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Blog: Monday, June 6th, 2022

June Announcements

Saying Goodbye

So…this is it. My last year. My last month. I am trying to walk gracefully into the sunset…and retire. As we look at the weirdest wind-up of school, I am trying to get a feel for anything familiar in my long, historic life so far…nope. This is definitely new.  Absolutely, the “once-in-a-hundred-years” kind of thing. When Covid officially started over two years ago, I was 12 hours away from my annual Oregon surf trip.  All I can say is that I am ending my career with a similar water theme—but not the one I expected! 

My first and only year as principal at Upper Sumas has been EPIC on all proportions.  I got to meet 175 wonderful students, dozens of committed staff and parents, and a 100 year old school that used to have a lakefront view.  As fate would have it, the LAKEFRONT returned, a reminder that Mother Nature makes the rules, not us. In the aftermath, I saw floating fridges and soiled equipment everywhere. Everyone lost something, and some of us lost almost everything for a while. We moved FOUR times while the Facilities crew made like worker bees to discard, clean & rebuild our school. Each move meant teachers & students packing up for the new place, and unpacking again.   We were so happy when we could finally return… in four short months. 

The generosity of Canadians is genuine. Throughout our campaign to come back, I heard stories of strangers who became friends by action, serving up hot dogs in Ontario to fundraise for our school, so we could purchase new books. I saw schoolkids in West Vancouver donate dozens of boxes for our classroom libraries, and of high schools in Delta donating to help us replace school supplies. I kept hearing stories of neighbours helping neighbours clean out basements and flooded barns, & moving livestock to higher ground. When we looked at a bleak Christmas for our schoolkids, the Mt Lehman & Upper Sumas PAC put out the call for donations, and every student in our school was able to choose gifts for every member of their family.  Birchwood Dairy, still reeling from the flood, gave us a great discount so every student at school could have an ice cream cone this summer. On the hottest day of the year, I’m going to look forward to it. 

I started as a PE teacher in 1986, teaching everything from Kindergarten to grade 12.  Thirty-two of my thirty-five years have been with Abbotsford kids, coaching everything from rugby to floor hockey to wrestling to Track & Field—all that really mattered was that kids had a chance to push themselves and be proud of their own efforts, and in the process, became part of something bigger than themselves. To belong. Thanks for everything! 

Introducing Principal Soon 

September brings a New Principal to Upper Sumas,  Mr. Galen Soon.  You might have seen him at our Country Fair last week! Mr. Soon is the current principal at Bradner Elementary, so he is familiar with all the good things about country schools! Mr. Soon also was an administrator at Clayburn Middle previously.  His history extends so far back, that one of the Upper Sumas teachers was actually one of his teachers many years ago…can you guess who?  Welcome to Upper Sumas, Mr. Soon! 

Abby Chan, Principal
Upper Sumas Elementary