Payton Truc, left, and William Page helped to write the letter to send in the package to the students at Hornby Island Community School. (Contributed)

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

A recent fire at a Hornby Island elementary school hit close to home for a teacher in Maple Ridge.

Michele Neale, a Grade 1/2 teacher at Glenwood elementary, heard about the fire while watching Vancouver Island news at home.

Neale, who was raised on Vancouver Island and whose family has summer homes on Hornby Island, said that’s why the event stood out to her when it came on the television.

“In a small community like on Hornby Island, the school is more than just a school, it’s your community centre, it draws people together, it’s devastating for an island,” said Neale about why she decided to talk about the event in her classroom during the first week of school.

The fire at Hornby Island Community School broke out in the early morning hours on Aug. 26 and heavily damaged the school deeming it unsafe to use for the upcoming school year.

READ MORE: Charge laid in Hornby Island school fire

Neale’s class made up of 18 students that she had the previous year, who were waiting for the new class configurations to move into their Grade 2/3 class, decided to write a letter to the students displaced from the fire.

“We talked about how sad they would be feeling and the things they would be missing from their classroom (if there was a fire),” explained Neale.

And after her students indicated that they would miss the loss of books the most, Neale decided to purchase a few books to send along with the letter.

“We were sad to hear about your school fire,” began the letter addressed to the primary children at the school.

“We know fires can be scary and do a lot of damage. We wanted you to know that we are thinking about your loss. We also wanted to bring some joy to your school lives. We know books make us happy, smarter and better readers. We thought some new books could help rebuild your classroom collection. We hope you have a good year,” the letter continued, signed by the students in division 14.

The students picked out the books for Neale to purchase including Pig the Star by Aaron Blabey, The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown, Elephant and Piggie and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.

Neale sent off the package Sept. 14.

“We just wanted to show them that there are people out here that care about what happened to you and that this was just a little token to show we are thinking of you and hope you have a good year,” said Neale.

Students Payton Truc and William Page helped to write the letter to send in the package.

”We felt bad about their school. I would probably cry if it was my school. I would want other people to be kind to me,” said Payton.

“We wanted to show kindness and to make some new friends,” noted William.

Since the fire, a 25-year-old Comox Valley man has been arrested and charged with arson in relation to the fire.

More than 40 students had to start off the school year at Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre on Hornby Island.

Comox Valley Schools have since leased Room to Grow and the community hall from the Hornby Island Educational Society and Hornby Island Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association for use from Monday to Thursday each week until a new permanent space is available.

Neale says her class learned how important kindness is and how you don’t need to receive something back for an act of kindness.

Just Posted

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates react to finding Trudeau broke ethics law

The election campaign is heating up before the writ has even dropped

Body of ATV rider recovered from bottom of Terrace trail

BC Coroners Service investigating death of man in his 70s

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Most Read