Let’s face it, 2020 was a year unlike any other! While it began with optimism, excitement, and tradition (*see annual Evans family snowshoe!), we all know how it unfolded with the arrival of the global pandemic. 

*Each year my family goes for a New Year’s Day snowshoe together to kick-off the start of a New Year! Here we are at the top of Grouse Mountain on January 1st, 2020. 


Any of us could dwell on the challenges and hardships faced last year. There were many, too many to list. We all felt them. 

Last year I chose ‘anchor’ as my one word, and while I struggled to articulate to others the power I felt in this word – the strength, the ability to hold one’s course steady – the year knew that’s what I would need to be; an anchor (in the biggest storm I’ve ever seen) for my students, my staff, and my family. 

So moving into 2021, I was cautious about what word I would choose. How would this word shape the year ahead of me? I strongly considered balance (something we could probably all use more of) and intention. However these words left me wanting more hope, more optimism, and more excitement. And so, after careful thought and consideration, I chose CELEBRATE

This year I choose to acknowledge and celebrate all the good things in our world and the good work people do. Throughout the pandemic, I have learned to look for the silver linings. 

In my personal life, I have been blessed with more time with my family. As a busy working mom, I never have as much time with my family as I would like… and kids grow up quickly! My daughter will begin high school next year! Where did those 13 years of my life go?! 

This past year, both of my kids have become more interested in outdoor pursuits like hiking, skiing, and tennis. They are both learning to play musical instruments. They both enjoy cooking and helping in the kitchen. My daughter’s art skills have taken off this past year and I am continually amazed by her talent. My son is an expert builder who can figure out any LEGO set, Gravitrax configuration, or even build a working model of an engine. In short, I have enjoyed watching them grow! 

I have also appreciated how they have grown together – the way they interact with each other, and support one another. They are stronger because of the pandemic. And I celebrate that we are a stronger family because of it too. 

Professionally, I celebrate that the pandemic has provided me the opportunity to work with not only one, but two incredible teams of educators. Whether they be in the building at Cypress Park, or teaching students remotely from across the district, they are a dedicated, hard-working, flexible team who care deeply about the students and families in our community. They are collaborative and extremely supportive of one another.  

Earlier this fall, we were able to celebrate the immense joy of having students and staff return to school. It’s a hard feeling to describe but all you had to do was look at our students, or their parents, or any of our staff and you could see the smiles on their faces and the warm glow that surrounded them. Social isolation is difficult for all of us, but especially hard for kids. School looks “the same, but different” and we are thrilled to once again have students learning alongside us at Cypress Park.

We were also able to celebrate the culmination of the incredible IB journey we have been on over the past 5 years as we underwent our evaluation this fall. It was easy to celebrate how far we’ve come (22 recommendations in 2015, down to just 5 in 2020) and just how accomplished we are at what we do – receiving commendations in the areas of:

  • administrative and pedagogical leadership
    commitment to the academic, social, and emotional growth of students

    academic honesty
    collaborative planning + ability for students to work collaboratively (agency!)
    teaching and learning
    connection between school and home
    our OUTSTANDING IB Coordinator… and all that she does!
    … Just to name a few 😉

So take time to celebrate your successes and the successes of those around you. When life hands you lemons (or a global pandemic), celebrate and make some lemonade! 

What word will you choose to guide you through 2021?