At the end of second semester of the 2018 school year, Ms. Lori Leonard announced her retirement from Riverside, after 38 years since she first started teaching in the school district. Throughout her 19 years at Riverside, Leonard has made many meaningful connections with the students and staff. She will especially be missed by Riverside’s English department. Even though she is no longer teaching at Riverside, her impact will continue to be remembered by the students and staff for many years.
Before teaching at Riverside, Leonard taught at an elementary school for 17 years. She taught a variety of subjects, such as Humanities, PE, Music, Drama and French. She also taught at an elementary school for two years, where she taught everything with a PE and Music specialty. She was inspired to become a teacher, because she enjoyed having an opportunity to teach dance to a class of students. “It was part of a project I was working on at SFU. I loved it and it caused me to switch my major from archaeology/anthropology to Education and English,” said Leonard.
After she transferred to Riverside, Leonard taught solely in the English department. She had the opportunity to work with like-minded colleagues and teach students valuable writing and literary skills. “I would hope that my students appreciated literature as a way to understand the world,” said Leonard. She also hopes that she was able to encourage her students to become stronger writers, so that they could better communicate their ideas.
During her time at Riverside, Leonard coached Track and Field and helped sponsor the Christian Prayer Club. She thought it was a great experience and enjoyed coaching the Track and Field team.
In addition, Leonard’s favourite memory from Riverside was the many Antigone Trials presented by the English Honours 12 classes. “They were awesome learning experiences and always very entertaining,” said Leonard. This project is very popular and looked forward to by English 12 Honours students every year.
As she begins her retirement, she is looking forward to the opportunity to relax in her spare time. She plans to do more travelling and visit different cultures around the world. She also plans to continue running 5km every day and hiking. In addition, Leonard is enjoying spending time with her family and becoming more involved in the activities at her church. She would also like to apply to be a part-time TOC.
A piece of advice Leonard would like to offer to the teachers and students at Riverside is that sometimes it’s very easy to become stressed in the process of education, that we sometimes lose focus on taking time to relax and embrace life. “I now see how important it is to have balance. That is what I would pass on to people. Embrace balance,” said Leonard.
We wish Leonard all the best for her retirement!