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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

With back to school just underway, I wanted to share a positive story about some local teachers and the experience I had growing up.

When I was a child, I started elementary school as every child does. I went through grades 1, 2, and 3, under the radar. At the end of grade 3, my parents were told that my brother and I were falling behind in school and that they needed to get help to pull us up to where we should be for reading, writing, and math. My mom got hooked on phonics and we began to work on our reading, and writing.

We moved into grade 4 and about part way through the year, we were put into the Special Education Class. They told our parents that my brother and I would need an IEP (Individual Education Plan) and that we would spend the majority of our time in the Special Education Classroom for the foreseeable future.

In the next few years, we had teachers come and go from that classroom. They would stay for 6 months or a year and then off they went.

I went into grade 6 and we got a new teacher in our class. He was a sweet man with a kind face and a big bushy mustache. His name was Larry Gardiner. Most people around here would know Mr. Gardiner as a local farmer, teacher, and an overall wonderful man.

To me, Mr. Gardiner was my hero. Being a kid in special ed came with a lot of bullying. I was bullied for being stupid, being fat, you name it. It was a very tough time for me in elementary school. I struggled so much. Math was just awful for me. When I looked at a page of numbers, it all became so confusing, and I would cry. I did not get it, not one bit.

I had another teacher in grade 6 tell me while we were doing an Entrepreneurship assignment, that I probably will not be going to college and that I should just probably figure out what I wanted to do for a job. I was in grade 6! This really stuck with me for a long time. This was also the same class where I got to come back to do “regular” schoolwork but when I asked questions about the assignment given, I was brushed off and told to go talk to Mr. Gardiner.

Of course, when this happened, I would be upset, frustrated, and made to feel stupid by that particular teacher. I would walk down to the special ed class and Mr. Gardiner was always there to greet me with a smile. He would sit me down, tell me not to worry, and that we would get through the problem or assignment together. Mr. Gardiner was my constant throughout the last 3 crucial years of elementary school. He believed in me, even when I did not even believe in myself. Mr. Gardiner got me through elementary school. He was my saving grace. Without him I would have fallen through the cracks of the education system. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD as a 36-year-old adult. Everything from my childhood now makes sense. I was in a one size fits all school system that did not work for me, because it was not made for me.

When I got into high school, I was able to fight my way through with hard work, quite a bit of crying, and determination and get myself out of special ed. I was able to be in the applied classes with the “regular” kids for the first time in a very long time. I was able to make it through Elmvale High School with the help of wonderful teachers there as well, such as Mr. Lefaive who helped me to discover my love for music and singing, that lasts until this day and Mr. Minty who pushed me to be my best by allowing his classes to redo assignments to get a better mark. He knew I could do better and challenged me on the daily in my later years of high school. I was on the honour roll the last 3 years of high school, which for me was just incredible considering how bad elementary school was.

These are the teachers that helped shape my life and have helped to shape me into who I am today.

I went to college. I have three diplomas. I work full-time as a Library Specialist where I am responsible for tech programming and tech help with seniors.

I love my job, family, and my life.

From the bottom of my heart, I really want to thank the teachers who believed in me, went above and beyond when no one else did. I will be forever grateful.

Submitted by Ashley Prince


Dear Editor:

Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered for her efforts to modernize the monarchy, but at PETA, we will always be grateful that she modernized her wardrobe.

 Queen Elizabeth took the throne at a time when wearing fur was not only acceptable but also desirable. Some years ago, like most of us, she evolved in her thinking on the issue and took the bold step of banning it from the royal wardrobe. When I met her in 1961, while she and Prince Phillip were visiting India, I was sad to hear that she missed her beloved corgis when she traveled, but I didn’t anticipate that she would open her heart to animals who are violently killed for their fur. The Queen’s decision to avoid real fur put her in the company of such public figures as Michelle Obama, Barbara Bush, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, and Princess Diana, all of whom swore off fur.

 PETA’s hat is off to her, and after a respectful interval, PETA U.K. will ask King Charles III to replace the Canadian bear fur used on the King’s Guard’s famous “busby” caps with faux fur. That will help further the Queen’s legacy in a wonderful way.

 Very truly yours, Ingrid Newkirk,

President, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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