News and Events

Katherine Ovenell-Carter (’03) reflects on the decade plus since IPS

My time at IPS ended well over a decade ago, when I started the daily commute over to West Vancouver Secondary for the International Baccalaureate program. I’d already decided back then that I was going to be a geneticist (thank you Jen for happily feeding my 13-year-old self everything you had on DNA!) so I was looking forward to university. I graduated high school with the Governor General’s Bronze Medal and a full scholarship to SFU, where I studied molecular biology and biochemistry. I worked in an organic chemistry lab there between grade 12 and first year, and everything was on track for that future in genetic research. And then a funny thing happened.

In third year, I took a summer job working for Science AL!VE – a K-12 science outreach program that ran classroom workshops, summer camps, and weekend programs. And I fell in love with teaching science. So, I finished off my B.Sc. and returned to get my B.Ed. so that I could keep doing just that. My PDP module focused on Indigenous education, something I chose after time spent running science camps and programs in Haida Gwaii and Nunavut made me realize I knew far too little about Indigenous history in Canada.

My first full time teaching job was teaching grades 6-8 in Klemtu, a village of about 400 people located in the Great Bear Rainforest. Later, I moved down to Squamish to be closer to home again and taught grade 7 and 8 at Coast Mountain Academy. But I did get the chance to go back to Klemtu this past summer to see my first ever group of students again – now at their grade 12 graduation! It was such a special feeling to see “my kids” grown up and ready for whatever the world offered next.

Now, I teach grade 7 math and science at West Point Grey Academy. I think it’s no coincidence that I’ve stayed working with middle years students, and as a science teacher (though I admit, the math surprised me!). It’s been years, but I still say “we” when I talk about IPS. The school left its mark on me in so many ways and remains a source of inspiration. I find myself thinking of my IPS teachers whenever I’m feeling stuck in my own work – they’re still teaching me even now.

Kathryn Ovenell-Carter


February 2023
Since our last touch base in 2017, when teaching grade 7 math and science at West Point Grey Academy, Kathryn Ovenell-Carter has had some big changes.

“I got married (with folks attending over Zoom in true pandemic wedding style!) and then last winter we welcomed our daughter. She’ll be one in just over a week, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying watching her discover the world! Three others from my IPS cohort had babies this past year too, and we’ve reformed our old friendships as we navigated new motherhood together.

I’m on my maternity leave still, but come September I’ll be back to teaching at West Point Grey Academy again. I’m looking forward to running into the Island Pacific School cohort at the regional science fair in 2024! A few years ago, I was able to introduce Jen (Henrichsen) to some of my own students while we were all at the regional fair, which felt really special.

In the meantime I’m working on my Masters of Education in Science Education at UBC. I’m almost halfway through the program now. It’s been a fantastic opportunity and I’ve got a notebook full of ideas to try and questions to explore further.”

Congratulations Kathryn for living life to the fullest!

We love to get stories from our Island Pacific School alumni – to share something with us, please contact:

Julia McCaig
Director of Community Engagement
Island Pacific School