Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Remembering Lorne Bodin

Below are some photos from the Celebration of Life for Lorne Bodin.  It was indeed a fitting tribute to a great human being.  Thanks to everyone for being there, and a special thanks to Mr. Alan Hay for the fantastic photographs.

Lorne's favourite toy (his bike)
The Bodin family
Laughs from the crowd
Jan and Kerri Bodin
Opening Prayer by Mrs. Catherine Fenn
Dr. Harold Nordan
Dr. Nestor Korchinsky
Mr. Brent Berry
Mr. Gary Fuller
Mr. David Fromager "You Raise Me Up"
Mr. Robin Fenn
Mr. Bert Wiens and Ms. Rose Sebellin
 Robbie Armstrong
Manraj Sidhu
McNair Vocal Choir "Hallelujah"
Mr. Paul Schaap
Mr. Rick Hansen, "Hello, my friend"
Rick comforts the family
Mr. Greg Bodin
"Cheers, to a life well-lived!"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thank you

Just a quick note of thanks to each of the many people who helped plan and orchestrate the exceptionally moving Celebration of Life in honour of  Lorne Bodin.  The event was extremely well-attended, and I know that every audience member was touched and could appreciate and identify with every one of the gracious and sincere speakers who took to the stage and spoke of their time with Lorne.

Also, as Greg Bodin spoke about so eloquently in his remarks, the family wishes to thank everyone who did so much to support Lorne and the family through this very challenging time.  Without using names (because there are too many to mention) the visits, calls, food, cards, thoughts, prayers, and being there at the celebration of a life well-lived, were all very much appreciated by the Bodin family.  Your efforts and attendance spoke to how great a friend he was, and how large his impact on so many lives.

Lorne was not always comfortable with some of the attention that was sent his way over the last little while, and certainly would never have wanted a celebration of his life to be anything more than a few people talking quietly amongst each other.  However, if he could have seen the event yesterday, I think he would have felt good about the many lives he so positively affected.

Again, thanks to all who aided in the delivery of the program (behind the scenes, out front and in the audience), and know that your efforts in acknowledging a great man were much appreciated.

As Lorne would say, "Thank you, my friends.  All will be good...."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Saturday, January 22nd

Some special information regarding the Celebration of Life in honour of Lorne Bodin:

  • The program will begin at 3pm and guests may view it from one of two locations (live in the large gym and by video in the small gym).

  • Approximately 600 seats will be reserved for family, friends, and colleagues of the Bodin family in the large gym, leaving 300 seats in the bleachers and 600 seats/and or standing room in the small gym for all other guests.
  • After the service all guests are invited to stay and visit in the foyer for light refreshments, to sign the guest book, and to make donations to the Lorne Bodin Memorial Scholarship or the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

There will be no parking available at McNair school or the adjacent church parking lot as these spots are reserved for family, personal guests, and speakers. Please consider car pooling, cycling, or walking to the service if you are able. Thank you for being a part of this special event.  The family looks forward to seeing you at the service.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Celebration of Life

There is a planned Celebration of Life in honour of Lorne Bodin.

Location:        Matthew McNair Secondary School
                      9500 No. 4 Road, Richmond, BC
Date:              Saturday, January 22nd
Time:             3:00pm- Service in the large gymnaium
                      (overflow seating in the second gym)
                      Refreshments to follow in main foyer

We look forward to seeing his family, friends and many of his students and colleagues there as we pay tribute to a great human being.

PS-No ties!  Lorne hated them!!!

Many people have been inquiring about making donations to a scholarship in Lorne's name.  There will be one set up, and if you are interested, donations are being accepted by Glenn Kishi in the Richnmond School Board Office.  Below are the details of how to make a contribution:

Lorne Bodin Memorial Scholarship
The Richmond School District will be honouring Lorne with the establishment of a scholarship in his name. 
Donations to this scholarship can be made to:
The Richmond School District  #38
Memo: Lorne Bodin Memorial Scholarship

Please send any donations to:
The Lorne Bodin Memorial Scholarship
c/o Glenn Kishi – District Administrator,
Richmond School District,
7811 Granville Avenue,
Richmond, BC,  V6Y3E3

Tax receipts will be issued to any donations over $20.00

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sad News

A few days ago, I wrote on this blog about a friend to many, Lorne Bodin, and the battle he was waging with cancer.  I wrote of all that he meant to me and to so many others.  It is with a very heavy heart that I have to share the news that he passed away peacefully in the early evening of January 5th, surrounded by his loved ones.  Below is the obituary written by his family.

Many of you will have heard by now that Lorne’s battle with cancer ended January 5. He was determined to face this challenge with dignity and humour, and he did so to the end. He died peacefully in Richmond Hospital attended by Jan, Kerri and Greg. Lorne’s character was not affected by his disease, and he was gracious and concerned with the well being of others until the very end. We would like to thank all of you who have supported us, who have prayed, visited, and given of yourselves and your gifts.

At this point, the details of a service in his memory are being finalized, and once confirmed will be posted here.  The family would like to thank all of you who have supported Lorne and them as they go through this very difficult time.  We look forward to seeing many of you at his service in the very near future.  Please check here again for details in the upcoming days.

Be good to yourselves and to one another.

The Richmond Review also has a couple of nice stories, written by Martin van den Hemel, reflecting on Lorne's life, posted here and here.  The Richmond News also has an article, written by Michelle Hopkins, posted here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An Invitation

Over the holidays, I was at a house party with a small group of friends, and was introduced to the concept of using Twitter and Blogging as a Professional development tool (I know, I know....sounds like a fun dinner party!).  A couple of days into the break, I decided to sit down at the computer and try to figure out what all the fuss was about.  While I had heard of Twitter and had seen a few friends attempts at Blogging, I was more than a little reserved about the potential it held for me as a professional.  I am now 2 weeks into the process, and while I have only offered up a few "tweets" and this is just my fourth blog post (I am very much a neophyte, still learning all the abilities both tools possess), I can whole-heartedly endorse what I have seen. 

I will confess to never having been a huge Professional Development enthusiast.  I frequently found guest presenters having much sizzle, and not as much substance, and often wondered to myself after attending such workshops, "How much is this going to actually change the practice in my classroom or the school, long term?"  The Pro-D I have been most energized by has come from working closely with our staff at Burnett, discussing topics near and dear to us, and eliciting and responding to student voices that had been raised when we asked them what was working and what needed to be re-examined as far as their education.  That was extremely rich Pro-D, and I feel that those kinds of conversations are being re-ignited for me through my involvement with Twitter.  I have never been as excited about the potential for sustained professional development and sharing ideas and thoughts with colleagues within a school, as well as staying abreast of new ideas around the world, as I am now that I have begun my journey using this tool.  The lack of sustained Pro-D in schools, in my opinion, is because we quite simply don't have enough time to connect with one another and share these thoughts and ideas during the work day, and the busyness of our personal lives gets in the way.  What is most exciting about Twitter and Blogging is that they are available to us whenever we can find the time (open 24 hours a day), and can help broaden our perspectives due to the number of different views/experiences one can encounter.

In the short time I have been engaged in the process, I have connected with some other Richmond educators who blog and use social media (blog-Bernie Soong, twitter-@bsoongIngrid Veilleux, @MmeVeilleuxNeil Kamide, @nskamide and others).  I have also reconnected with former Richmondites now working in other districts (Terry Ainge, @terryaingeChris Kennedy, @chrkennedyAaron Akune@aakune and one-time Breaker, Gino Bondi, @gmbondi to name just a few).  And through my connection to them I have been introduced to some of the brightest and most creative, inspiring minds in education across the rest of Canada (George Couros, @gcouros, Dean Shareski, @shareski, Cale Birk, @birklearns and several others) in the United States (Patrick Larkin, @bhsprincipalJohn Spencer, @johntspencer and more) and around the world (David Truss, @datruss and others I have not yet connected with).  Of course, many of the most well-respected authors and thinkers in the business now are also easily located through their blogs and on Twitter (Ken Robinson, @SirKenRobinsonAlfie Kohn, @alfiekohn, Daniel Pink, @danielpink, the TED Talks, @TED_TALKS and RSA Animate, @theRSAorg organizations plus so many more).  I am so energized by the possibilities that both Twitter and Blogging possess, that I have decided to celebrate its functionality at Burnett, and am hoping to see many of the staff here join in.  While I recognize that many of the people I am following are administrators, I encourage people to set up their own accounts, and follow whomever they are interested in, since it is very easy to locate other professionals who share curricular areas, ideas and practices with you.

Below is a video from YouTube explaining quite well how it is best used by professionals in education.

If you are already a member, I look forward to connecting with you and sharing ideas and thoughts.  If you are not, consider creating an account for yourself and "join the party".

Monday, January 3, 2011

Things I have learned from my friend

For the past several months, a very close friend of mine has been waging a battle with cancer.  He continues to fight, and though sometimes it seems like things are not going his way, he remains positive, upbeat and strong.  That is who he is, and always has been.  I met him about ten years ago, when he was appointed as the Vice-Principal at the school I was working at as a teacher.  Two weeks into the school year, his Vice-principal partner left the school for a position in a nearby district, and I got the opportunity of a lifetime... learning a new job next to a man who, though I didn't know it at the time, embodies so many of the key elements to being a successful educator.  Last year, he was successful in his application to become a Principal, and was set to assume the role in July, but due to the discovery of his illness, he has not yet had the opportunity to sit in the chair.  He is, however, still leading the school through the work he has done throughout his career, and how he has impacted so many of the staff members and students currently in the building.

What have I learned from him?  It is not easy to put into words, since so much of what has always impressed me about him is just how he carries himself, but in the education profession, there are many principles that are so obviously at his core, that you can not help but notice them, even if he never speaks of them.  They include, but are not limited to:

Compassion and patience:  While working together as Vice-Principals, we were sometimes seen as soft on misbehaviour (and who among us has not been accused of this at some point...), but he would constantly remind me that these were kids, and we should expect them to make some mistakes.  We only wanted to help them learn from those mistakes, and it would be difficult to ensure they were learning if we were really hard on them with consequences, or asked them to leave the school after repeated transgressions.  He didn't come up with the saying, but we used to repeat it to one another frequently, "If we are going to make a mistake with a student, we would rather it be we gave him/her one chance too many, not one chance too few." 

Loyalty and Respect:  I have never heard him say a disparaging word about a colleague, even if it were someone he did not agree with.  He is a consummate professional, respecting other people and their desires to be seen as competent at what they do.  If he feels there is something that needs to be addressed, he can do so in a way that leaves people feeling respected, yet aware of things they may need to consider, and he is more than willing to help in this area.  As a result, not only have I never heard him speak ill of someone else, I have never met anyone with anything negative to say about his character.

Caring and sharing:  He has long been involved in supporting various causes around the world and within his community.  We used to team-teach a Leadership 11/12 class, and had the students organize Tsunami relief fundraisers, elementary school support groups, Christmas stocking events to name only a few.  He has also been inclusive of many at-risk students and their families, welcoming them to the school through friendly conversation, even making the effort to go to their homes in attempts to make them feel comfortable.  His caring for others has long been evident in how he goes about his work, and sets a stellar, tangible example for students to follow.

Leading and contributing:  He has always been about setting examples and professionally developing with others.  He has started teacher study groups, been a sponsor for a co-hort of teachers working on their Masters degrees, and is a contributor to a Pro-D newsletter that our district publishes monthly.  He has not yet had the opportunity to start his own blog or create a Twitter account, but was aware of the power of sharing ideas and engaging in stimulating conversation beyond the walls of a school years before social media made it so much easier.

Humor and optimism: He has always been quick to lighten any situation with some self-deprecating humor.  It makes him human, puts his colleagues a little more at-ease, and makes life more enjoyable.  Also, he looks at the bright side of things.  We can all get carried away with despair or concern over how things seem difficult or not working out, but as he would often remind me, "and you're so hard done-by?"  No matter what we face, we can and will do something to make it better.  We always have, and are getting better at doing so all the time.

Asking why (or why not):  He is quick to ask the question, "Why?", because he understands there is an explanation for something, and taking the time to understand it will likely help in coming up with a resolution that is palatable for all involved.  Similarly, he also likes to use the phrase, "Why not?", as if giving permission to people to try something new.  He has never been afraid of looking for different ways, and although not a risk-taker by nature, he is willing to move outside of his comfort zone in pursuing better ways of doing what we do.

Connecting and inspiring:  He always seeks opportunities to get to know students outside of the classroom and let them see who he is and what he believes.  He is always willing to help a group by coaching or sponsoring a team or club, recognizing that these are arenas where students get new opportunities to shine and show some of their otherwise unknown skills, talents and passions.  He is willing to nurture and inspire what he sees through these connections, and that time is appreciated by all those who have had the pleasure of working with him.

In short, he is the kind of person I would want my children to be in the care of during the school day...and isn't that the highest praise we can give to any educator? 

I wanted to write this not as a tribute to him (because it is not a eulogy-he is still fighting hard), but as a reminder of how we need to go about our business.  It is the most important business in the world, but we must not treat it as business.  It involves people and relationships and caring and helping and inspiring.  These are all the things that Lorne Bodin stands for and has for his entire career.  He continues to remind me about the importance of these things and showed me how to do the job using these principles as guidelines.  I think it is incumbent upon all of us to remind others in education about what really matters.

Hang in there, buddy.  Thinking about you everyday.  I am sure you have seen this ad before (since as an avid cyclist, Lance Armstrong is a personal hero of yours), but it applies to you....