The Minister of Education, Mike Bernier, toured Isabella Dicken Elementary School (IDES) on Monday morning, as part of a larger tour of schools across the province. Bernier is the MLA for Peace River South and was appointed as Minister of Education in June of 2015, taking over from Peter Fassbender.
Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett and Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano accompanied Bernier, along with School District 5 Board Chair Frank Lento, Superintendent Lynn Hauptman and IDES Principal Dawn Voysey. Two Grade 6 students, Meghan Stewart and Landon Kubos played tour guides to the entourage, as they toured the school and spoke to three different classes.
One class they spoke to was Madame Jennifer Hryniw’s Grade 4/5 French immersion class. The class prepared questions for Bernier, which they asked in both French and English, focused on his role as education minister. One student named Finn Piney asked specifically what Bernier hopes to do about class size, as crowded classrooms have been an issue in many schools across the province. After the student asked the question, Lento hugged and thanked Piney, as it is a topic he often speaks on.
Bernier also gave the students tips on how to get into public service, saying the best way was to get involved with local causes. He told the class he got his start in politics by volunteering at a local animal shelter in his youth.
Along with the grade 4/5 French immersion class, Bernier and Bennett visited a Grade 5/6
English class in one of the portable units. Bennett spoke about his position as Minister of Energy and Mines with the students, as well as Bernier ’s position as Minister of Education.
Bernier ’s stop as IDES is part of a three-day tour across the province, including stops in Cranbrook, Creston and Nelson. He says he has visited over 80 schools in the eight months he has been Minister of Education.