Liz Savage and Lambchop take a break in the last classroom they’ll share

A teacher of generations retires

After 35 years in the classroom, Liz Savage is stepping away from a career that touched more than 1,000 Peninsula kids and their parents



There will be a little less sunshine at Brentwood elementary come January. Long-time primary teacher Liz Savage officially retired last Friday (Dec. 16) after seeing more than 1,200 students come through her sunny classroom.

She started teaching Grade 3 at Brentwood in 1976 and after stints in English as a second language – and the former Greenglade elementary – came back to Brentwood to teach kindergarten. She managed to get her first classroom painted bright sunny yellow and it remained the only one in the district for years. She decorated the doorway as a sun to add to the effect.

“It’s a happy room. Whatever the weather it was always happy and sunny,” she said.

Savage was inspired by terrible teachers of her youth. They were “horrible” to her in part because her native tongue was Hungarian and her English was poor. Her literacy skills improved through poetry and song, and she’s used that knowledge to pass on the love of learning for 35 years in the Saanich school district.

“I want to treat everybody special. I want to make learning fun. I wanted them to want to come to school,” Savage said. “I’m going to miss their faces, their smiling faces.”

From monthly themes, the VIP chair and puppetry, to the annual videos and multiple musical recitals, parents, too, will miss her.

“What stands out is the love that she has. You can tell children are her passion,” said Nicole Le Gras. Three of her children passed through Savage’s class. “She is fabulous at what she does. It is just the love for the kids, the love for teaching and the experience. She’s definitely going to be missed at that school.”

“She’s not only a great teacher, she’s become a friend to a lot of us,” added Julie Ethier, who had four children go through Mrs. Savage’s Sunshine Room. “I could come to her because I had that comfort level.”

The primary teacher felt that connection, too.

“I get really close to the children and parents. It was neat connecting with them,” she said. “I just love teaching so much. I’m going to miss it.”

At 59, it’s a bit of an early retirement.

“I just felt it was time,” she said. But expect to see her publish a book about immigrant children in the school system and perhaps in the classroom teaching “don’t say won’t, don’t say can’t” to yet another generation.

“I’m not finished teaching. I’m going to help out with the kindergarten at the (LÁU,WELNEW) Tribal School,” she said. “I don’t want to leave it. I want to still work with kids.”

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

 

Sunshine lingers with families

Mrs. Liz Savage is retiring well into a second generation of smiling faces, teaching the kids of kids she’s taught.

“When I was sad she would cheer me up by letting me sit on the VIP chair,” said eight-year-old Carsynne Le Gras, who had Savage as a teacher in kindergarten. It’s a life experience she shares with her mom, Nicole Le Gras who had Savage for Grade 1. Three of Nicole’s children had the sunshine classroom experience.

Field trips are what siblings Jadyn, Carsynne and Tanner recall strongly.

“She took us on a whole bunch,” said 11-year-old Jadyn.

They travelled to places such as the Saanich police station, where a former parent is chief constable; served as scientists at Hatley Castle and learned about animals in area parks.

“I’m going to miss the trips,” Savage agreed. “I used to do 20 a year. The kids remember it forever.”

Savage was a teacher who “was happy and she laughed a lot,” said Jadyn.

She also brought an alter ego to the classroom, a lamb puppet who at times misbehaved, and was chastised to set an example for the class.

“If you were sad or just wanted to cuddle [Lambchop] would cuddle you,” Jadyn said.

Just Posted

Woman charged in Saanichton stabbing

One man treated for injuries, released from hospital following Friday assault

Saanich’s Red Lion Inn receives council’s blessing for extended liquor hours

Extension comes more than two years after a major fire

Province continues to investigate Saanich’s Horticultural Centre of the Pacific

Investigation stems from May 2 incident that turned Colquitz River ‘chocolate brown’

Avid Victoria cyclist’s legacy bike ride helps fund end-of-life care

2019 Denis Muloin Ride for Palliative Care invites cyclists for May 26 fundraiser

VIDEO: Fun without sun: Hundreds enjoy Family Fest on Victoria Day

Families enjoy activities in Veterans Memorial Park

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read