By Andrea Arnold, Associate editor/reporter

For as long as I can remember, the end of June has been for me a clear marker of the start of summer. This year is different. I recently realized that this year, for the first time since I was four years old, the school calendar has not dictated my schedule.

Then I thought of what I have missed this year. I’ve always enjoyed seeing the students progress from who they are on the first day of school to who they are by the end. This is due to the time and effort put in by all the members of school staff. I want to extend a huge thank you to the team of hardworking school staff that our Valley is fortunate to have serving the community. This includes all the homeschooling parents as well. 

Thanks to the staff that work so hard all year to educate kids not only in book knowledge, but life knowledge. The staff that sometimes look out on their classes and wonder if they are making a difference. The staff that have instructions on repeat because, guaranteed someone didn’t hear it the first three times. And the staff that have hearts so big, they have room to care for every kid they have taught or supported throughout the duration of their school experience. School staff spend more awake hours with the children of the community than most parents do between September and June. Some of the relationships that are built are very real, and for some, long lasting.

Every staff member who daily serves the children of the Valley deserves recognition and thanks. They daily set aside their personal time to help kids with homework, supervise clubs, or coach teams. Their evenings and weekends are spent lesson planning and marking as they work to meet the needs of their classes. Teachers in the McBride area often are juggling classes with multiple grade levels, adding to the complicated need to meet everyone on their level.

I would also like to give a special acknowledgement to the following staff members who are retiring this month after many years of dedication:

Lynn Lawless, Kairyn Russel Janecke, Brenda Munroe, my grade four teacher –  Marlene Walchuk and the best example of a school secretary I could have had, Kathy Molendyk (after my grandma, of course.)

Wishing you all a restful and enjoyable summer break.