[ SkipToMainMenu ]

MRS. FRANCIS BROOKE

 

Hon. Yonah Martin: Honourable senators, I rise today with these words: A teacher's purpose is not to create students in her own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.

Although I can tell you, honourable senators, that when Mrs. Brooke drove up to Renfrew Elementary School, in Vancouver, B.C., in her fancy red convertible wearing her snazzy Adidas tracksuit with her long brown hair perfectly windswept and flowing, the students stopped their courtyard hopscotch or tag to watch and greet their favourite teacher.

All the girls wanted to be just like her — including three little girls who adored Mrs. Brooke and she inspired them to dress like her, be athletic like her and grow up to be just like her. Those three little girls, Nancy Falcone, Lana Sam and Yonah Martin grew up and became teachers and went on to coach volleyball, basketball, floor hockey, badminton, gymnastics and track and field, inspired by their favourite teacher and coach, Mrs. Brooke.

At the end of June 2009, Francis "Franny" Brooke retires after a 35-year career with the Vancouver School Board. Thirty-four of those years were spent at Renfrew, where she taught and coached me, and 30 years later, my daughter Kiana.

To me and my best friends, Nancy and Lana, Mrs. Brooke remains our favourite teacher and lasting role model. We are three of thousands of students who learned to love sport due to her countless hours of dedicated coaching. Through her delivery of a dynamic physical education program and opportunities to participate in athletics, Fran Brooke taught us to become healthy, active participants and to pursue excellence in all fields.

As yesterday's eight-hour marathon session in the chamber demonstrates, June is a month like no other on the Hill and for all teachers. From endless marking to preparing final report cards, from preparing students for final exams and the big world beyond, all the while maintaining order in the classrooms as the loud call of summer sings in everyone's ear, teachers are true public servants. I have the utmost respect for all of my former colleagues and teachers everywhere and thank them for making a difference in the lives of our students and our children, including my own daughter.

In honouring Fran Brooke, I also honour all teachers past and present who have nurtured and inspired and are nurturing and inspiring the next generation of teachers; captains of Stanley Cup champions, like Sidney Crosby; astronauts, like Julie Payette; outstanding Prime Ministers, like Stephen Harper; and humble senators, like me.

Back to: Speeches