Liliana Pesce and her Grade 4-5 class at Muheim Elementary School are once again recipients of the British Columbia Retired Teachers Association (BCRTA) Golden Star Award.
Donna Steeves, the local RTA vice-president, presented the honour to Pesce and the class following the Project Memory performance at Della Herman Theatre June 10 for their positive interactions with the seniors at The Meadows retirement home.
Project memory was a theatrical collaboration between the students and Meadows residents looking at memories and the thread of connection that weaves throughout all of us, old and young.
“As president of the BVRTA (Bulkley Valley Retired Teachers Association) and a BCRTA member it gives me pleasure to know that [Pesce] has continued this endeavour with her current students and the wonderful people at The Meadows,” said Elaine Thompson. “The play helps reinforce how important it is that we all continue to interact in positive ways through multigenerational exposures.”
Pesce and her class also won the same award for their interaction with The Meadows residents in 2017.
It’s an honour to get it again, and appreciate that they recognize the extension to the work that we’ve done,” Pesce said. “I spoke with a gentleman from the BCRTA and he explained the reason that they honoured us with a second was because he saw that we were continuing to do work and I was extending the project by sharing it with other teachers in the province and was trying to promote work between seniors and students.”
Six awards are given annually for programs that “involve interaction between students and seniors at the classroom, department, school, district, or community level and have been in operation for one full school year,” BCRTA literature states.
Thompson said Pesce is also very involved with the awards themselves.
“Liliana has been an active spokesperson for the BCRTA Golden Star Awards as she has presented workshops in other school districts in the province thus spreading the word about the BCRTA Golden Star Award,” Thompson said. “It is rare for a teacher to be a recipient of this award more than once. She very obviously recognizes the importance of children being aware of people of all ages and that this can be accomplished in different ways.”
Thompson also credited Muheim Elementary.
“It is wonderful that [Pesce’s] principal Bev Forster, her staff at Muheim, her students, their parents and the staff at The Meadows and its residents support this positive interaction. It truly makes a difference for many individuals.”
The impact is evidenced by a letter to the editor from the residents at the Meadows, signed simply “Meadows People.”
“It is important to community health that citizens become involved in community-spirited activities like these,” the letter stated. “More importantly those who are instrumental in creating these activities need to receive the acknowledgement they deserve for doing so. Big kudos to Liliana, the teaching assistants who come with the kids, our manager Val, Meadows staff and all the kids who make life at The Meadows a whole lot more fun than it would be otherwise.”
Pesce said it is amazing to see the mutual benefits of the interaction.
“I think there’s learning on both ends,” she said. “I think it’s great for seniors to have the interactions with the young kids and just learn more about technology that we’re using in school and learn more about what the kids’ experiences are in the classrooms. The connections between the seniors and kids too, is like a granparents surogacy program.”