Students at Palsson Elementary School surround Lucille Palsson in the library during the Grade 4 class’s project

Students at Palsson Elementary School surround Lucille Palsson in the library during the Grade 4 class’s project

Palsson Tea with community elders

A homemade booklet, bound with twine, dating from 1992 sparked student's curiosity

Last year, eight-year-old Chloe Bergman found a booklet tucked away in the library at the school she attends that sparked her curiosity.

It was a homemade booklet, bound with twine, dating from 1992 that had been made by the Grade 4 class at Palsson Elementary School, called “The Elders of Lake Cowichan.”

She took that booklet and showed it to her teacher, Michelle Davis, and asked if her class could do it too.

“She kept asking me, ‘can we do this, please?’ but they were only in Grade 3,” Davis recalled. “This year, now that they’re in Grade 4, I thought we could do it.”

Using the first book as a model, the students invited 13 Lake Cowichan residents to their classroom on Dec. 7, and asked them questions about what life was like in Lake Cowichan in years gone by.

It was a project that inspired all the students, Davis says, and also one that her student teacher, Jason Hopwell, was able to help her with during his practicum at the school.

“He was really helpful, actually, because I got him to teach them what to do,” Davis explained. “He went over the book and what we were going to do, what questions they were going to ask the elders.

“We talked about what the criteria is for respectful interviewing, and then we practised interviewing on each other, so that they would be prepared.”

The sight of the older generation sitting together with the young Grade 4 students, some poring over old photographs, some helping a child with words or names they didn’t know how to spell, was heartwarming. Some of the questions the children asked were simple ones, such as “What was the road to Duncan like?”

“Windy and twisty,” was the reply that came from the two men who were being interviewed by young Keegan McKinlay. McKinlay, Davis explained, was interviewing his grandfather – Rod Tipton – and his grand-uncle, Wayne Tipton.

“It’s better now than it was.,” one of them remarked. “It was a paved road,” the other said, “but it was narrow, windy and twisty.”

As the children filled in the answers to the list of questions they had prepared for their interviews, a picture of what Lake Cowichan was like and of how things had changed since the days of their grandparents began to form in their minds.

“Did you ever go out to restaurants?” was another one of the questions on the list.

“Never,” was the reply that came back.

Davis remarked that some of the elders present that day were also in the book that was done 20 years ago. Perhaps the doyenne on the list was Lucille Palsson, for whom, along with her late husband, Oscar Palsson, the school was named.

“He taught here for 29 years,” she said, “and I taught here for 18.”

After the interview process, all the children and the invited guests moved into the school’s library, where a sumptuous tea was laying in wait, and more conversation ensued.

The end result of the Grade 4’s project will be another book containing pictures of the children and the elders, and the information the children found out in their interviews with them.

“It will be slightly more modernized,” added Davis with a smile. “But it will follow the same format.”

 

Just Posted

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Mariah Segee (centre) was named 2021 Lady of the Lake last Saturday, with Megan Rowbottom (left) as first princess, and Macey Anderson (right) as second princess. (Submitted)
Lady of the Lake returns to Lake Cowichan

Mariah Segee takes the crown in first pageant since 2018

Darren Campbell's truck was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch (pictured) on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
UPDATE: Cowichan Bay Good Samaritan’s stolen truck recovered

‘Very much appreciated the help from so many people. I hope the very best for all of you’

Threads N Tails owner Lee-Ann Burke’s pet clothing has been featured on the cover of the June/July issue of Pet Connection Magazine. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan business featured on magazine cover

Lee-Ann Burke hopes the extra publicity will increase sales

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Most Read