What a year! Looking back on the past school year, we can all agree it’s been nothing short of memorable. Doing school through a pandemic is full of challenges and blessings. And through it all, we can see God’s grace and his goodness.

We asked our elementary staff to share their reflections and special moments from this past year. Here is what they shared:


 1. Experiencing grace. So much grace! Grace for new principal mistakes. Grace for COVID-19 exposure notices. Grace for functional closures. Grace for cancelled events. Grace for unanticipated changes. Grace for health and safety protocols. All kinds of grace. – Karin Riemer

 2. My care group. Tuesday devotions became a time of friendship and connection because there was more time to focus on one another. This allowed us to develop a deeper friendship and be more intentional of one another’s needs. It was a beautiful opportunity to see how God has made each one of us so differently, and yet be able to find so much in common. It has been a tremendous gift. I am going to miss them very much next year. – Emilie Darby

 3. Having enough guest teachers to cover our various Covid-related staffing issues. – Seth Bakker

 4. Going to the Chilliwack Corn Maze/Pumpkin Patch for their Spring on the Farm Tour/Experience—the first (and only!) field trip we got to do this year. It was a perfect day, a perfect setting, and oh, so much fun for the students! We felt so safe there, being outdoors and the only classes/cohorts there. We explored the farm/animals, planted bean seeds, learned about compost and soil, played on the equipment and jumping pillow, and even ate popcorn! To top it all off, we rode on a bus! It made us forget the “hard” parts of the year and made everything feel a bit normal again!Susan Dykshoorn

 5. Realizing that I GET to sing worship songs with my students and talk to them about being chosen to be in the family of God is an amazing thing. Knowing that my own children are also getting this is something I don’t ever want to take for granted. – Hilda deWolde

 6. When my 9 students who were isolating for two weeks came back school. I happened to be on outside supervision before school and I will not forget the look on those students’ faces when they saw me and saw their classmates—pure joy. They wore the biggest smiles. It was so cute. Some of them even ran up to me but then stopped themselves before giving me a hug because they remembered they couldn’t, so we did our COVID greeting instead (each student has a different greeting with me: bow, curtsy, foot shake, something they made up, etc.…). We, as a class, decided to wait outside for all those 9 kids to show up. We would wait till they got to the top of the stairs outside and then call their name and cheer and clap. Their faces lit up and each one of them were met with a bombardment of hugs from their classmates. – Evangeline Stewart

 7. Being called The Birthday Lady” instead of “The Principal” and handing out birthday buttons and wishing students a happy birthday! – Karin Riemer

 8. When my students/families rallied around me and my family during Covid-19. I was blessed with SO many prayers, flowers, meals, gift cards, and HOUSE CLEANING! It was all arranged by parents and delivered anonymously. I will never forget the generosity of my wonderful community. I know this year has been challenging, but I wouldn’t have chosen to spend this year any other way in the middle of hard with my ACS family! Also, while many of my close contacts were sick with COVID-19, I never tested positive or became ill with COVID-19 symptoms! Given my ongoing health journey, this was a miracle, acknowledged by my doctors, Fraser Health, and many others! All praises to the Lord! – Sherry Drader

 9. Working with the three grandpas on the StoryWalk. The grandpas were eager to be involved and built the reading stations with help of a few of our students. Truly a community project and I loved how the students shared their appreciation, through their cards and thank you notes, to the grandpas who helped. – Linda Groot

 10. Our Wednesday Worship. We intentionally take some time, in our class, to worship God with singing and movement. I came from teaching in a middle eastern school (where our faith was not able to be freely expressed) to ACS, a school that centres on having a relationship with Jesus. What a joy it has been to worship with my students freely and it has meant so much. Moving to a new place during a pandemic, I guess in some way, they became my main spiritual community. – Nancy Worsley-Brown

 11. When I have lunch hour supervision, I always try to sneak in a bite while the kiddos are eating their lunches. One day I was spreading avocado onto a rice cake and a parent later told me that her son said to her, “Mrs. Dirksen ate an ENTIRE avocado!”Hannah Dirksen

 12. A grade 1 student who struggled with writing conventions, and after trying to read his own sentences and not deciphering them was told (for the 100th time this year), “Maybe if you added finger spaces it would be easier to read.” His heartfelt response was, “I DO add finger spaces, but NO ONE ever sees them!”Harriet Noot

 13. Lately we have been reflecting and making lists for each subject area what we have learned since September. We now have about six long posters around the room filled with things we learned, celebrations we had, games we played, activities we did with friends. On days when I think, “Have I really done anything with my students this year?” I listen to my kids get so excited saying to each other, “Look at all the things we’ve done!” So true! Kinda fun to see it all on paper.  – Hilda deWolde

 14. We are currently doing track and field in PE and one of my students was really struggling with high jump. I provided feedback to this student along with encouraging them every time they jumped. Even though they knocked it down, they were still feeling excited and proud of themselves with the positivity and feedback I was providing to them. – Hannah Dirksen

 15. A student was walking around with his paper suitcase we made for our global connections unit and said, “Come on guys, let’s travel the world!” Then the students got on their pretend airplane and got off in London and he said, “Let’s go see Big Ben! And ride a double decker bus!”Maureen Schmidt

 16. One day I was wearing a dress and a student comes up to me and says, “You (are) not wearing pants! You (are)naked!” – Anonymous

 17. The KB students walking on tippy toes to protect the “sleeping” snail in their shoe.Measha Thompson

 18. The children have honestly amazed me at their resilience and acceptance of all the changes this year. It’s helped me as a teacher to do the same when the temptation is to feel down about how things are so different to normal. They have risen to every challenge, understood changes that have had to be made and enjoyed every moment! It’s a beautiful picture and reminder of how God says He gives us grace upon grace for every situation and day that we face. I feel so truly blessed by my class this year and instead of feeling down about things, I feel incredibly thankful. Thank you KD for an absolutely wonderful year with you all. – Ruth MacKenzie

 19. One of my grade level team members who saw that I was a bit emotional one morning, came to tell me she would do my duty today so I could just chill and catch some time by myself. She didn’t even give me the option; she just did it. I wiped away my tears and pretended with my kids that I just had something in my eye!  – Hilda deWolde

 20. One thing that happened during the year was Marble Maze building day. I wanted to do this with the kids but was dreading trying to do it without any parent helpers. Jessica Schuurman heard about when we were doing this activity and said she’d love to pop in and help. She was a lifesaver and an awesome glue gun master. So thankful that she was willing to leave her many duties to help.  – Kim Fleming

 21. When I heard the gentle voices of my students sing the song, “I need you, oh I need you” while they worked. It was unusual for me (as I taught in the Middle East last year) and it was so incredibly beautiful to my heart. – Nancy Worsley-Brown

 22. An unexpected blessing: online chapels prepared by each of the cohorts. Lessons on kindness, friendship, family—all from the mouths of children! – Seth Bakker and Karin Riemer

 23. One of my favourite moments was watching a student sit beside our butterfly chrysalis cage saying, “Come on little guys, you can do it; come out and see us soon!” – Maureen Schmidt

 24. I really desired to make a connection with my students in my first year at ACS. Although having a connection with one’s students seems implied of a good teacher, I was still nervous about it not happening. After a month or two of teaching and getting connected with students, one student accidentally called me “mom” while asking a question. In that moment, I knew I had “made it” If a child can accidentally call you mom and be in a comfortable default mode of thinking in your classroom, you know you are doing something right! Now, each time I get an accidental “mom,” I smile because it reassures me that the kids in my care have a connection with me. – Melissa Dick

 25. We were learning about textures and doing rubbings from around the classroom and labelling where were got the rubbing/texture from. My student did a rubbing of the bottom of a plastic tub/book basket. He got so excited because he discovered a cross shape. He shared it with an educational assistant, and then with me. He became a bit emotional about seeing a cross and “seeing Jesus” in the classroom. The EA talked to him about how that was a little surprise or gift from God and how it is okay to feel happy tears from God over something like that! – Susan Dykshoorn

 26. Every week I hear a student say, “I can help you with that. So much kindness and compassion in so many students. – Maureen Schmidt

 27. Having a colleague share that this has been “just the best year.” This made me aware that although there have been some challenging things about this year, it still has been so great to just be in school, doing what we love to do. – Hilda deWolde

 28. Overheard in a kindergarten class: “3-D shapes are fat, not flat. Like mommies when they have babies in their tummies.”Measha Thompson

 29. With everything changing this year and having to wear masks when little ones come to my office, it made me sad that they couldn’t see me smile at them, until one day I had one of my little grade 1 students come in for a Band-Aid and at the end of our time together she hopped out of her chair stood up to leave and said, “Thank you Mrs. Schuurman and I like that I can still see your smile.” When I asked her how and she replied, “Because you smile with your eyes.”Jessica Schuurman

 30. We were praying for the baby sister of one of our students, who was in the Vancouver hospital under special care, with his mom. When we had an opportunity to write cards to someone special to say that we were praying for them. Instead of writing to “important” people like the principal, the vice principal, teachers, parents, or grandparents, many students gave their prayer cards to this student; some for him and some for his mom and baby sister. When he announced that his baby sister was finally being transferred to the hospital in Abbotsford and that his mom would be coming home, the class broke into spontaneous clapping and cheers. Their care for this student and his family was precious and heartwarming. The students truly have become an extended family, supporting, and encouraging each other during this school year. – Gayle Ritsema

 31. Overheard in a kindergarten class: “My grandma has a chicken named Bobby Joe and she wears a dress.” – Measha Thompson

 32. I have been so thankful for everyone’s spirit of cooperation and commitment to make education work, and work well, during the pandemic. – Harriet Noot