Filling hearts and taking memories by Julia Nord-Leth, Champions for Health Promoting Schools Program

The following story has been retrieved from Champions for Health Promoting Schools by UFV Kinesiology student Julia Nord-Leth.

Dear Friends, Family, Alumni Champions and Supporters,

My name is Julia Nord-Leth and this is my second year on the island participating in the Champions for Health Promoting Schools Program. We finally arrived on the island after extensive travel on Saturday afternoon. As soon as the plane landed, our adventure here began and we could not have been more excited. The moment we arrived Dr. Joanna Sheppard took us for a quick grocery shop and then we came back to the hotel to begin unpacking and organizing all of our amazing donations! What this entailed was the entire team working together to inflate all of our equipment, sort out pencils, pens, etc. and organize everything up equally to divide within the schools we are teaching at.

The next morning we woke up bright and early and met at 5:00 am to hike Mount Obama. This hike took about an hour and we had an incredible view of the island from the peak. Once we climbed back down, the principal from S.R. Olivia, Ms. Christian, had prepared us with some refreshments held at her school which we were all so grateful for. Once we returned home, we began our Unity Games Prep ran by Jaclyn and Cole. We all were given one game that we will be teaching on Unity Games (UG) and taught it to the whole team, then our TA Dan, and then Dr. Sheppard until everyone was ready for our UG coming up this Friday! This ended at about 2pm and we celebrated by heading to the beach before our first red couch meeting!

Today was our very first day of school, which was of course full of so many different emotions. As soon as I woke up this morning my whole body was flooded with an overload of excitement, as well as a slight pang of nervousness. The first day of school can be nerve racking for everyone, and although I taught at Jennings Primary last year, this is my first time going in with a second year leadership position and truly being that role model for my two teaching partners, Sarah and Nick. I want to be able to allow them to lean on me for support, but also push them to learn to experience elements on their own and create their own teachers within themselves. I am so excited to be working with them this year. I came back to the island for an array of reasons, but mainly because of the exact feeling and energy I got as soon as I walked back into Jennings. Once we arrived to school after our classic (5 car!) convoy. This school feels like a second home to me, the second we got there we were so welcomed from all of the teachers and of course all of the incredible children. Today was our very first time at Jennings so far, and we were thrown right into the rhythm of things. We began teaching right off the bat which took away all of the little stressors within us and brought out the joy we all feel teaching. It was amazing to see all the connections that were previously made have remained strong not only with the children but the teachers as well. This makes me realize not only the huge impact I have on them, but the life changing impact they had and continue to have on me.

The love that amplifies from this island is indescribable. I treasure every single moment I experience here on this island because nowhere else have I ever opened up my heart so purely, and in return having it filled so full, the memories, experiences, stories made here truly will live in our hearts forever.

Julia Nord-Leth
Jennings Primary

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