JOHN ARENDT ON THE BALL Summerland Secondary School teachers Tom Brickenden, left, and Dave Stathers are both retiring after lengthy teaching careers. Both plan to work with student sports in the future.

High school teachers retire

Summerland Secondary School teachers have spent more than two decades in the classroom.

After more than two decades of teaching at Summerland Secondary School, two high school teachers are retiring.

Dave Stathers has been a high school teacher for 29 years and has spent 27 of those years at Summerland Secondary School.

Tom Brickenden began his teaching career in the fall of 1987 and has been at Summerland Secondary School since the fall of 1995.

Brickenden grew up in Summerland and graduated from the high school where he later taught.

He said his time as a high school student inspired him to become a teacher.

“It was the excellent teachers who taught me in school,” he said.

After graduating, he wanted to become a high school teacher and coach, even though he was shy and quiet at the time.

Stathers also recalled inspiring high school teachers, especially one math teacher who made the material enjoyable. “I wanted to be just like him.”

After graduating from high school, Stathers studied education in university. However, after he finished his degree, there were no teaching jobs available.

For nine years he worked as a journalist. until a teaching position opened up in Invermere.

Brickenden also recalled how difficult it was to get a teaching job after he received his university degree.

“I applied to every single school district in the province,” he said. “Fort St. James hired me over the phone.”

Both teachers have appreciated their time at Summerland Secondary School.

“This school is truly outstanding as a community school,” Stathers said.

Brickenden added that the high school alumni still have a strong connection to the school and will return for events such as the annual alumni basketball tournament, held near the end of December.

While students are in the classroom for several hours each day, and while school is not in session during the summer break, winter break and spring break, the role of a teacher is far more demanding, Stathers and Brickenden say.

“There’s a lot happening before 8:30 in the morning and after three o’clock in the afternoon,” Stathers said. Work including developing the curriculum for the year, grading tests and assignments and preparing lesson materials all require considerable time.

Both teachers have also spent time in volunteer work and as coaches. Stathers was a girls’s basketball coach while Brickenden, the school’s athletic director, coached volleyball and basketball.

Stathers said teaching can be challenging, but it is also rewarding. “It’s a career, not a job,” he said. “You’re never staring at the clock. Time passes by so quickly.”

The best part of being a teacher has been the opportunity to work with the students, both men say.

“You become a teacher for the love of being with young people,” Brickenden said. “Each year you‘re working with a new group of kids.”

“The kids in this community are outstanding,” Stathers added.

And while they have had some challenging students over the years, both teachers have enjoyed the students they have known.

“Teenagers are so misunderstood,” Stathers said. “They’re amazing to work with every day.”

Because they had the same students throughout high school, both teachers have been able to develop strong relationships. “A lot of the kids I taught four years in a row, ” Stathers said. “I got to know them and their families.”

“The relationships with the students last a long time,” Brickenden added.

What’s next after high school? rickenden and Stathers are considering their options.

Stathers plans to referee basketball. He is also contemplating whether to run for office as a school trustee this fall.

Brickenden plans to referee volleyball and basketball. While he wants to take year off coaching, he would like to coach again in the future.

“I think we both would like to have future interactions with students,” Stathers said.

Just Posted

Latimer surveyed much of Summerland

Civil engineer was also responsible of community’s irrigation system

RDOS to study sites for composting facility

Penticton and Okanagan Falls landfills will be examined

Summerland grocery store offers warm atmosphere, community service

Nesters Market has been involved in numerous initiatives within Summerland

Codling moths remain a problem for Okanagan apple growers

Problem areas for pest include Summerland, Penticton and Naramata

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen works to control mosquito populations

Control efforts in the region have been starting earlier each year

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Caught on Camera: Boat catches fire at Okanagan marina

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Latimer surveyed much of Summerland

Civil engineer was also responsible of community’s irrigation system

Most Read