Recent Stelly’s alumnus Ottalie Garvin (centre) with some of the classmates that brought her up Mt. Albert Edward in May 2016. (Hugo Wong/News Staff)

Recent Stelly’s alumnus Ottalie Garvin (centre) with some of the classmates that brought her up Mt. Albert Edward in May 2016. (Hugo Wong/News Staff)

Stelly’s grad thanks friends for the trip of a lifetime

Stelly’s annual Global Gala was extra special this year, as the school celebrated its 40th anniversary and recognized a group of former students who gave a classmate the trip of a lifetime.

When Ottalie Garvin was in Grade 11, she asked if it was even possible to join the Stelly’s Outdoor Pursuits class on their annual journey up Mt. Albert Edward. Garvin has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, but the following year, 19 students, 6 teachers and four support staff brought Garvin up the Island’s sixth-highest peak. The class was given a plaque from the Lisa Huus Memorial Fund recognizing their efforts.

“This is a great accomplishment and I know our Lisa would have loved ever minute of this special adventure. To me, that is true integration,” said Annie Huus, who spoke at the event.

Lisa Huus was the first physically disabled student in B.C. to enter the public school system with a support worker. Her mother Annie manages the Lisa Huus Bursary, which provides money to support university-bound students with physical disabilities. Garvin, who is now a creative writing student at the University of Victoria, is a recipient of this bursary.

The Grade 12 students that accompanied Garvin up the mountain were experienced, having already done the Mt. Albert Edward trip and the West Coast Trail.

During the four-day trek in May 2016, students used shovels to even out paths and ropes to pull her (and her special sled) up the mountain. “What they learned on that trip was how to love, how they could give of themselves to take care of somebody else,” said Paul Ledet, who teaches the Outdoor Pursuits class.

Several weeks before Garvin went, sections of the terrain were evaluated as risky, and they got more treacherous when Garvin did go, so they chose not to summit.

“In the last day, she was in significant pain,” said Ledet, “but she continued to laugh and joke and smile through it all.”

Garvin herself said it was “an amazing spiritual experience that I could not believe,” and that she appreciated “every second” of the work students put in to carry her with them.

Ledet said he was moved by what happened on the third and final night of the trip.

“We got to Croteau Lake and after supper [the students] asked if it would be possible to take her away to where they have the best viewpoint of the sunset and the mountains. And so the Grade 12s just left and as adults we just stayed at the camp and hung out and were amazed by what they were doing to give her the best possible experience.”

He stopped several times in his speech to the crowd, saying “I came prepared,” as he blinked away tears while Garvin teased him with laughter.

“She’s laughing at me because she knows the tears come,” said Ledet.

These days, Garvin is writing a lot of horror stories, and she had a simple explanation as to why that appeals to her.

“I don’t know, because they’re fun, that’s why! Because I want to get as rich and influential as Stephen King!”

Whatever her future successes, though, she will not forget the friends who made her trip of a lifetime possible.

“I love them from the bottom of my heart,” said Garvin. “Seriously, there are few people I love more than these kids.”



reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Stelly’s grad thanks friends for the trip of a lifetime

Just Posted

Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which helps people in war-torn areas of the Middle East. (Photo contributed by Erin Oldman)
Royal Roads University graduate receives $25,000 award

Erin Oldman will use the award to establish a charity in the Middle East

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria residents protest masks, COVID-19 restrictions

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Most Read