IBP partner schools were connected by courageous teams of administrators and teachers – courageous because of the risks they were willing to take to provide their students with innovative curriculum and special learning opportunities. The team at Terry Fox Secondary, located in a Vancouver area suburban city, were very brave and innovative in adapting the IBP to their school’s realities.
Mrs. Maureen Parks, Business & Career Education Teacher
Mrs. Patty Gartland, International Education Coordinator
Mr. Dave Matheson, Principal
Mr. Brian Fichter, Principal
Background and Partnership Summary:
Courage certainly reflects Terry Fox Secondary and its namesake, one of Canada’s bravest and most popular heroes. Terry Fox was a student and talented basketball player. During Terry’s senior year, he developed cancer in his thigh and his leg had to be amputated. This operation effectively ended Terry’s sports career and he sadly lay in his hospital bed contemplating what to do with his life. One day a close friend visited and brought news of another athlete who had recently overcome a physical setback and made a significant contribution.
Terry Fox decided to raise his country’s awareness of cancer by walking 4,000 miles across Canada. Terry, with his amputated leg exposed, walked the equivalent of a marathon every day for months. The nation quickly became aware of his amazing challenge and millions of people daily began following his progress. Unfortunately, the cancer returned just as Terry had reached midway and eventually consumed him.
But Terry Fox had caught the imagination of his nation. Each year Terry Fox 10k and marathon races raise millions of dollars for cancer research. Port Coquitlam, BC, honored Terry’s memory by dedicating in his name the local high school that replaced the previous old building.
How did Terry Fox Secondary and North Atlanta High become partners?
The partnership was a classic example of teacher / parent word of mouth. My dear friends Howie and Ronnie Zandman had enrolled their two children, Melissa and Adam, in the North Atlanta International Studies magnet program. In 2003, Howard, now Forensic Accounting Manager for Habif, Arogeti and Wynne, was associated with Kroll Worldwide in 2003. Ron Parks, a prominent Vancouver forensic accountant, now retired and Maureen’s husband, was also associated with Kroll back then. In 1999, Kroll scheduled an annual meeting of company factors that gathered in both Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, BC. During the convention, Howard and Ron sat down at a hotel restaurant table to discuss business when they were joined by their wives Ronnie and Maureen.
The beginning of an outstanding partnership:
At that point in time, Maureen was a 33 year veteran starting to consider retirement. Ronnie described for Maureen the International Business Program (IBP) Diploma developed by North Atlanta and her interest was immediate and focused. Maureen contacted me, Arnold Heller, and I was glad to answer her many questions. Maureen established an IBP in a semester and the next year received a grant from the BC Ministry of Education to develop and offer the IBP curriculum online.
North Atlanta High – Terry Fox Secondary Exchange:
Terry Fox Secondary (TFS) hosted a NAHS IBP exchange group Feb. 12 – 19, 2000 and provided a terrific program. NAHS happily reciprocated when Maureen and
Patty Gartland brought one of the largest student delegations to Super-Exchange V hosted by the NAHS IBP April 20 – 30, 2001.
NAHS IBP exchange group hosted by Maureen Parks and the Terry Fox Secondary IBP.
The events of Sept. 11, 2001 put a damper on travel for a while but by the end of the year TFS proposed to NAHS that the two schools engage in a joint project during the 2002 Fall Semester. NAHS had discussed a joint exchange with Ludwig Erhardt Schule in Frankfurt and Sophie Charlotte Oberschule of Berlin, Germany and invited TFS to be part of the German IBP Mini-Convention 1.
Unfortunately, Maureen’s mother became too ill for her to leave the country and TFS had to withdraw from the exchange. Montego Bay High, chaperoned by Mr. Michael Willis, instead joined NAHS in the German mini-convention. When Super-Exchange VI was proposed and information distributed, TFS was one of the first schools to commit to the Montego Bay super-exchange. SE VI, however, had to be postponed for another year due to an impossible scheduling conflict.
Turks & Caicos Islands IBP Mini-Convention:
Maureen and her students wished to complete their last online course objective: educational travel and a report on a foreign business operation. Furthermore, Maureen Parks and Arnold Heller decided to honor both their retirements with a joint project to the Turks & Caicos Islands. Mrs. Rita Gardner, then Gender Issues Coordinator for the Ministry of Education, graciously invited TFS and NAHS to visit Clement Howell High School on Providenciales Island (Caicos) April 4 – 9, 2003 and H. J. Robinson High School, Grand Turk Island (Turks) April 9 – 13, 2003.
Both high schools and islands provided wonderful programs and fantastic hospitality. TFS and NAHS were very grateful to Principal Louise Thomas of Clement Howell and Principal Jane Garland of H. J. Robinson. The TCI IBP Mini-Convention 1 was a great success and memorable last exchange for Mrs. Parks and Dr. Heller.
Friday, Jan. 15, 1999 – the partnership takes form.
Global Connections 2000 Conference in Vancouver: Select example of presentations that were scheduled.
The IBP / ACTCo explored the possibility of importing BC First Nation arts and crafts but the prices were too high to profitably sell in the Atlanta market.
Terry Fox Secondary participated in Super-Exchange V, April 20 – 30, 2001, and carried out upon returning home the conference’s learning objectives.
The TFS IBP exchange group took what they learned during the iXL e-commerce symposiums and produced program and student run enterprise web pages.
For more information about Terry Fox Secondary’s Super – Exchange V experience, please access folders Super – Exchange V: Greatest Student Exchange in History and
SE V – Part 2.
The beginning of the end of a Golden Age in global entrepreneurship education at the secondary level:
Unfortunately, the British Columbia provincial government experienced a budget crisis in 2002 and began radically trimming educational budgets, especially specialized program’s such as Maureen was building at Terry Fox. Just as Maureen had fully adapted the IBP to Terry Fox, she had to begin dismantling it. The irrationality of that took its toll and Maureen began to consider retirement.
At the same time, the Atlanta system was moving in a different direction – more expensive, specialized, un-measureable programs such as the IBP were losing favor. Getting the test scores up by re-allocating financial resources as equally as possible became an APS mantra. Of course, the testing emphasis would lead to the worst educational scandal in American history. I, too, began to sense a similar fate for the NAHS IBP and decided to retire June 4, 2004, rather than experience dismantling my program too. Doug Frutiger promised to keep the IBP going as well as he could but administrative demands and further magnet budget cuts limited what he could possibly do – the program slowly dissolved.
Maureen and I brainstormed about possible locations for a “last student exchange” joint project. I suggested the Turks & Caicos and called Rita Gardner to inquire if that would work for them. TCI had sent an exchange group to SE V and had invited us to come visit them. Rita said “Come on down” and sent the following invitation. The generous TCI government covered the inter-island air fare costs.
Rita Gardner was a prototypical IBP teacher – she loved bringing people together, organized a terrific program and itinerary, juggled a million important things.
Maureen and her students flew into the Atlanta airport (group photo) – we flew jointly to TCI via Air Jamaica with a transfer in Montego Bay.
My good friend Michael Willis met us inside Montego Bay Airport to assist us in catching our Air Jamaica flight to TCI.
We were placed with host families spread across Provodenciales Island – I stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Howell who was a minister and community leader.
The island view from the Howell hilltop home’s front yard and porch.
The people of TCI are surprisingly religious and Christianity can be almost furiously preached during the Sunday morning church services, especially among the more fundamentalist and evangelical congregations.
The tour of Cable and Wireless revealed a well managed company and operation.
Maureen and Terry Fox student taking rest with conch aqua farm in background. Conch is a staple food for TCI people and it is prepared many different ways.
IBP students purchased conch shells for gifts to give back home. TCI is developing smaller, upscale vacation resorts to build their tourist industry – they wish to avoid construction of “soulless, giant hotels with 1,000+ rooms and indifferent mass staff.
Clement Howell High appeared to me to be a traditional Caribbean secondary school – the students were dressed in uniforms, mostly sex segregated in classrooms, and
congregated daily each morning for a pep talk from the principal and a devotional.
NAHS and TFS students in group photo with some of their Clement Howell High host students. Clement Howell, whom the school was named after, is the father
of Conrad Howell.
The students loved exploring this big deep cave.
A TCI version of a Trinidadian steel band entertained the farewell party.
We arrived in Grand Turk and were surprised to learn that the island and town was more of an administrative center than a tourist resort. A bad hurricane had hit the island in 1978 and a new hotel had not been constructed since. Regardless, Grand Turk is a quaint and picturesque town and we quickly fell in love with the place.
Courtesy call on and reception with Ministries of Education and the Chief Secretary and staff. Rita Gardner, the lady with the sport jacket, is in center of group.
Example of quaint village architecture with narrow lanes and Victorian trim.
Maureen, three of our students, and myself enjoy lunch in the lovely café courtyard.
Instructor has a mission to reconstruct traditional TCI culture with focus on native song, musical instruments, dance and dress.
IBP students are briefed on the development of TCI infrastructure with a focus on wireless and cable communications.
Photo of picture exhibited in Museum of Turks & Caicos.
I am pictured with my residential host on Grand Turk Island, an accountant with the Ministry of Finance.
The Local Village Beach Bar & Restaurant is a center of town and community life and busy most nights of the week. This adjacent beach is the activity center where different groups play American football or European soccer. My students took on a very athletic group of local divers who were also fisherman, soccer and football players. A third group, Orthodox rabbis gathered from the Chabad movement synagogues spread across North America, were vacationing courtesy of New York billionaire Ronald Perelman. The three groups, distinctly different but very friendly, rotated in matches against each other two days in a row.
The rabbis invited Maureen and I to lunch with Mr. Perelman who was vacationing off of Grand Turk in his $250 million dollar yacht with then ex-wife actress Ellen Barkin. Ron Perelman was impressed with the IBP concept and said that more American schools should be copying us.
Is this a great student exchange or what?
That’s Ron Perelman’s yacht in the background, Bill Gates and Paul Allen were also anchored in their own luxury yachts off of Grand Turk. Right after taking this picture, a fisherman who had befriended my students in a football game, walked into the Local Village’s kitchen and sold a 53 pound grouper (that he had just caught 20 minutes before) to the chef. 30 minutes later that incredibly fresh grouper was served up with a lemon butter sauce and was about the best piece of fish that I’ve ever eaten. It’s good to retire well.
The sunset viewed from the Local Village Bar deck symbolically reflected the end of our TEC exchange, IBP programs, and educational careers.