Family and friends of those featured in the portraits, including Antoinette Austin (pictured, closest to right) pose for a group photo at the Honouring our Elders event held Oct. 11 at SSS in Smithers. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Family and friends of those featured in the portraits, including Antoinette Austin (pictured, closest to right) pose for a group photo at the Honouring our Elders event held Oct. 11 at SSS in Smithers. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Smithers Secondary School honours Antoinette Austin, Bill Goodacre in annual portrait project

Austin worked for a number of years as a teacher at Moricetown Elementary School (MES)

At their annual “Honouring Our Elders” project Smithers Secondary School (SSS) paid tribute to two well-known Smithereens with portraits painted by students.

Every two years since 2006 the program has selected two local elders, one from the Indigenous (Wet’suwet’en) and one from the non-Indigenous communities, who have “proven to be an invaluable citizen and inspiration.”

READ MORE: Elders honoured with Smithers Secondary project

This year’s selections were Former Smithers’ town councillor and MLA Bill Goodacre and now-retired Moricetown Elementary School (MES) teacher Antoinette Austin.

The portraits of Goodacre and Austin were painted by SSS students Jessica Nelson and Lindsey Pierce, respectively.

“This important project connects cultures and it bridges generations for our youth and for all of us, actually, to become more aware of the contributions of our elders in our community,” said Perry Rath, an art teacher at SSS and the project’s co-founder and co-ordinator.

“The students painters typically do not know the elders when they begin this project over time and over the intimate act of painting they get to know their images and develop a desire to learn about the person behind the portrait.”

Sadly Goodacre passed away while this portrait was in progress, however, his son Murray Goodacre took the stage to say a few words about his father before the portrait was unveiled.

“I still remember that evening … spending our final moments with him and thinking to myself do we issue a press release?

“This was the quandary we had, he was our father but he was also so much to so many other people.”

Murray said while the outpouring of responses following his father’s death was not something they would have predicted, it didn’t surprise them one bit.

READ MORE: Smithers Secondary elders portrait unveiling

As for the funeral venue, many suggested one of the Town’s arenas for the services due to the large size of the potential attendance.

However, the family had other plans.

“We knew the [Dze Ḻ Kant] Friendship Centre would have been his only choice.”

In preparing for the ceremony Murray said he was constantly taken aback by the response to Bill’s passing.

People involved with the proceedings suggested the family make a lot more bereavement cards than usual.

They did.

“A few days later we were told we should double that number.”

Smithers NDP MP candidate for Skeena-Bulkley Valley Taylor Bachrach was also in attendance at the unveiling.

He told one story in particular about Bill, who would ride his bicycle downtown, getting around everywhere by bike for many years.

One day someone stole Bill’s bike, at which point Bachrach said he found Bill walking.

“I ran into [him] and I’m like, ‘Bill why are you walking, where’s your bike?’ and he said, ‘Oh it appears that someone needed it more than me.’”

“I always think of Bill in those moments when he was unphased by the turns that life took.”

Bachrach also mentioned how proud he knew Bill was to have had Goodacre Place named after him.

“He was in the Bulkley Lodge near the end of his life and he phoned me up one day and you could just tell he was so excited, he wanted to tell me.

“He was so touched and honoured and I know he was touched and honoured by this honouring here today.”

Austin was also present at the event and told her own story of growing up attending many different schools within the district.

She discussed both the many hardships she faced as a schoolgirl and the incredible people she met along the way.

“Thank you very much for this honour, it’s an incredible honour, I do not take this lightly,” she said.

“For that quiet little girl who walked the hallways of all those schoolsin School District 54 to be put on the wall, I’m blessed.”

The portraits will be displayed on the outside wall by the front entrance of SSS.

 

Bill Goodacre’s portrait painted by SSS student Jessica Nelson with Murray Goodacre, Bill’s son (pictured, closest to left) and a number of friends and family at the Honouring our Elders event held Oct. 11 at SSS in Smithers. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Bill Goodacre’s portrait painted by SSS student Jessica Nelson with Murray Goodacre, Bill’s son (pictured, closest to left) and a number of friends and family at the Honouring our Elders event held Oct. 11 at SSS in Smithers. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Smithers Secondary School honours Antoinette Austin, Bill Goodacre in annual portrait project

Bill Goodacre’s portrait painted by SSS student Jessica Nelson. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Bill Goodacre’s portrait painted by SSS student Jessica Nelson. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Antoinette Austin (left) and Alphonse Gagnon (right) stand beside a portrait of Austin painted by SSS student Lindsey Pierce. (Trevor Hewitt photo)                                Antoinette Austin (left) and Alphonse Gagnon (right) stand beside a portrait of Austin painted by SSS student Lindsey Pierce. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Antoinette Austin (left) and Alphonse Gagnon (right) stand beside a portrait of Austin painted by SSS student Lindsey Pierce. (Trevor Hewitt photo) Antoinette Austin (left) and Alphonse Gagnon (right) stand beside a portrait of Austin painted by SSS student Lindsey Pierce. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

The portraits of Goodacre and Austin painted by SSS students Jessica Nelson and Lindsey Pierce, respectively. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

The portraits of Goodacre and Austin painted by SSS students Jessica Nelson and Lindsey Pierce, respectively. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

The portraits of Goodacre and Austin painted by SSS students Jessica Nelson and Lindsey Pierce, respectively. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

The portraits of Goodacre and Austin painted by SSS students Jessica Nelson and Lindsey Pierce, respectively. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Just Posted

The Red Chris open pit mine approximately 80 km south of Dease Lake. The province and Tahltan will start negotiations on the first consent-based decision-making agreement ever to be negotiated under DRIPA with regards to two mining projects in northern B.C. (Newcrest Mining photo)
B.C. to begin DRIPA-based negotiations with Tahltan First Nation on two northwest mining projects

Negotiations on Red Chris and Eskay Creek mines to commence soon in accordance with Section 7 of DRIPA

President of the Tahltan Central Government, Chad Norman Day, surveys Tahltan territory by helicopter in this July 2019 handout photo. The Tahltan Nation and the British Columbia government have struck what officials say is a historic agreement for shared decision-making for the nation’s territory in northwestern B.C., a hot spot for mineral exploration. Day says the deal shows they are “getting closer and closer to a true nation-to-nation relationship.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Tahltan Central Government
Tahltan Nation, B.C. government sign agreement for shared decision-making

Deal commits the province and the northwest B.C. nation to developing a land-use plan

Tahltan First Nation wildlife guardian, Jarett Quock, above and below right, was awarded the Outstanding Individual Leadership Award by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative on June 3. (Photos courtesy Adam Amir)
Tahltan wildlife guardian receives outstanding leadership award

Jarett Quock’s contributions were recognised by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative

Taylor Bachrach, NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley addresses Parliament on June 7, in call for the federal government to stop fighting Indigenous children in court and to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action. (Image: supplied from Facebook)
NDP motion calling for immediate reconciliation action passes

Skeena-Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach addresses federal Parliament

The farmhouse in Glentanna where the founding meeting of the Bulkley Valley Credit Union took place on April 14, 1941. (BV Museum archive)
Bulkley Valley Credit Union announces finalists for legacy project donation

Community can vote for one of the three finalists from each area

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. The website for a Broadway theatre showing "Springsteen on Broadway" said it would only allow guests "fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine" — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
No Springsteen for you: AstraZeneca not good enough to qualify for Broadway ticket

Victoria area mayor among those unable to attend New York entertainment due to COVID-19 restriction

The BC Ferries’ website is down for the second time in one week from what they say is likely an overwhelming increase in web traffic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Surging web traffic crashes BC Ferries’ site again

Website down for second time this week

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
PODCAST: John Furlong lays out a ‘provincial’ B.C. plan to host the 2030 Winter Olympics

Podcast: Chat includes potential role for Vancouver Island communities

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Most Read