GSS principal bids farewell to high school after 14 years for retirement

At high school graduations, the principal is always proud of the class, congratulating the students and sending well wishes at the end of their high school years.

This year’s Golden Secondary School (GSS) graduation was no different, but marked the end of an era for more than just the graduates.

As principal Iris Trask handed each of the 46 graduates their diploma, she received a sweet treat from them, a candy sucker to say “thank you” to their principal of five years as she sets to retire.

“I thought it was a fabulous evening. I think you could feel the closeness of the grad class,” she said.

After 14 years as principal of GSS, Trask will finish up her work over the next month, and begin her official retirement. Steve Weir, the principal of Alexander Park Elementary School, will fill her role as principal at GSS. Bob Wilson, principal of Nicholson Elementary School, will take over at Alexander Park Elementary. Teacher Margo Reinders will become principal at Nicholson Elementary School. GSS vice principal Angela Stott moves to Kamloops at the end of the school year, and Kelsey Doolaar will take over her role at GSS.

Inspired by her Grade 3 teacher, Trask knew she wanted to become a teacher herself. Since graduating with a bachelor and master of education from the University of Calgary, Trask has worked in schools across the province.

“It wasn’t always my goal to be an administrator,” she said. “I always wanted to be a teacher. I was one of those kids who played school with my dolls or anyone who was willing.”

Since Trask started school at age five, she has been in school institutions, either as a student, educator, or administrator.

Born in Vancouver, Trask grew up in Northern Manitoba, and moved to Northern Ontario in her junior high school years. After, she moved to Kimberley, where she graduated high school. One of her favourite things to see while working in schools over the years is the shift to bring in restorative practices, meaning to fix harm that has been created in students’ lives rather than traditional discipline-based practices. This method helps reshape how students handle scenarios, and helps them handle their issues in a different way.

“I have seen a lot of changes in curriculum over the years,” Trask said, adding that the school system has undergone many other changes as well. “The newly revised B.C. curriculum is the best.”

The new curriculum shifts to adjust alongside information and technology, promoting big ideas and competencies.

“It fits our world much better,” she said, explaining that the focus is not as heavy on research because information is so easily available via the Internet.

Working as principal at GSS did not come without it’s challenges. In such a small school, it was difficult to offer a vast number of courses for students to choose from, while filling class sizes.

“It’s very challenging to create a schedule that gets the kids what they want to take,” she said.

After her work is done at the high school this year, Trask plans to stay in the Golden community, where she has lived for 25 years. Golden is located in close proximity to all of her children, making it the perfect location. And, Trask said, the Town of Golden is a great community to work and live in.

“I’m planning on spending lots of time with my grandchildren,” she said.

She also wants to take some time to travel, and might go enjoy warmer destinations if the winters are too long and cold.

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