisting him throughout the process. “He’s taken the time to help me choose my university courses for next year,” Fedrigo said. “He’s very approachable and very helpful. Overall, the teachers at my school are top notch. They are heavily invested in your education and genuinely care about their students.”

Despite a medical condition that limits physical activity like sports, Fedrigo has been a competitive swimmer or the past 12 years. “It’s taught me time management skills and perseverance,” qualities that will lend themselves well in his field of choice.

 

Elementary School

Having a teacher who shares a passion for athletics is one of the reasons Cameron Johnsen enjoys his time at Kelset elementary school.

“We have a lot in common because we’re both really into sports ,” says the 11-year-old Grade 5 student. “She’s one of my favourite teachers ever because she knows what she’s doing and she makes it fun. The whole class really likes her.”

Johnsen said another quality in his teacher, Sara Postlethwaite, that he admires is her ability to engage everyone in her class. “She does a great job of getting everyone interested in a bunch of different subjects.”

He added science and art as subjects he enjoys, although gym, hockey, baseball and motocross are activities he pursues with a particular passion.

“I want to be a professional hockey player,” he said. “My dad and I are big Canucks fans and Bo Horvat is my favourite player.”

As much as he enjoys school on most days, Johnsen said he is looking forward to the end of the school year so he can spend more time with the family out on their boat.

“I really like fishing,” he added.