‘A beautiful dedication to a beautiful person’; Okanagan school opens new outdoor space

Ms. V’s Outdoor Exploration Centre, a new space at Pearson Road Elementary School, was officially opened Nov. 6. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)Ms. V’s Outdoor Exploration Centre, a new space at Pearson Road Elementary School, was officially opened Nov. 6. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Ms. V’s Outdoor Exploration Centre, a new space at Pearson Road Elementary School, was officially opened Nov. 6. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)Ms. V’s Outdoor Exploration Centre, a new space at Pearson Road Elementary School, was officially opened Nov. 6. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Ms. V’s Outdoor Exploration Centre, a new space at Pearson Road Elementary School, was officially opened Nov. 6. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)Ms. V’s Outdoor Exploration Centre, a new space at Pearson Road Elementary School, was officially opened Nov. 6. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Ms. V’s Outdoor Exploration Centre, a new space at Pearson Road Elementary School, was officially opened Nov. 6. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)Ms. V’s Outdoor Exploration Centre, a new space at Pearson Road Elementary School, was officially opened Nov. 6. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

Seeing children grow and flourish in the school system has been a passion of a Kelowna teacher for the past 23 years.

It’s fitting then that a beautiful outdoor learning space has been built in honour of her.

For over three years Isabel Alves-Vicente has been fighting ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a fatal motor neuron disease. However, prior to this her tireless work as a Kindergarten teacher at Pearson Road Elementary School made her beloved by many.

Affectionately known as ‘Miss V’ by most, the new outdoor space was appropriately named Ms. V’s Outdoor Exploration Centre.

Although she couldn’t attend the Nov. 6 opening of the space in person, Alves-Vicente appeared by video and was given a tour of the new space.

She could be heard over the phone thanking everyone for their hard work and dedication, and said she couldn’t wait to see the space when everything is planted in the spring.

READ MORE: Kelowna school to build outdoor exploration centre

Those who graduated from Pearson Road Elementary School years ago fondly remember her as their Kindergarten teacher. And after growing up and sending their children to the same school, they too remembered Alves-Vicente.

“She was beyond loved by the kids. So as they grew through the school, nobody ever forgot her,” said long-time teacher and co-worker, Debbie Dachwitz.

“She always called the kids her family; they were her school family, and they were a family in the classroom.”

Story continues below.

Isabel Alves-Vicente. (Contributed)


Over the years, word of her passion has spread far beyond the students and staff. When the surrounding community first found out about her ALS diagnosis several years ago, they rallied behind her, raising over $35,000 to help cover medical costs.

Due to her disease, Alves-Vicente was forced to leave the school system before she was ready, prior to retirement.

“Ms. V, in my heart, is Pearson (elementary),” said teacher Allison Macafee, who has been friends with Alves-Vicente since she started teaching alongside her 18 years ago.

“(She is the) most loving, passionate, amazing woman you’ll ever meet.”

During the opening, the new space was hailed as a huge win for the school community. It now sits where a run-down playground used to.

Greenhouses, wood planter boxes and an Indigenous garden will be added to the space over time.

Both teachers and students, about 230 K-5 learners at the school, are excited to have an area for outdoor education. It’s well known Alves-Vicente has a green thumb, and believed an outdoor space is something kids would love and enjoy.

“This is an opportunity for learners at Pearson Road for years to come,” said principal Nina Ferguson at the opening.

“Our students are going to have their hands in dirt this year, they’re going to be planting, they’re going to be playing, they’re going to be learning in this space.”

For long time fellow teachers and coworkers of Alves-Vicente, this means a lot.

“I think it’s the perfect thing to dedicate to her, and watch grow, and be beautiful… we made it a beautiful thing, she’s a beautiful person,” said Macafee.

“It’ll be just so nice to come out here and be in the garden, and think of her,” added Dachwitz.

The outdoor centre was budgeted to cost $55,295.36 for construction and site preparation. That cost has been covered by Pearson school funds, parent advisory council support, a grant pending from the Kiwanis Club and volunteer support of labour, expertise and gifts-in-kind.

The project was supported by numerous local companies including Kelowna Ready Mix, Home Hardware, Everlast Greenhouses, BC Fasteners, Pro Source Irrigation, Quality Chain Link Fencing, Nature Works Landscaping, as well as numerous carpenters, and School District 23.

READ MORE: Update: Missing Kelowna woman located safe

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Central Bar and Kitchen hosts fundraiser for Movember

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Community

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

Pen High student Myles made this Little Library in his woodworking class and it now stand in front of West Bench Elementary. (Submitted)
Penticton Secondary student makes Little Library for primary school

The Little Library has been installed in front of West Bench Elementary

The Desert Centre in Osoyoos opened on Saturday for the season. (Contributed)
Osoyoos Desert Centre opens for the season

‘Getting out in nature is one of the most important remedies [during] COVID restrictions.’

The Pencticton Vees beat the Trail Smoke Eaters 7-0 in the second to last game of the season on Saturday. (Pentiction Vees photo)
Penticton Vees play last game of season today at 4 p.m.

The Vees have dominated the league in wins and play the Cranbrook Bucks at 4 p.m.

Book Shop by Michael Law
There’s magic and colourful history at Penticton’s largest and oldest book store

The Book Shop, like so many businesses, is wanting to turn the page to the end of this pandemic

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Spallumcheen councillors (from left) Todd York, Gerry Popoff, Christine LeMaire, John Bakker, Joe Van Tienhoven and Andrew Casson join Mayor Christine Fraser (fourth from left) in helping to proclaim the township open for business with new signage off Highway 97A. (Township of Spallumcheen photo)
Being open for business paying dividends for Okanagan township

Spallumcheen wins provincial award, new business and building starts increase

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Mathieu Bourgault (13) tries unsuccessfully to deflect past West Kelowna goalie Johnny Derrick during the Warriors’ come-from-behind 7-6 BC Hockey Leaguje pod shootout victory Saturday, May 8, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors rally to edge Salmon Arm in shootout

Warriors overcome three significant deficits to post 7-6 BCHL pod win in Vernon; Silverbacks finish pod 9-7-2-2

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read