New Cedar Grove principal Olwen Cowan calls the school the “Hub of the Community.” Walking around the sprawling premises, complete with vegetable gardens, landscaped areas and large playing field, I’d say that’s an accurate description. Located beside the Frank West Community Centre and Firehall, along with two large playing fields, it’s the closest Elphinstone has to a community hub. With 255 students and 35 education staff, not to mention custodians and office staff, it is a busy community all on its own.
Ms. Cowan, who came here from Burnaby, took over from beloved principal Barry Krangle and plans to carry on with his vision of experiential learning. Her background includes special education, gifted education and mentoring. She has taught in a number of schools in Burnaby and New Westminster but says that the Cedar Grove hot lunch program is the best she’s come across. Hard-working parents run that and the breakfast program, to which all students are welcome.
When asked what excites her about Cedar Grove, Principal Cowan immediately mentioned plans for the school year like celebrating the seasons, a “week without walls,” and the Lantern Festival – which will happen on Feb. 27, 2020 (more on that in an upcoming column). She also spoke about collaborating with teachers to develop a school growth plan. Her number one priority though, is the students and encouraging them to “work to their best level and become passionate about learning.”
The day I visited, Ms. Cowan was eager to take me around the school and showed me an incubator with newly-hatched chicks in the kindergarten area. Students were busy in the library, casting their own votes ahead of the election. In reading a copy of the monthly newsletter, I noticed that this term’s key word is kindness and I saw many examples of that on my visit. Parents can see what’s happening at the school through the website: cedar-grove.sd46.bc.ca or twitter: @CedarGroveSD46 which is updated frequently.
An old-time cottager from Hopkins Landing, Jim Thomson, phoned me to correct something from a previous column; he said there was no mill at Chaster Falls – the boiler, etc., there were for hauling equipment up the flume. He told me he had walked every inch of the flume on Mount Elphinstone. Like his well-known son, Ian Thomson, Jim was a teacher and is a fount of historical knowledge, which he’s written about in a book entitled, Dear James. Written to his grandson, it can be found in the Museum and Archives in Gibsons. One nugget he told me was that a four-pound tin of strawberries from the Co-operative Cannery on Henry Road could be had for 95 cents.
The November meeting of the Elphinstone Community Association (ECA) is Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., Frank West Hall, so come out and hear the latest news. The ECA is pleased to announce that the date of the November Social will be Saturday, Nov. 23, 5 to 9 p.m. at Chaster House. Bring a potluck item to share. This is a “green” event, so bring your own plate, cutlery and cup. The ECA will provide coffee, tea and juice. Director Donna’s October newsletter is now available at: https://everythingelphinstone.ca
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