École Red Bluff Lhtako Elementary is supporting a memorial scholarship established in the name of a beloved French immersion teacher at Quesnel Junior School.
Sarah Shipley passed away suddenly on July 28, 2020, at the age of 47.
Her death was difficult for many, including the daughter of École Red Bluff Lhtako Elementary librarian Teresa McCart.
“My daughter was in her Grade 8 class during that year… it was really hard because all of a sudden bang, her teacher is gone,” McCart said.
McCart said she had been friends with Shipley for quite a long time and would visit her often at Bo Peep Boutique that Shipley had owned and operated until 2015, when she returned to school and became a teacher.
A memorial scholarship was established in Shipley’s name at School District 28 following her death.
McCart said she wanted to do something to honour her friend.
She received permission from Indigenous artist Kevin Pee-ace of Saskatoon, Sask. to use his bold and colorful style to create cards sold in support of the scholarship.
Getting into Quesnel Junior School, however, was difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had a couple of kids, my daughter, included who did some art for me but it wasn’t very much, so I thought I’ll just get my kids at school to do some,” McCart said.
In her spare time, McCart created a template for the card. The Canadian Parents for French in Quesnel covered the costs of paper and printing of hundreds of them.
“They were excited,” McCart said of the students, noting she asked parents if they would be OK having their child’s card used in the “Hearts for Sarah” fundraiser.
“Parents were super happy to help to give permission.”
Cards can be purchased at Bouchie Lake Country Store and Regency Chrysler.
McCart said some cards have gone as far away as Iowa and Australia, purchased by former École Red Bluff Lhtako Elementary teachers Brad Smith and Tania Black.
“I haven’t told my kids this yet because this was all during the summer… but they’ll be excited to hear that in the fall,” she said.
McCart hopes to raise $1,500 to support two Sarah Shipley Scholarships, including one for a First Nations student and a French immersion student.
“She would have been buying the cards and saying ‘hey, how can I help.’ She was just that type of person,” McCart said of Shipley.
“I love that I can do this small thing for her.”