Kumsheen Secondary’s 10 Year Grad Reunion and Retirement Celebration

Yesterday evening I had the very great honour of returning to my hometown, Lytton BC and MC’ing a ten year grad reunion along with a retirement celebration for one of my teacher-mentors. This was truly an honour for me to be invited to this event and then to be asked to MC it…so cool.

Now before I toot my own horn too loudly, I was asked to be the MC because everyone else had already said “No way.” The deal was that if I said I could not/would not MC, then I had to find someone else to MC. Seeing as I was the last person from Lytton asked to MC the event, there was nobody for me to ask, therefore I was the MC. Not that I minded so much; I kind of like standing at the mic and talking to a crowd…hard to imagine but it is true.

The grad reunion brought most of the grads from ten years ago together for an evening of story telling, laughing and sharing. My connection to this grad class was somewhat tenuous at best. The year they graduated was my first year as a secondary school teacher. Yes, I had taught a semester of elementary school before arriving in Lytton but this was my first year with “big kids.”

To make things even more challenging for me, I was hired a couple of weeks into September of the school year to replace a teacher who was, and still is arguably the most well loved teacher to ever teach in Lytton. She is a hero in the eyes of many of the people who have graduated from Kumsheen Secondary. She is one of the teachers who taught me to be a better human being and teacher.

So here I come wandering into the classroom to replace this hero-teacher and the kids who have signed up for the class I am to teach are only interested in the class because our hero is teaching it…and there is me standing at the front of the room. It was a challenge. For me and the students. By the end of the school year I am sure they did not hate me quite so much. Of course I could never compare to our hero-teacher but I did my best. As did the students.

At any rate, last night the grads all got up, one by one as I asked them to (I do not remember them listening to me so well when I was their teacher). Each grad shared a quick little story about where they are in life and what they are up to now, ten years after their grad. Perhaps the best story shared by a grad was her memory of learning to skin a moose while attending Kumsheen. Funny to think back to some of the lesson plans. Some things you could never get away with teaching in the city. I truly appreciated the kind words that they all spoke about the value of their education. Looking back ten years I feel honoured to have been part of their school education.

The individual who was retiring  was one of my former colleagues from Kumsheen Secondary. Ms McD has been a teacher in Lytton for as long as written records have been kept. It is rumoured that she came to Lytton along with Simon Fraser, the explorer who the Fraser River is named after. Of course these are only unsubstantiated rumours. I asked her last night if perhaps she was a vampire because as a little kid I remember Mrs McD being just the same as she is now. She has not aged a bit. 

Mrs McD's Final Lecture
Mrs McD's Final Lecture

Well I left my solitary life as a teacher in Lytton after a couple or three or four years. My family in the Big Smoke (that is what anybody from the other side of Hope calls everything this side of Hope) needed me…as did a little lady who tugged at my heart and made me feel “all funny” inside when I heard her voice.

It was with a very real sense of sadness that I left my hometown of Lytton. Of course I was moving on to other cool and exciting adventures, but I still feel sad to have left my hometown.  I loved teaching there and I loved being part of the community. Lytton, and all the people from Lytton, are and always will be very close to my heart.