Many changes are coming to Riverside’s Science department by the end of this school year. The school will be saying goodbye to two great science teachers, one of whom is Gary Horton. After teaching at Riverside for 24 years, he is set to retire at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
Horton has taught at a few schools during his 32 years of teaching. Before teaching at Riverside, he taught at Sutherland Secondary in North Vancouver. At Sutherland, he taught math and senior biology and then became the head of the department. After taking a year of absence from Sutherland Secondary, he transferred to and will finish his teaching career at Riverside. He came to Riverside on the day the school opened in 1998, minus one day.
Horton chose to be a teacher because of his love for human anatomy and psychology. Before teaching at high schools, he worked for SURGIKOS; a Johnson and Johnson’s surgical company division, and taught doctors how to surgically drape for surgery. He began teaching at Riverside in the Science department and has taught many students throughout his teaching career, hoping he has made an impact from his classes. “I love the content and hoped to transfer some of that passion to my students. I’ve always enjoyed teaching young adults and it’s been exciting knowing that it was an introduction to science, to the human body and to psychology that turned many of students continuing in those areas,” said Horton.
Grade 12 Biology students, April Lavanchy and Aliya Dif commented on Horton’s passion for teaching. “When we started the Neurology unit, he had so much enthusiasm that rubbed off, especially when it came to the sheep’s brain dissection lab,” said Lavanchy. Dif agrees, adding that Horton puts a lot of effort into his planning and lessons. “The chicken wing dissection – all bought with his own money – was a standout!”
One of Horton’s favorite memories at Riverside was going on the Orlando Trips with other Riverside teachers, such as Science department colleague, Brenda Yorke. “There are so many first experiences for students on this trip, it is rewarding to see them try new things and make great, lasting friendships,” said Yorke.
Another standout for Horton has been mentoring new teachers. “I always book a day in August where I can give them a little tour of the school and brag about the school,” he said. “I think when you’re becoming a schoolteacher, to witness what professional schoolteachers all are about, Riverside is the place to be.”
During his retirement, Horton plans on spending time with his grandchildren and traveling back to England. “I’m hoping that I will rub off on my kids because of course when my dad passed away, my kids talked about all the things Grandpa did, and I’m hoping that that’s the way it will be for me, being remembered as an awesome Grandpa!”
One message Horton has for the students at Riverside is to enjoy and experiment with high school along with making new friends. “For most people, the friends and experiences you make at high school, will stay with all your life.”
Riverside thanks Horton for all his years of commitment to the school and his students, and we wish him the best in his retirement.