From Volunteering to an Inspired Vocation

Our Sir Arthur Currie Crew is a mosaic of talented, creative, and hard-working individuals. Each person brings something unique and special to the job that they do. Our educators are often highlighted for their outstanding practice and their bravery for making it public. Our custodial team deserves a medal for maintaining the safety and cleanliness of a building that just happens to have a Childcare Center, a Family Center and seventeen portables. One thousand students tend to create a mess or two each day. Our front office welcome team continues to amaze and impress me with how they greet families by their name, compassionately support students who are not feeling well and patiently manage the diverse needs of eighty adults.

Within our team of eighty, we have two individuals whose journey has been pretty remarkable. Both Cory and Carla started their association with us as involved and interested parent volunteers. Carla stepped up in our first year and tremendously helped with our very first graduation ceremony. It became very evident early on, that she was going to be a force to be reckoned with. She made it very clear that she was going to be involved in her children’s school and we were so appreciative of her help.

The following year, as our School Council expanded, both Carla and Cory played a lead role in helping with initiatives and publicly supporting the school with positivity and lending a hand whenever needed.

When we were able to expand the number of noon hour supervisors, they were a natural fit for the role. As trusted and well-known parents in the community, they had strong relationships with many of the students. We never had to second guess where they were placed and which classes they supported. I loved watching them interact with all our students, but more specifically with some of our students with special needs. They both have a natural, calm presence that makes all students feel safe and loved.

Fast forward to this year when staff shortages are the new reality. Once again, Carla and Cory to the rescue. In addition to their morning and afternoon Kiss/Ride duties ~ where they pleasantly greet families who drive their children to school (and provide road safety tips, every once in awhile) they now cover breaks for our Educational Assistants and on occasion have been placed in classes where ECE and EA assignments have been unfilled. I often watch in amazement as they seamlessly shift into a classroom and instinctively step in, as one of our incredible EAs steps out to have their much-needed break. Our students do not even bat an eye. They know that Carla and Cory are safe adults who know how to care for them. I love watching them interact with students of all ages on the yard, whether it is sharing a joke with our older students or playing tag with our Kindergarten friends. Carla takes her east door first aid duties very seriously as she doles out those “magical” ice packs and affixes those band-aids that do not want to stick very effectively.

On special lunch days (in between everything else that they do) they can be found distributing juice boxes and organizing the parent volunteers who arrive to hand out boxes upon boxes of pizza.

Carla’s creative juices never run dry. She is always looking for the next fundraising idea. Carla is also our strong moral compass who reminds us to share our bounty with others. Our next fundraiser will be supporting another school’s breakfast program. Cory’s connection to the kids is so strong that just prior to Ramadan he donned his apron and served up pancakes to all the grade 8 classes.

I could go on and on about their contributions to the school and I am truly thankful each day for their commitment to our students, our staff, and the broader community.

But what is most remarkable about these two individuals is that, because of their work at our school and the opportunities that they have taken when offered, both have applied and been accepted to the ECE program at Fanshawe for the fall. What started out as volunteering at their children’s school has evolved into following a passion and a career path that neither one of them ever anticipated.

Schools are magical places that inspire. Carla and Cory’s story is a wonderful reminder that both our children and our adults can be inspired to dream and to take on new challenges.