Back to school!

Parents, kids and the just plain curious thronged School District 19’s new Begbie View Elementary School for the traditional Mug and Muffin event on the first day of the 2012-13 school year and for a chance to see the inside of the facility. David F. Rooney photo

By David F. Rooney

Excitement was in the air at all of the city’s elementary schools as children and parents thronged them for the start of the 2012-2013 school year.

Their first day of school was a short one but it was particularly exciting at the new Begbie View Elementary nd the brand-new French language school Ecole des Glaciers (Glacier School) which is operating out of Arrow Heights Elementary.

“I woke up feeling excited and I’m even more excited seeing all of you here today,” said BVE Principal Shan Jorgenson-Adam as she welcomed parents, kids and the just plain curious into the gleaming new gymnasium.

Despite a few things that need to be fixed, like the PA system, and the playground and playing fields, which need to be finished, hundreds of adults and children oohed and aahed at the new facility.

And well they should have. The school is beautiful and SD Chairman Alan Chell was justifiably proud of both the facility and the staff who have been intimately involved with its construction.

“Our staff have been magnificent,” he said. “Look at Earl Woodhurst (the district vice-principal who over saw the entire elementary and secondary school project). He’s handled the project in a thoroughly professional manner. I don’t think he took any time off this summer.”

The other source of excitement was the new Ecole des Glaciers, which is located at Arrow Heights Elementary where it will offer French-language education to Francophone children. Constitutionally mandated, this is not an intensive-learning program. Francophones have a right to education in their own language and this one-room school, operated by the Conseil Scolaire Francophone, delivers that.

According to CSF spokesman Pierre Claveau this is the first new Francophone school to be set up since Nelson received its school in 2006.

“This really is a big deal,” Claveau said. “We now have 4,800 students up from 4,600 last year.”

The CSF appreciates SD 19’s cooperation in establishing this school and looks forward to “contributing towards the enrichment of the local community,” he said.

The school’s teacher, Julie Martel agrees and thinks the school, which has 10 students in Kindergarten, Grade One and Grade Two, is a great addition to Revelstoke, which has a growing French-speaking community.

“This is great for the entire community,” she said, adding that the Anglophone teachers and children at AHE have been very supportive and are themselves excited by the opportunity to interact with French-speaking kids.

All in all it was an exciting day, moments of which you can see below:

The Mug & Muffin event is always an opportunity for parents, teachers and children to socialize on the first day back. Here Sally Carmichael (left) snaps a photo of her friends Andre and Krista Cadieux and their kids. David F. Rooney photo
Free muffins and juice! Perfect for young kids with hollow legs. David F. Rooney photo
At 10 am sharp the doors were opened and the crowd surged into BVE. David F. Rooney photo
BVE Librarian Eleanor Wilson multi-tasks taking pictures with her point and shoot and directing people towards the gleaming new gymnasium. David F. Rooney photo
What a crowd! Principal Shan Jorgenson-Adam welcomes parents, kids and others to the city’s brand-new school. David F. Rooney photo
Here’s another view of the crowd. David F. Rooney photo
Shan introduces all of the staff, both well-known and long-time teachers and residents as well as the newcomers to our community, at Begvie View Elementary. David F. Rooney photo
For the most part the children focused on what their principal was saying, but a few couldn’t help wondering why photographers were taking pictures of them. David F. Rooney photo
Shan likes starting the school year by reading a story to the children during the first assembly of the year. This year’s tale? Back to School Rules by author Laurie Friedman. Kind of appropriate, don’t you think? David F. Rooney photo
Kindergarten teacher Linda Dickson leads some her new pupils and their moms through the hallways to her new classroom. David F. Rooney photo
Once the assembly was over at BVE, SD 19 Chairman Alan Chell (center) and Superintendent Anne Cooper attended the opening of Ecole des Glaciers (Glacier School) the new French-language school which is operating out of a classroom at Arrow Heights. Here they pose with Mario Cyr (left), superintendent of the Conseil Scolaire Francophone, Roger Hebert (second from the right) vice-president of the Conseil, and Vice-principal Chantale Desmarais. The newly opened school offers French-language education to Francophone families in Revelstoke. David F. Rooney photo
Parents and children enjoy the opening of the Ecole des Glaciers as its teacher, Julie Martel is interviewed by a reporter for Radio Canada. Julie has been in Revelstoke for a couple of years and previously taught at the French language school in Canmore, Alberta. David F. Rooney photo
Meanwhile, over at Columbia Park Elementary, students enjoyed their very first recess of the year. David F. Rooney photo
The first day of school was an abbreviated one, with kids — like these at Arrow Heights Elementary — returning home at 12:30 pm. David F. Rooney photo