Lt. Gov. visits Penticton school

BC Lt. -Gov. Judith Guichon shared information about her past and present roles and invited students to ask questions at an assembly Friday at Uplands Elementary School in Penticton.

Guichon has been touring the Okanagan this week, making stops at schools as well as other locations including senior facilities and agricultural businesses.

"We are honoured to have her visit our school," said Principal Lisa Edwards. "Originally students thought the queen was coming, so we had to clarify that and they were every excited. An opportunity like this doesn't come along very often."

Guichon entered the school gymnasium to the accompaniment of the bagpipes, played by pipe major John B. Mager.

On the stage she was joined by Edwards, Mayor Garry LItke, School District 67 Supt. Wendy Hyer and Nathan Davies, Inspector Kelowna Law Courts and aide de camp.

Edwards welcomed the kindergarten through grade 5 students in attendance as well as the staff, parents and community members.

"To our respected guests look around, see the smiles on everyones faces," she said. "We are truly delighted to welcome you here today."

Following her welcome and a description of the school's focus on social responsibility and team work, she discussed how the school is embracing the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Students listened intently as she went on to provide information on Guichon.

She was sworn in as the 29th lieutenant governor on Nov.  2, 2012. Prior to this appointment, she owned and operated a ranch in the Nicola Valley, Edwards said.

Guichon also studied holistic management, a farming method which promotes sustainable management of livestock by emphasizing their natural habitat and introduced this technique to the ranchers of British Columbia.

Guichon greeted all in attendance, from the students to dignitaries and expressed how nice it was to see everyone on Valentine's Day.

She further described her role as lieutenant governor, and told the crowd her boss is the queen and that every province has lieutenant governors.

Before she became lieutenant governor, she said, she was a rancher, who would get up in the mornnig and look at the cows.

"It's a wonderful way to live," she said.

She quickly engaged students by asking questions, among them if anyone could name the governor general and how many of them have visited Victoria, where she lives at Government House.

She told them there is something blooming in their garden in Victoria all year long, and that they have volunteers who look after the garden, before asking students if any of them volunteer yet.

The best part of her job, she stressed, is getting to honour a great many British Columbians across the province who give of their time.

Her final question being what is your most prized possession, to which several students responded family and making friends.

Students also learned about her four prioirty programs: stewards of the future, to promote healthy people in healthy communities on healthy land; leadership, which entails bringing leaders together with mentors; music and the arts and literacy.

In the latter, the focus is on opening libraries in remote First Nations communities. The three R's found in all the programs are respect, responsibility and relationships.

Once Guichon finished speaking, she invited students to ask questions. 

Jada Turchak, a grade 3 student at the school, shared a special moment with the lieutenant governor, giving her a watercolour she painted herself.

The assembly ended with students singing "I Believe," and "Ignite Your Light." written with Mrs. Kantz's grade 5 class.

Turchak, who was initially afraid she might trip on the stage, but did not, described meeting Guichon as an exciting experience.

"It was special to see her, because I've never seen her before," she said.

Guichon continued her tour of the South Okanagan Friday afternoon with several stops in Summerland including Giant's Head Elementary School and Summerland Sweets.


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