From a modest beginning in a one room rural school where he was janitor, teacher and principal, Mr. Galibois has climbed the ladder of success, until he now holds the title of Director of Planning at Tumbler Ridge.
Claude began his illustrious teaching career in 1946, in a one-room high school at Progress, teaching grades 9 to 12. Not only did he act as teacher, but he also served as janitor. In winter he had to arrive at the school early to get the fire started and the school warm before the students arrived. However, his initiation into the education field must have been a happy one, as the following year Claude attended Normal School at Victoria.
On his return he was offered the position of teacher at South Dawson. At this time the enrollment was about twenty students. He was the first male teacher in this school. He not only acted as janitor and teacher, but also as a cook, as he lived in a teacherage. This old building was excessively hot in summer and freezing cold in winter.
While here, Claude taught the students some of the rudiments of badminton. The South Dawson Hall was used as a court. Presumably he had permission to paint the white lines on the floor. Another first for his students was when he took them on a Field Trip to Dawson Creek Elementary School where they saw a P.A. System and heard an automatic bell system for the first time.
On weekends Claude would often go home, and his father would bring him back Sunday evening. In winter this was a cold, difficult trip. Often the roads would be impassable and the four by four would have to roar through fields where the snow was not so deep.
The following summer, when many teachers enjoy a holiday, Claude enrolled at University. He continued further study at U.B.C. and the University of Alberta each summer for a number of years until he received his Bachelor of Arts, as well as his Bachelor of Education.
From 1949 to 1951 he taught at Dawson Creek Elementary. Most class sizes at this time were 40 or more students per room so it presented a real challenge, not only to prepare lessons, teach and mark books, but as well just to find space for each pupil.
In 1954 Claude married Helen McIntyre, who was teaching primary in Dawson Creek Elementary.
His next position was in Dawson Creek Senior School, where he remained until 1955. The next two years were spent at Grandview Elementary. He then was offered the post of Vice Principal of this school, a job he held until 1963.
At this time a principal was required at Parkhill and again Claude was selected to fill the position. Not only did he ably meet this challenge, but as well he taught French half time at South Peace Senior Secondary. He was well qualified to teach this subject because of his French background.
His administrative ability was again demonstrated in 1965, when he became supervising principal at both Tremblay and Canalta Schools. Claude was a very busy man rushing back and forth between the two schools whenever a crisis developed. He held this position for four years.
At this time there was an opening for Director of Elementary Education available, so Claude made another move — this time to the School Board Office. However he still kept close contact with the schools and much of his time was spent visiting, helping and encouraging teachers throughout the district. Claude was never too busy to give assistance and advice to the many teachers who filed into his office.
From 1975 to 1980 Claude held the title of Director of Instruction, a position which demanded a great deal of planning, insight and perception of school problems. He is now Director of Planning for a school at Tumbler Ridge.
As well as dedicating so many years to teaching and administration, Claude also found time to take an active part in the Peace River South Teachers’ Federation. A great deal of time was spent on this work, and it can be said, “He always did his homework”, as he had the right answer whenever questions arose. His vast knowledge in these areas enabled him to settle many controversial questions.
Claude joined the Elks Lodge in 1963 and is an active valued member. He held the office of Exalted Ruler in 1970 and 1971, and has been treasurer of the Elks’ Club for the past five years. In September 1981 he was made an Honorary Life member of the Lodge, in appreciation of his great contribution throughout the years.
Claude’s personal contribution to students, the school district, the PRSTA, the BCTF and the entire community cannot be measured. Although he has dedicated 35 years to school affairs, it is certain that he will continue to take an active interest in the coming years. It is hoped that he will have more time in the future to enjoy his favorite sports — fishing, curling and duck hunting.
Claude Galibois believes in the philosophy of Goethe – “If you treat an individual as he is, he will stay as he is, but if you treat him as he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” Claude ought to be, and is a Teacher Plus.
The Mirror, Summer 1982