Alberta School Boards Association’s (ASBA) President’s message: End of school year

Alberta’s students taught us the lessons we needed.

From the closures of schools and businesses to the challenges that come with physical distancing from our loved ones, our collective capacity to adapt has been tested over the course of the pandemic.

As president of Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA), I envisioned a year marked by the expected ups and downs that come with my role as a school board trustee. However, this year was different in many ways, forcing us all to approach our work and thinking differently as we faced, and continue to face, an uncertain environment. This brings to mind a quote:

“Today we close the door to the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath, step on through and open a new chapter in our lives.” Unknown

As I consider this sentiment, I find myself reflecting on a group that has undoubtedly experienced an incredible amount of change: Alberta’s students.

Rather than spending time with friends and participating in extracurricular activities, approximately 733,000 students across Alberta spent this year socially distancing and entering in and out of virtual classrooms. For our Grade 12 students, this also meant the graduation experience was not quite what they had imagined. Yet, through it all, students adapted and showed remarkable resilience to these circumstances. They transitioned to online learning overnight and found creative ways to keep connected with friends and classmates. Ultimately, they found opportunities within the uncertainties.

Though graduation looks a bit different this year, it remains an important milestone. Students have worked hard for the past 17 or 18 years to get to this point with teachers, staff, parents, community members and school board trustees rallying behind them to ensure their safety and success.

Years from now, the pandemic will serve as a reminder to this year’s graduating class of the resilience they developed, and of what they are able to accomplish in the face of adversity. What an honour it is to celebrate their achievements.

As we reach the end of the 2020-2021 school year, we can collectively close the door on a year of challenges and change. I am sure many of us are ready to hear that door click shut, but before we do, let us take some time to reflect on the incredible chapter we have completed.

Take a moment to reflect on the many victories we share. Then take a big step into the next chapter.

Personally, I plan to emulate what Alberta’s students have so clearly demonstrated over this year: adapting and learning from whatever comes my way.

Best Wishes,


Lorrie Jess

President, ASBA