Dear Editor;

I would like to recognize the excellent school staff of the communities of Valemount, McBride and outlying areas. At both the elementary and secondary levels, in our public schools, the fine private school west of McBride, the amazing institute that was the Dunster School of Fine Arts, and the Distance Education Programs through the School Districts, I have served as a parent volunteer in many capacities. I have seen all staff go far beyond the call of duty to bring children, adolescents and teens into the fold. From cleaning and office staff through resource teachers, education assistants, substitute teachers, Aboriginal support staff, teachers and principals, I have personally witnessed and our family has been the beneficiary of countless acts of love and positive reinforcement, as well as firm limit setting and role modelling that should make us all very proud and grateful. In addition, the high level of training, huge creative energy and beautiful dedication to expose our little learners to so many inspirational facets of  the world around us, is of the highest calibre. And how many of us have seen the not-so-late model vehicles in the school parking lots well into the evening, on weekends and holidays? A recent conversation involved a staff person making themselves available to ferry kids to an out-of-town summer event. And we all know of the international program that takes Valemount students to help build liveable homes for deserving folk in Mexico. You school staff SO DESERVE those few precious weeks of summer, although I know some of you get extra training and do grant applications, even then.

And huge kudos to the brilliant parents who are in the school doing many roles, connecting our schools and families. Sure didn’t see parents in the schools when we were kids.

After Dunster School of Fine Arts was closed when my oldest was only two, our family had a five-year adventure known as homeschooling (under the supervision of fine Distance Education Teachers the kids sent assignments to the school district and received report cards). This was supplemented by dozens of local programs through our fine libraries, museums, Robson Valley Support Society, Exploration Place Homeschooling Program, Valemount Play and Learn, Dunster Play Group, Ready Set Learn and I’m probably forgetting some.

And to think I was somewhere between reluctant and terrified to place my little ones in the hands of what I now know are the incredibly competent staff of our local schools. Best thing ever for our family. Thank you all from the bottoms of our hearts.

Ernie and Carol Romanow

Valemount, BC