March 29th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 13
Thank you Ian Baxter
Rick's Corner
They say it takes a village to raise a child and, really, no truer words have been said.

My three poor boys, growing up in a small town and having me as their mom, must find it tough to get up to no good.

This brings me to one of my favourite people in the world, Mr. Ian Baxter, former Principal of the Crowsnest Consolidated High School.

A few months ago while I was cooking dinner, Keiran and I had a great visit about his graduation. He was telling me about the bottle drive that was slated for the upcoming weekend and out of the blue he said, “Mom, I’m so happy that Mr. Baxter is my Principal for graduation. That man has made me who I am today in many ways.” I paused, looked at Keiran and, intrigued, asked him to explain.

Keiran said, “You know, Mom, in Grade 10, I really didn’t care about school, or my marks, or much at all, really. I was about partying and having fun. I know you and Dad were upset, but I didn’t really care.”

I must admit that Keiran at 16 was tough on me. He was exerting his independence and has a bit of Stubborn Sygutek in him. We were often in a battle of wills and I will tell you all, I was losing.

At my wit’s end, I contacted Ian and requested his help on the school side, like keeping an eye on Keiran, letting me know when he skipped school, helping me keep track of his marks, and so on.

Ian stepped right up to the plate. He took my rebellious teen under his wing and with tough love and strict rules, helped us get him under control. Ian at no point has even been hostile or rude to Keiran, but what he gave him were clear boundaries, consistent rules and high expectations. As a result, Keiran responded in a way that we, as parents, couldn’t achieve.
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To this day, Keiran and Ian have a special relationship, one based on respect. That’s the key word here: respect. Keiran respects Ian Baxter. He doesn’t want to let him down. He wants to make him proud, not because he is scared of him, but because he respects him as a teacher and as a mentor.

What a fine job he has done helping us raise our son. This year during a fire drill, Keiran and a buddy were goofing off and Ian was very disappointed in him. My son came home very upset, not because Ian reprimanded him, but because he disappointed someone he respects. You goof off in your job, you get fired. You goof off in university, your professor fails you. That’s real life.

Another story I’d like to share happened this year when a student in the parking lot threw insults at Mr. Baxter in front of Keiran. Keiran was so angry on Mr. Baxter's behalf that he sincerely wanted to punch the kid. He didn’t, but he was that upset.

The problem we have today is that some kids seem to lack respect for their teachers. I’m not pigeonholing all kids, but several don’t show the proper courtesy deserved by our educators. When I was in school, I never would have dared talking back to any teacher. The one time I felt brash enough to do so to Mr. Rigby, my French teacher and Principal, my mom made me write a letter of apology that shamed me and helped me realize how out of line I was. I guarantee you, I didn’t ever do that again.
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What makes Ian Baxter such an incredible teacher, mentor and Principal to the kids is his ability to garner respect. He loves each and every one of his students, but he sets clear boundaries and calls them on their indiscretions. He is not only making them accountable for their actions, but also teaching them a valuable life lesson as future adults.

In my humble opinion, the world is not always a warm and fuzzy place; it can be and at times, definitely is, hard and tough. Although I am fine with a bit more coddling at the younger grade levels, by high school, we are starting to get into a real-world environment. To have a Principal and staff that expect respect, with a level of fairness, is exactly what we need to make capable adults in the future.

So Ian Baxter, thank you for your hard work as my son’s Principal. Thank you for doing what isn’t always necessarily easy and thank you for caring for each and every one of our students. The Crowsnest Pass and the high school will definitely be a lot less bright without you in there. You will succeed and do great things wherever you go. The Livingstone Range School Division’s loss is some other school and division’s gain.
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March 29th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 13
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