Vanessa Upton

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About Me

Hi! My name is Vanessa Valgardson and this is my 19th year of teaching. This year I am delighted to be teaching the 6I homeroom as well as Archery 6 and Fishing Education 6.

I was born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta and I was a French Immersion student from kindergarten to grade 12. I completed 2 degrees from the University of Lethbridge - a BA in  Modern Languages, and then I did a BEd with a major in French and a minor in Spanish. I knew by the age of 13, while I was working for the summer at the YMCA putting on birthday parties for kids every Saturday, that I loved children and wanted to be a teacher.

I began my career at Gilbert Paterson Junior High where I ran the kindergarten in the morning and then helped teach a grade 9 French Immersion class of 40 in the afternoon. I later transitioned into a grade seven Immersion homeroom when they closed the kindergarten, and I taught 7 different classes a day! I am proud to say I have started a few new programs during my career....I began the very successful Spanish program at Gilbert Paterson, I've started the very first Archery program here at Lakie and as well I run a fishing option that I started at Paterson and continue to offer at Lakie.

Besides teaching, I have 3 other passions in my life.

As you can see by the options I teach, I LOVE the outdoors and especially fly fishing. There is nothing more relaxing and challenging at the same time, than wading a beautiful, remote mountain river, from sunrise to sunset, in search of trout.

My third passion is basketball which I began playing in grade six. I played through junior high and high school. I played for 4 summers on the Alberta Provincial Elite teams which gave me the opportunity to play in the 1989 Canada Games and I was able to travel all over Canada with these teams. When I was 16 years old I was identified as one of the top 25 players in Canada and I was invited to Toronto to try out for our national team. I ended my playing career at the University of Lethbridge where I played 5 years and was lucky enough to be the team captain in my final year and lead my team to victory at the Canada West play-offs and then to forth place at Nationals. I then was an assistant coach at the University of Lethbridge for 2 years and spent 13 years after that coaching grade 8/9 and 7/8 girls at Paterson and then at Lakie. I decided to take a break from coaching (which at the time was a very difficult decision) when my fourth, final and most valued passion came along.... 

My family consists of my wonderful husband Jordan and my two beautiful and amazing daughters Marisol Lucia(6) and Mirabel Josette(4). There is nothing I cherish more than spending time at home with my girls and husband.

I am really excited for this upcoming year and I am looking forward to getting to know each and every child in my class. Please don't ever hesitate to contact me or even pop by.

 "Life isn't worth living unless you are being loved by a child". -Buzz LightYear