April 19, 2007

Thank You South Slope Elementary

I would like to thank teacher Gary Thompson and his students at South Slope Elementary in Burnaby for the package of thank you cards that I received today. It was totally unexpected and greatly appreciated.

Gary and his students have participated in the Salmon in the Classroom program for many years. They receive chum salmon eggs from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and care for them in their classroom until they hatch as alevins. They feed them until the tiny fish reach the fry stage, and then the kids release them into Byrne Creek. As volunteer streamkeepers, my wife Yumi and I have had the privilege of guiding the kids to the creek for several years now.

This year's South Slope Elementary release was particularly meaningful to me, because my Mom was dying of cancer. I didn't tell Gary, but it was an uplifting moment being with his kids that morning, and seeing them so full of life and wonder.

Later that day I told Mom about the fry release, and though she was heavily medicated, she indicated that she understood, and was happy. She loved kids, she loved teaching, and she was a teacher of teachers. She died that evening, and it wasn't until today that I made the connection that South Slope Elementary is right across the street from St. Michael's Hospice, the wonderful place where she spent her last few days.

Posted by Paul at April 19, 2007 08:19 PM