April 15, 2013
Teachers Talk - My Senior Senior
Kathrine Egolf, Teacher, Parkview Adventist Academy, Lacombe, AB

As we teach from year to year it is always exciting to meet our new students and renew relationships with our
Here is Claire with some of her artwork from her Art 10 and 20 classes, 2012 at PAA.
former students. Each one brings something new and challenging to the mix of the classroom. I like to think of the classroom as a tapestry that needs all the colours to make a picture realistic and finished. Or like a band that needs all the different instruments to sound terrific. The classroom needs all types of students to be relevant and enjoyable. While we are challenged by some, we are entertained by others; while some are always questioning, others are the oil on troubled waters; each student adds his own characteristic and each class becomes its own entity.
 
One of my students this past year and a half has been a lovely woman named Claire Ritchie. When she started back to school last year, it was with excitement, anticipation, trepidation, and determination. I will briefly share her story with you.
 
As a teenager, Claire had come to CUC for her grade 12 year of high school. She spent the year studying and planning for graduation, only to find out she didn’t qualify because of her course work in BC. After that year, she returned home to Kelowna and married her sweetheart, Don Ritchie. Life ensued and the years rolled by. About 5 years ago, they moved to Lacombe to be near their sons and their families. One day it occurred to her that, as she was living here by PAA, she could finish her last grade of high school and graduate. So, she registered for a course at school – the same school she had attended over 70 years before. Even with the declining health of her husband and his loss earlier this year, she has continued attending school, working toward accomplishing her dream.
 
Claire is now within three months of her grade 12 graduation. She has completed Art 10 and Art 20 and is currently in Art 30. These 3 courses give her the credits she needs to graduate in Alberta. What an accomplishment – a true high school senior!
 
Her story is delightful for so many reasons. She values education, has never given up, persists through many difficulties, and is truly “living the dream”. We don’t know all the influences she has had on her fellow students, but I do know of one person who went and got his high school equivalency after hearing her story. The students enjoy and accept her; she has bonded with some and is truly a part of the classroom experience. She is a wonderful example
of lifelong learning in action. What an inspiring role model for my other students and anyone who hears her story. The ripple effect will happen – it already has.
 
Too often we think about and talk about our dreams but the years go by and they remain dreams. I hope this story inspires you to look at the things you have always wanted to do and perhaps get at them and fulfill them. If you were to ask Claire what she thinks, she would tell you to just get started and see what happens. You know the saying……“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-tzu
 
So, start the journey whatever your dream. God will help you.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.