Hundreds of teachers and school board staff were treated to a barbeque on Friday at the Prince Albert Collegiate Institute to ring in the new school year.
“It’s a welcome back for all of our staff. That includes not only teachers, but bus drivers, secretaries, caretakers -- everyone,” Saskatchewan Rivers School Division board chair Barry Hollick said.
It was the second year the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division had held the barbecue.
“Because all of our staff is in town for the teachers’ convention, and they have to eat lunch anyway, we thought we’d provide it for them as a thank you for all the things they do.”
Teachers and other staff members deserve a thank you, Hollick said, because they often do more than what is required of them, buying supplies for students who can’t afford them or giving away lunches and snacks.
David Seto, a math teacher at Meath Park Public School, said that passing on knowledge to young people is a rewarding experience.
The welcome-back barbecue was a good chance to see old colleagues and network with other teachers, he added.
The welcome-back barbecue started as a result of the provincial government’s recent changes to the school year, Hollick said.
For eight years, ending two years ago, the welcome back get-together had been held at Carlton Comprehensive High School, where a motivational speaker would rev up everyone’s spirits for the new school year.
However, when the provincial government made the school year uniform across the province -- requiring that classes to start after Labour Day -- the Sask Rivers school board was forced to reorganize things, Hollick said.
The government’s changes meant that there were suddenly more days in late August when students were not at school, he added.
The teachers’ convention, which used to take place in spring, was moved to the beginning of the school year; this year it will be held on the Friday before Labour Day. That means the welcome-back barbecue is a bit different.
There was no motivational speaker -- teachers will have to wait for the convention for that -- but the sun and the burgers seemed to have everyone in high spirits.