Kindergarten students from Sir James Douglas Elementary cheered and waved hand-made Canadian flags to welcome the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia as she arrived at the final stop in her tour of four south Vancouver schools.
The Honourable Judith Guichon has pledged to visit 150 B.C. schools before July 1. The first stop of the day in Vancouver - Oppenheimer Elementary - marked number 87 on her list. Also receiving visits from the Queen's representative in B.C. were John Henderson Elementary, where two Grade 7 students from the school's Spirit Leadership Team greeted the Vice-Regal Party at the door, and David Thompson Secondary, where culinary arts students prepared the dignitaries a light lunch.
Guichon spoke to assemblies at each school about the role of the Lieutenant Governor in Canada's constitutional monarchy. She explained that the pomp and ceremony that often go along with the many rituals of her office are important because they signal the significance of what is taking place in venues like the legislature. The veteran rancher is B.C.'s 29th Lieutenant Governor and she calls herself the first cowboy in the job.
"My three 'R's' are respect, relationship and responsibility - for ourselves, one another and the land that supports us all." When addressing the secondary students, she talked about their obligation to vote. "Democracy is not a spectator sport. You have a responsibility to remain engaged. Talk to your representatives about the things that are important to you."
After the speeches came questions from the audience. The first at every school was whether or not Guichon had met the Queen and, if so, what she was like. The answer was "yes" and "she's wonderful". Other questions included: Who are your inspirations? How did you get your job? What's your favourite part of being Lieutenant Governor? What's your greatest challenge?
At the end of each assembly, the Lieutenant Governor greeted as many students personally as possible, shaking hands at every opportunity - she even gave a few hugs. One young Douglas Elementary student exclaimed, "I'm never washing this hand again!"