Prince Rupert schools staying positive as they prepare for change

French poet, journalist and novelist Anatold France once said, “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is part of ourselves…”

French poet, journalist and novelist Anatold France once said, “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is part of ourselves…”

This rings true to any students and teachers that will be affected by the coming changes next September, when Westview Ecole will officially be closed and Prince Rupert Secondary School will be repurposed into a middle school.

Last week the Prince Rupert Northern View sat down with Westview principal Andrée Michaud, and PRSS principal Sheila Wells to discuss what both schools are doing to help prepare their students for these changes, as well as how both schools are trying to stay positive about the coming events.

“It’s been an interesting year. I’m very proud with everybody’s reaction to the situation. Instead of looking backwards, and thinking ‘poor us’, we’ve all made a very big effort for the kids to say let’s look forward and let’s look at it as an experience and a new journey. That’s what has been keeping our sanity and keeping it positive for the kids,” explained Westview Principal Andrée Michaud, who has been the principal of the school for four years now, but has been employed at the school for 20 years.

“This has been my home.”

To help prepare younger students, who will be transferred to either Pineridge Elementary or Roosevelt Park Elementary, for the changes they will be seeing next school year, Westview, Pineridge and Roosevelt have been hosting liaison activities since the beginning of the school year to help ensure students are familiar with their new schools and peers. These activities included a number of fun events such as movie nights and craft nights, as well as inviting students from Pineridge and Roosevelt to the school’s annual Carnaval event held in January. Michaud mentioned that most of the events the school held were well attended, depending on what the events were.

“No matter how we feel as adults about the school or our second home closing, the kids are first and we need to support them. That’s why we have done so many activities…We are trying to be as prepared as possible,” said Michaud.

As for the older students currently being educated at Westview, and all other grade five to grade eight students in the district; they recently visited what will become Prince Rupert Middle School in order to become more acquainted to the school by partaking in a scavenger hunt. Additionally, Michaud and Ken Minette, who will become the administrators at PRMS, have visited each elementary school to talk to future middle school students, as well as holding information meetings for parents. Additionally, Michaud will be responsible for the French Immersion program at all three levels of schools.

“The students seem excited about the changes because they are taking lead from the adults. From the start of the school year in September, I told staff that [the changes] are about the kids not the adults. If we show the kids that it’s an exciting experience [they will follow our example]. If we show anxiety and are worrying, the kids will follow that,” Michaud said, adding, “We don’t want to create anxiety for the kids.”

Prince Rupert Secondary School Principal, Sheila Wells, who has been employed at the school for the past 33 years and has been principal for the last nine years, says although the changes are hard for her, she is trying to stay positive and look forward to the future.

“I’m looking forward to the year and what it brings, and seeing how the students react and how the strengths of the teachers meld. Hopefully we’ll have some better programs and better place for kids overall,” she said.

PRSS has been preparing students for the changes by holding joint course selection meetings, having each grade that will be attending CHSS this September go over to the school for grade assemblies, as well as visits through the school. There have also been joint high school events like NHL hockey game nights, where students can watch NHL games together in order to become more acquainted with one another. As well, the school has been hosting the usual events such as joint dances and a talent show.

“There have been mixed reactions. Some students are excited, and some teachers are excited, and others aren’t. I think any time there is change it’s hard on people. I think the kids will adjust the easiest; it will be harder on the adults to make the adjustments. It’s like I said to the graduating students in my address to them [at their commencement ceremony]; when one door closes, another one opens. I’m not saying there won’t be struggles and rough spots but if we keep an open mind to it in the long run it will be better for the kids. In the end I think this is what we needed to do,” explained Wells, who will become the Associate Principal at CHSS in September along side Sandy Jones who will be part-time

Principal.

To commemorate PRSS’s final year as a high school, there will be an open house in the school’s main gym on June 15 starting at six p.m. until eight p.m. where members of the community can visit the school, view work on displays, purchase PRSS clothing and other memorabilia, as well as indulge in nostalgia and cake.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

Prince Rupert lawyer, Donald A. Silversides has been appointed to the BC Liberals Election Organizing Committee, announced the party on Jan 21. (Contributed photo)
Don Silversides appointed to BC Liberal election organizing committee

Prince Rupert lawyer is the current BC Liberals acting president

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Rose Sawka, a 91-year old Acropolis Manor resident received her COVID-19 vaccination on Jan. 20, one day after an outbreak was declared at the long-term care facility. Her son Terry Sawka visited with her through the window, like she is seen in an Oct. 2020 photo. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Acropolis Manor COVID-19 cases jump to 20 confirmed

Prince Rupert long term care facility received vaccinations

Illicit drug use has spread in the Northern Health region and overdose emergency calls increased in Prince Rupert by 29.5 per cent from 2019 to 2020. (Photo:THE NEWS/files)
Overdose emergency calls in Prince Rupert spikes by 43.6 % in five years

Northern Health issues illicit drug use warnings

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read