School numbers up for second year in a row

Increased student enrolment means more programs and classes on offer this year 


An increase in pupil numbers has led to the hiring of more teaching staff at Killarney School, and more programs.

And the school principal couldn’t be happier.

“Last year our student body rose by around 40 students, and it’s higher again this year, by 17 more students,” said principal Terry Beazley. “We now have over 500 students, for the first time in 12 years. Our staff has grown by 2.5 teachers.”

As a result, the back-to-school week proved to be a little more intense than normal, he added, as both new pupils and new teachers settled into the routine. 

“It’s been a busy, but smooth start to the school year,” said Beazley.

So what has caused the increase, and where have the new students come from?

“It’s a broad spectrum of what the families are doing for employment, and where they are from,” said Beazley. “The kids are from young families; one family has come from Maple Ridge, B.C., and many are from around Manitoba. We are excited about the fact that our school is growing again. It’s an indication of a healthy community. Our community is growing.”

A new vice principal has also been appointed this year – Erica Hilhorst.

“We had a lot of applicants – maybe 20 of them overall,” said Beazley. “And we selected Erica Hilhorst because of her experience, her demeanour, her level-headedness, her work ethic, and, key for me, is that she is student-centred. She has been teaching in Manitoba for 20 years, and some of that time was as a principal at the Wellwood Colony. She has taught here at Killarney School for a number of years, teaching home economics, careers, and Grade 9 math, She will still teach internship and careers – those are her main things.”

New teachers this year include Charlene Leslie, fresh from Dakota Collegiate in Winnipeg, and also an ex-Raider who has returned to her hometown of Killarney. She will take on high school math, and home economics, said Beazley.

Jessica Johnson, also from Killarney, is returning home from Baldur School to teach a Grade7/8 split class. 

“Jessica was once an educational assistant (E.A.) here at Killarney School, and she went on to become a teacher,” said Beazley.

Liz Selby, coming from a Colony school, was also once an E.A. at Killarney School, and will become a new Grade 7 teacher here, he added.

Meanwhile, Kayla Taylor, also a former Raider, will be the new teacher for a Grade 1/2 class, and is coming from the Mayfair Colony School.

“It is interesting that Liz, Kayla, and Jessica were all student teachers at this school,” he added. “And we have the two Raiders returning.”

This increase in student population numbers also spells an increase in opportunities for the students themselves, he added.

“We are going to be able to maintain the variety of programs that we have in the school,” said Beazley. “This year we will have Applied Mathematics 11 and 12 in the classroom, as opposed to video conferencing. That’s a big deal. Grade 12 Psychology is back this year, and Ag 30 Grade 11 is also back.”

The pupil numbers in the upper years are now expected to continue increasing, as a result of the intake.

“Our high school is going to grow over the next few years,” said Beazley. 

French class is enduring a small variation this fall, following the festive retirement last year of school vice principal – and French teacher – Madame Giselle Beaupre.

But Madame Beaupre will be returning, said the principal.

“Madame Beaupre is coming back to do French on October 2,” said Beazley. “Madame Kristel Jamault, our French teacher, is on maternity leave, and Madame Beaupre will be here until June, doing half time, for Grade 4 to 8 French, and for French Club.”

Beazley said that his goal has always been to make Killarney School a place where all students can excel, even those facing challenges.

“We have really tried to make our school an inclusive school, and one that’s good for students with special needs,” he said. “This could be why some families move here. I think the reputation of the school is that it’s a pretty good place.”

NEW TEAM AT KILLARNEY SCHOOL – Teacher Erica Hilhorst (right) is the newly appointed vice principal at Killarney School. She replaces Giselle Beaupre, who retired last year, and will be working together with principal Terry Beazley (left).