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Blog: Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Celebrating Joe Frew

Every school has them – generous and inspirational staff members who give of their personal time to make a difference for others. Certainly, Terry Fox Elementary has many such wonderful caring people. And a standout among them is Joe Frew. Since his hire into the district 4 years ago, Mr. Frew (our school’s PE and ELL teacher) has helped our school community develop a powerful sense of identity and school spirit. Adored by students and respected by colleagues, his enthusiasm and hard work have helped to make this school a place where everyone feels welcome and included. Here’s why:

  • Athletics: Seeing a need for engaging athletic activities before and after school, Joe built a gaga ball pit 2 years ago - creating a cultural revolution. It was so successful, that we had to get a second gaga ball court! His before and after-school gaga ball club has more than 50 students attending. Joe also started an after school running club for students once a week two years ago in addition to an after school competitive intermural soccer team.
  • School Events: Joe makes every event and fundraiser more fun for everyone – including staff! He plays upbeat music daily in gym class and on the playground, runs Halloween and Christmas Carnivals, puts on Sports Day, the Terry Fox Run, Jump Rope For Heart and writes and performs his own parody songs. You can count on Joe to wear the best costume on staff for spirit days too.
  • School Clothing: After we rebranded ourselves the Terry Foxes in 2020, Joe designed a Fox clothing line to celebrate our new identity. He found a local manufacturer and coordinated all the clothing orders. All staff have shirts now and many students too; they are worn with tremendous spirit and pride!
  • Building Projects: In addition to building the gaga ball court, another teacher wanted to run an extracurricular Lego Club for primary students. So, Joe volunteered to create a Lego Wall in our library on which to display student creations. Seeing there was no place for students to sit and hang or work in our large foyer, Joe and his dad built the “Kids Corner” workstation out of gorgeous wood. Joe also volunteered his time to lay down all the spray paint for the playground stencils and soccer field lines so students have engaging learning and playing spaces around the school
  • Staff Wellness: Joe gathered some staff members to clear out the severely overgrown inner courtyard adjoining our staff room and discovered a large BBQ and metal gazebo under all the foliage that no one even remembered was there! Creating a sign to christen it “the Educator’s Oasis”, he works the grill in costume and makes treats for the staff several times a year. Joe also runs fun staff contests, brings in treats for the staff regularly and runs the Staff Social Committee. The impact on staff morale has been such a blessing!
  • Inclusion: Joe takes great care to ensure children of all abilities are included and welcome in our athletic and extracurricular programs. He co-runs our SBT meetings and partnered with our district Equity Helping Teacher and a University of Fraser Valley professor to collaboratively design inclusive lessons for the gym.
  • District Teams: Joe is part of the Abbotsford Teacher Leadership Academy this year. He is a contributing member of the Equity for Humanity district project, creating the Elementary Physical Education and Health portion of the Equity Tool Kit for teachers. In this role, he collaborated with teachers and Principals across the Abbotsford District to highlight how inclusion and equity of access looks like in the gym. Joe also organized a professional golfer to teach district educators how to play disc golf during a professional development day, getting local restaurants to provide donated prizes.

Terry Fox Elementary is a school with some of the highest needs in Abbotsford. Thus, it cannot be overstated how much this school community has benefitted from Joe Frew’s contributions of personal time, enthusiasm and creative energy. With humility and school spirit, he galvanizes our community to work together to achieve so many wonderful things. He truly is a difference maker.

Submitted by Angela Magon, Principal for Terry Fox Elementary