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Halfmoon Happenings: Spotlight on...Lauri Paul

The longtime early childhood educator is retiring from SD46 Dec. 22.

In August, I wrote about Lauri Paul’s volunteering at the Halfmoon Bay Community Association’s summer events. She is that “tell me what you need done!” type of helper and her enthusiasm is contagious. I also mentioned her book, ing, a beautifully written and illustrated creation (which would make a lovely Christmas gift!). This summer, Lauri informed me that she would be retiring from her position with the school district at the end of this year. Her last day is Dec. 22 and so I took it upon myself to learn about Lauri’s amazing career as an early childhood educator. 

Lauri was the first StrongStart Outreach educator, driving the Wonder Wheels bus to children and families from Langdale to Pender Harbour, in parades and special events, and bringing books, toys and joy to children and families across the Sunshine Coast. She was also an innovator, creating Story Walks and Tales and Trails, weaving joyful literacy experiences and a love of nature into her practice. She was the second person in B.C. to offer the Just B4 Preschool program. 

She launched the Gibsons StrongStart Program in 2007, offering a warm, welcoming drop-in program for families with young children, and then went on to open StrongStart in Madeira Park. Since 2020, Lauri has been offering StrongStart in Halfmoon Bay. 

She is an extraordinary educator and author, who has inspired the hearts and minds of children, families, and colleagues alike. Her ability to blend education with play creates an environment where curiosity thrives, and each day becomes full of possibility and discovery. 

Kirsten Deasey, district principal, Learning, Innovation & Child Care, expressed her best wishes to Lauri: “Thank you for inspiring our communities! I wish you all the best in your retirement!” 

Over the past three years, Lauri and I have become friends. It is my hope that we will be spending time together in our new volunteer endeavours next year. Regardless of what you chose to do going forward, Lauri, you will always have my friendship and my support. 

This Friday (the 22nd) is the final day of the HBCA’s Neighbours Helping Neighbours fundraiser for the HMB Community School. I am ecstatic to report that the campaign has already reached its $10,000 target. Donations from residents and businesses have been steady these past few days. As well, I have received an outpouring of donated items for the gift boxes for vulnerable youth. A full list of donors to the campaign will be posted on the HBCA’s website next week. I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all; your gifts mean so much and I can’t even begin to express how grateful we are. Campaign details can be found at 

This is my last article before the holiday break. I wish all the best to you and yours, may peace and contentment always be nearby.