Recent Stelly’s alumnus Ottalie Garvin (centre) with some of the classmates that brought her up Mt. Albert Edward in May 2016. (Hugo Wong/News Staff)

Stelly’s grad thanks friends for the trip of a lifetime

Stelly’s annual Global Gala was extra special this year, as the school celebrated its 40th anniversary and recognized a group of former students who gave a classmate the trip of a lifetime.

When Ottalie Garvin was in Grade 11, she asked if it was even possible to join the Stelly’s Outdoor Pursuits class on their annual journey up Mt. Albert Edward. Garvin has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, but the following year, 19 students, 6 teachers and four support staff brought Garvin up the Island’s sixth-highest peak. The class was given a plaque from the Lisa Huus Memorial Fund recognizing their efforts.

“This is a great accomplishment and I know our Lisa would have loved ever minute of this special adventure. To me, that is true integration,” said Annie Huus, who spoke at the event.

Lisa Huus was the first physically disabled student in B.C. to enter the public school system with a support worker. Her mother Annie manages the Lisa Huus Bursary, which provides money to support university-bound students with physical disabilities. Garvin, who is now a creative writing student at the University of Victoria, is a recipient of this bursary.

The Grade 12 students that accompanied Garvin up the mountain were experienced, having already done the Mt. Albert Edward trip and the West Coast Trail.

During the four-day trek in May 2016, students used shovels to even out paths and ropes to pull her (and her special sled) up the mountain. “What they learned on that trip was how to love, how they could give of themselves to take care of somebody else,” said Paul Ledet, who teaches the Outdoor Pursuits class.

Several weeks before Garvin went, sections of the terrain were evaluated as risky, and they got more treacherous when Garvin did go, so they chose not to summit.

“In the last day, she was in significant pain,” said Ledet, “but she continued to laugh and joke and smile through it all.”

Garvin herself said it was “an amazing spiritual experience that I could not believe,” and that she appreciated “every second” of the work students put in to carry her with them.

Ledet said he was moved by what happened on the third and final night of the trip.

“We got to Croteau Lake and after supper [the students] asked if it would be possible to take her away to where they have the best viewpoint of the sunset and the mountains. And so the Grade 12s just left and as adults we just stayed at the camp and hung out and were amazed by what they were doing to give her the best possible experience.”

He stopped several times in his speech to the crowd, saying “I came prepared,” as he blinked away tears while Garvin teased him with laughter.

“She’s laughing at me because she knows the tears come,” said Ledet.

These days, Garvin is writing a lot of horror stories, and she had a simple explanation as to why that appeals to her.

“I don’t know, because they’re fun, that’s why! Because I want to get as rich and influential as Stephen King!”

Whatever her future successes, though, she will not forget the friends who made her trip of a lifetime possible.

“I love them from the bottom of my heart,” said Garvin. “Seriously, there are few people I love more than these kids.”



reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Pink Shirt Day uplifting for West Shore RCMP

Members of the West Shore RCMP have scheduled a variety of activities with students Feb. 26

Wear your rose-coloured glasses for the second annual Pink Shirt Gala

Anti-bullying event promises pink drinks, food and shirts

Pink Shirt Day originator to speak at Monterey school in Oak Bay

Travis Price continues anti-bullying movement with Island tour

No dogs allowed off-leash at Luxton Fairgrounds in Langford

New sign placed by Metchosin Farmers Institute on Wednesday, Feb. 19

Metchosin aims to enforce dog leash rule after dog attacks on sheep farm

Stillmeadow Farm loses three to five sheep every year due to loose dogs

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read