There is plenty that Ken Lucks will miss when he retires later this month, but his 4:45 a.m. alarm clock every day is definitely not one of them.
As principal of Mile 108 Elementary for the past three years, Lucks has been up bright and early to make the trek from Williams Lake each school day.
“They are long days, but it’s important to be here,” Lucks said.
After a 32-year career with School District 27, Lucks said he is excited to be moving on, but admits it will be different not returning to a school setting come September.
His teaching career began in 1989 at Anne Stevenson Secondary School in Williams Lake, where he taught a variety of classes over a 14-year span. When that school closed, he had a short posting at Columneetza Secondary before taking his first administration role at 100 Mile Junior in 2005.
Lucks took the reins at Mile 108 Elementary in 2018 and said he has enjoyed spending his last few years in the smaller South Cariboo community.
“It’s quieter in some regards,” he said, when asked how the 100 Mile area compares to working in Williams Lake. “But kids are kids, parents are parents and community is community. Everyone has a vested interest and wants to enhance it. Community is so important in schools.”
When reflecting back on his decades of working in education, Lucks said he is overwhelmed with gratitude.
“I’ve had the same employer for 32 years, and that’s not always the case anymore,” he said. “All the staff, from the maintenance workers to the bus drivers and the custodians, have always been there to assist me. I’m really appreciative of that. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support.”
Lucks said he will miss the smiles he sees every day, along with the “hustle and bustle” and the constant problem solving that comes with the role as principal. But he’s also excited for what’s to come for the staff and students at Mile 108, whose new principal, Elaine Colgate, will take over in the fall.
And though he is bidding the Cariboo farewell and moving to Kelowna, where he is most excited about enjoying shorter winters, Lucks said the region will always hold a special place in his heart.
“I’ve had lots of opportunities here,” he said. “I’ve met some wonderful people and experienced the Cariboo from one end to another, so there’s lots to miss.”
Along with a message of thanks to all those he has worked with over the years, Lucks said he hopes all his past students will carry on the love of learning he has tried to instill in them.
“Education is lifelong learning, so I hope the students and parents will continue with their learning as passionately as they are now, well into the future.”