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Things we love about Pam!

Colleagues and alumni show their love

The “Green Smoothie Incident”. We both walked around a corner at the same time and crashed into each other. Pam had a green smoothie in her hand. Needless to say – it was a mess! But, we both always still laugh about it. Plus, the year that Wylie S. roasted her in their grade 9 skit at Rites of Passage. That one I will always remember! I can’t imagine IPS without Pam, she has such a huge heart and her parting will leave a huge hole. But also an amazing legacy.

– Barb Bingham, Director of Operations 

Science fair is always so outstanding and such a perfect opportunity allowing students to really shine! Every day at stretch I am beside and Pam and regardless of the temperature outside, she will open the window to the MBC. Battle of the Hill is such a great event for all staff but I particularly love to see Pam morph into action hero in attack mode! Pam’s passion and dedication to her profession and her relentless support for all things sustainable is truly commendable.

– Scott Herrington, Head of School

Pam is a maestro at orchestrating excursions – she puts in a huge effort to streamline these experiences and prepare students and staff for the trips. My favourite thing about her “turn down the heat!” – Pam runs hot. She turns down the heat or opens doors/windows whenever she can. We never want sort the recycling wrong – we’ll get in trouble. Pam and I started within two years of each other – she in 1999 and me in 2001. We were looking back at photos of Garibaldi hiking trips and realized that we both have an almost identical purple shirt that we wear EVERY trip, for almost 20 years! Wardrobe update needed! She really feels. She shows her emotion and it is always a caring and nurturing feeling that the kids and staff get from her. In short, she is Mother Earth.

– Jen Henrichsen, Assistant Head of School, teacher

Honestly, there are so many contributions and profound ways that Pam encouraged our children’s education and development that it’s impossible to pick one thing I love about her. I believe it’s Pam‘s energy, enthusiasm and sincere dedication that makes her a profound and influential educator. I shall forever know Pam as the woman with the hot flashes as evidenced by many grade 9 graduation skits! But I also love her as our beloved “Miss Frizzle” the greatest science teacher and bus driver around!! So grateful to call Pam a friend as a result of getting to know her through our children and IPS. I’d have to say that I have fond memories of our costumes at the fall galas. It’s definitely her energy, athleticism, positive empowerment that I am drawn to. Her passion and commitment and dedication are contagious. Thank you Pam – you’ve done amazing work and wishing you all the love and best wishes for the next adventure:)

– Alumni Parent Deidre Smith

Best memory: Pam was sprayed with bear spray and yet still carried her backpack and two student backpacks down the mountain! She was tough! She’s always wearing sandals no matter the weather! Once in Science class I accidentally said a word that is similar to organism, but isn’t and the entire class laughed for five minutes straight! Pam was able to understand students, how they thrive best, pushing and connecting with them. Thank you for all your hard work, teaching both us and our cousin. You made a marked impact on our lives. We wish you a most adventure filled next chapter!

– The Scorer siblings, former students

Pam did such a great job of running science fair. Funniest moment: definitely us teasing her about saying the earth is flat. She played along every time! When I was in grade 8 she took me to the greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair. For safety measures she had everybody’s number on her phone at the time my voicemail went a little like this “hello it’s Rowan, just kidding it’s my voice mail”. Coincidentally, I ended up getting lost. Pam called and called me trying to locate where I was and she fell from my voicemail every time. When she eventually found me, she made me change my voicemail. Looking back now, it’s absolutely hilarious. She was kind above all else and that kindness never dimmed. She put all her energy into understanding every single kid she taught. She was passionate about what she did and spread that passion throughout everyone she met. I went through a particularly hard time during middle school. I really struggled with my mental health and a lot of the time felt like I had no future, but Pam took great measures to understand me, and was there for me no matter how hard it got. Pam is one of the reasons I am here and thriving. This is a debt I could never repay. Thank you, Pam.

– Rowan C., former student

Pam was pivotal in all of the incredible outdoor experiences we each had at IPS and went above and beyond! Pam and my class started together – so we had that first year bonding and had her ‘first year’ energy! Pam is full of fun – all her classes were fun, and she strove to engage us all in a fun way – fun is Pam ! We do laugh about getting Ted Spear to do a ‘trust fall’ off a picnic bench that first year on the Garabaldi trip … and hoping the Grade 6 kids would catch him – ha! – we did 🙂 I love so many things about Pam, but especially as a teacher, she deeply DEEPLY cares for her students. She goes above and beyond to ensure classes are engaging and fun, and to follow up with anyone who is struggling. If any of her students are having a hard time – she feels that and is a compassionate person by nature, trying to find ways to support others. She’s encouraged so many students into science, environmental causes, and teaching – her enthusiasm is contagious. I myself was a passionate activist and environmental enthusiast in part by her influence. Most particularly, she’s gone above and beyond with outdoor education programming at IPS and these experiences are pivotal in shaping students care for nature, grit in handling uncomfortable situations, and team values. Thank you Pam – you’ve done amazing work and wishing you all the love and best wishes for the next adventure:)

– Robyn H., former student

Highlight: pig fetus dissecting… I remember how entertaining and interesting it was dissecting baby pigs with Pam, she made it light hearted and fun rather than grossly brutal. Pam would have many different quirks during class like random outbursts of energy and sometimes anger but it was always funny! My favourite experience with Pam would be on the SALTS trip on the boat and having our whole class and teachers huddled up under blankets reading or crocheting on the windy sea. I love how Pam is always stern but with a light hand. She has so many lovely quirks and as opposed to a lot of teachers, really cares about the job and the kids. Love you Pam <3

– Olivia C., former student

Pam, thank you for sharing your insights and instruction as my Masterworks project advisor. It was wonderful to have your guidance as I learned to see a project through to completion. Wishing you well wherever your next chapter leads you!

– Conrad H., former student

I remember in Design Tech, we built go carts. Pam loaded us up in the IPS bus and shuttled us to a road on Cates Hill near her house and we raced our carts until they all broke (it did not take long). To me that was such a niche experience, it was something every kid wants to do but is never given the opportunity to. I also believe I built a potato cannon for a science fair project (still not sure how I got away with that honestly) She always encouraged me to push myself and do things I didn’t think I was able to. I also fondly remember her taking my class outside in the spring to show us the elephant toothpaste experiment, I think I had been heavily hassling her about it to be quite honest. In conclusion, there were many experiences and projects that Pam led. But to me, it was her pushing her students in their projects that was “the best”, because as her students, we were her projects.

Pam became nearly like a member of my family, absolutely adored. I think my personal thing with Pam was anything related to whales. She would show me news reports because she knew they’d interest me (this was thru IPS and not just during my masterworks) and it just kind of became like “hey, this made me think of you”. I always joke with her when I see her about my degree (it’s not marine biology like I’d always said it’d be).
About two years ago maybe, she was hiking behind my house on Bowen, and my dogs broke out. I was chasing my dogs down the Valhalla trail past Pam walking her dog. I don’t think that’s the funniest memory, but it was definitely memorable.
I love how much she inspired me. Coming from BICS in grade 5, I loved to research historical events like the pyramids or the titanic in my free time. I loved reading about animals and was quite stricken with anything dolphin related and I thought my best skill was reading. Pam saw those interests in me and she fostered them. She cared so much about me (as she does with all her students). She really made school feel like a place I belonged, even though I never really meshed with my class, and it definitely could have been a situation where I didn’t feel like being there. But she made me feel valued and important, and she encouraged me to learn, and pushed me in my studies. I also loved that Pam made me feel like a person. And in that sense, I mean she never treated me like a child. She spoke to me as an equal, a little more so than everyone else. She was considered a member of my family essentially when my brother proceeded to go through IPS and she also fostered his love of science (and he is now studying health science at Western). I love that Pam thought to include me even after I’d graduated IPS, she brought me on a SALTS trip when my brother was in grade 8 and I believe I was in grade 11. It was the coolest experience, and more fun than when I’d gone with my own class. I also went to Gambier that same year with the 6-7s on the year end trip. Honestly, I just love Pam.
I largely credit Pam with the person I am today, besides my own family. It is because of Pam and her love of teaching that I really pursued my own passions. She encouraged me and propelled me to push myself in my Masterworks project (The Effect of Captivity on Dolphins), and I’m now studying Natural Resource Conservation at UBC (BaSCNRC). I remember I saw Pam after I’d been accepted to UBC and she was SO proud of me when I told her I was studying science. She really knew who I was, and to me that was so special. Especially in my formative years, I truly reflect on my time at IPS often, but Pam is a person who sticks out to me as someone who loved their job so much it really affected my life. Even when I saw her during my time in high school, she still asked me how I was doing and was so pleased to hear about my studies. I even emailed her in grade 11 I believe because I was studying Standard Level Chemistry at IB level and really struggling with it and she told me to come in and she would help me with it LOL. My point is, Pam cares a lot about her students. I’m sure she made everyone feel just as special as me, but I really hope Pam knows just how special she is to me, and how much of an impact she had on my life, because her impact is one that I will feel throughout it. She was truly the best teacher I ever had over all my years of schooling.
– Chloe T.,  former student
The yearly hiking trip was the best event to work with Pam on. It’s a big deal to leave school the second day back and head into the wild in four different directions. Year after year, Pam plans, organizes and guides this trip. There are so many memorable moments from these trips – including Pam bear spraying herself and then continuing the trip. A true wilderness warrior! Pam is the least likely to be sitting in the staff room taking a break. We have planned some fantastic house lunches together (Simpsons, Lock-Down, Carnival, Zombies, Sleep-over, and more). I think my favourite was when Pam, dressed as a mad scientist, ran into the MBC to announce a zombie takeover while the rest of us hid as zombies in the closets ready to attack. We also laughed until we cried on the trip to Tofino together. It was late, no students around, we were tired and everything was really funny! That was a very fun trip – I went into Pam withdrawal when I came home and didn’t see her for a few days! Pam never takes a shortcut or decides not to do something because it is too much work. She thinks about what experiences will be memorable and impactful for the students and makes them happen. Pam listens to students and considers their points of view, even when she is very busy, she will pause and be genuinely interested in what someone has to say. Pam is very caring, has your back and loves dogs. IPS will not be the same without you!!!
– Amanda Szabo, Learning Strategies & MYP Coordinator
I consider her one of his favourite teachers. She snowboards!
– Aiden R.
I credit Pam for helping him understand & enjoy science. The trips to Garibaldi were so memorable…I heard stories of her carrying multiple packs up the mountain and accidentally getting hit with bear spray. When I think of Pam, I think of an energetic, magnetic, strong woman! She will be missed!
– Kalan M.