Students are now out of school for summer vacation, and even though a portion of this past school year was impacted by COVID-19, plans are already being put into place for staff and students who will be returning in September.
However, one staff person not returning in September is Barriere secondary’s Aboriginal education worker, Don Bowser, who has retired.
Bowser resides in the community of Chu Chua and is a well-known member of the Simpcw First Nation.
It is interesting to note that Bowser’s career in public education started when he graduated from Barriere secondary in 1979. Now, 41 years later, his retirement has taken place at the same school from which he graduated.
Bowser’s career began when he was hired in September of 1988 to support students in both Brocklehurst secondary and A.E. Perry elementary schools in Kamloops, where he worked for eight years. Bowser was then shifted to working only at A.E. Perry, where he continued for another seven years. In 2003, he began working at NorKam secondary, where he remained for nine years, followed by five years at Bert Edwards Science and Technology School.
Bowser’s most recent posting as Aboriginal education worker has been much closer to home — at Barriere secondary for the past three years..
The role of an Aboriginal education worker in the school system is to provide general support to Aboriginal students by assisting with academic, cultural, social and emotional support — and Bowser has consistently supported the students, staff and communities of the school.
Many of Bowser’s co-workers and students are quick to commend him for the caring and dedication that he has provided throughout his career.
“When Don came to Barriere secondary, he was able to combine his vast experience in education, culture and community,” Barriere secondary vice-principal Mark McVittie said. “The knowledge, caring and wisdom that Don brought to those he worked with was always appreciated and will be missed, but we know Don will always be counted on to continue to support the Simpcw and Barriere community.”
Barriere secondary secretary Kris Luison added: "Don deserves to be acknowledged. He is a local Simpcw First Nation educator that has made huge advances in the student’s First Nation cultural involvement at the schools he’s been in. It was wonderful having him here at Barriere secondary and we wish him all the best in the future.”