Ucluelet’s Rina Vigneault has retired from her long-held French teaching position at USS and UES. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Ucluelet’s Rina Vigneault has retired from her long-held French teaching position at USS and UES. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Longtime local French teacher retires

"It has been a real pleasure to work with your kids."

Bon Voyage, Madame V.

The West Coast’s popular local french teacher Rina Vigneault has sheathed her chalk and announced her retirement.

It’s been a rewarding journey for the longtime local teacher who moved to Ucluelet in 2001 after teaching French Immersion in Kamloops for 15 years.

There were no full-time teaching positions available when she arrived and she began as a part-time, on-call, teacher. She took several part-time positions before taking over Bruce Forest’s grade 5/6 split class around 2004 and taught Grade 1 English at Wickaninnish Community School the next year.

Her big break came in 2006 when she was delighted to accept the Ucluelet Secondary School French teacher position, which she held until her retirement.

“French has always been a priority for me,” Vigneault told the Westerly News. “I guess I was kind of a pioneer out West to promote the French language, and I felt I really did this at the high school.”

While teaching at USS, Vigneault also taught French to Grade 4-7 UES students.

“What I enjoyed the most was to see the students learn more and more French, learn about the French culture of France and of French Canada,” she said. “I very much enjoyed taking students on the Quebec trip every two years, and see them embracing the culture, the history, and the language. These were very precious moments to me because I saw students becoming very proud of being able to communicate in French and use it afterwards in the different jobs they took on here on the West Coast.”

Vigneault also taught Social Studies and English classes and enjoyed the role she played producing well-rounded graduates.

“Having studied in English and French linguistics, these two languages have always been very important to me,” she said.

“I feel that my biggest accomplishment was to help the students achieve higher result in both English and French, as well as broadening their experience in French, and then inspiring them to learn a second language.”

She added the team of West Coast educators she’s been a part of for nearly 20 years consistently helped foster a steady flow of eager young learners.

“Our students are curious, ready to learn and have good initiative,” she said. “Our students are adventurous and are involved in the West Coast communities. I think that we owe this to our educators, to the parents and to all of the volunteers who are so committed to these kids out here.”

Her transition into retirement won’t include a change of scenery right away as she assured she “absolutely” plans to stay in Ucluelet.

“My husband Jur and I love living here and we are not moving away,” she said. “I am planning to continue to grow food organically in our garden, build my rock walls to terrace our garden, get back into kayaking, working with French in one way or another, and travelling.”

She added she plans to take her time mapping out the next stage in life and thanked her community for supporting her career.

“Since it is very important, I will take the time to reflect and decide on my new directions for this next part of my life,” she said. “I want to thank the community for having believed in me and committed full on for all of these fundraising activities to go on these big Quebec trips every two years. People put their confidence in me and helped me accomplish what I felt I had to do for our West Coast students. Thank you so much everyone because I could not have done it without you…It has been a real pleasure to work with your kids.”

Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News