Shannon Sharp lit up the world for 56 short years, even while living with cancer for the past year. She left this earth with the same grace, dignity and love that she lived her life. Her incredible strength and spirit will live on with all those who were lucky enough to know her. We are fundraising to honour Shannon by fulfilling one of her dreams: building an outdoor covered learning space at her most recent school, Salmon Arm West – The “Shannon Sharp Learning Circle.”
Shannon taught for over thirty years with School District #83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap), influencing the lives of over 600 children and their families. She taught for 19 years at Bastion Elementary where she had gone to school as a child, and where her children Jennifer and Jared also went to school. Shannon loved her time at Bastion, and treasured the outdoor spaces as well as the beautiful view of Bastion Mountain.
In 2015, she made the decision to change schools, transferring to Salmon Arm West Elementary. Part of the reason for this move was to more deeply explore her own Metis and Secwepemc ancestry. Shannon immediately felt at home at Salmon Arm West and loved that some of the students called her “Auntie Sharp!” She also loved that she had a view of Mount Ida. Although her time at SAW was far too short, we know that Shannon’s legacy will continue in the lives and hearts of our SAW community. We wish to honour Shannon’s life in part by ensuring that one of her dreams comes true; building an outdoor learning space at Salmon Arm West.
Not forgetting the children, families, and staff at Bastion, Shannon also missed the forest. She enjoyed being able to take her class outside and learn in nature. Although we are blessed with one of the most beautiful locations, we face some challenges for learning outside at Salmon Arm West. Our school field and playground are valley bottom and wet for most of the year. We currently have only two dilapidated wooden picnic tables for seating, no trees at all, and no covered spaces to enable outdoor learning in a significant or comfortable manner.
Shannon dreamed of creating a covered outdoor Learning Circle that could be used year-round. We are going to turn this dream into a reality. It will be built on dry concrete and have benches for seating. It will be a place for children and adults to gather to share knowledge, stories, dancing and meals. It will be a space to create art and poetry. It will provide shade and shelter at outdoor sporting events and a place to watch children play on our wonderful playground. It will have a view of beautiful Mount Ida.
A circle structure was chosen to support Aboriginal teachings as it symbolizes the ongoing energy found in nature. Four posts would honour the Four Directions and the mountains that surround us: Larch Hills to the east, Mount Ida to the south, Fly Hills to the west and Bastion Mountain to the north.
Our fundraising goal is $30, 000, the cost without any donated labour or materials. Volunteers are already stepping up to be involved and the Salmon Arm Metis Association has committed $1000 to the project, in Shannon’s name!Donations can be made to this site and are greatly appreciated. Donations can also be made directly at Salmon Arm West, by cash or cheques. Cheques are made out to: School District 83 (with memo line clearly stating, “Shannon Sharp Learning Circle”). Upon request, tax receipts will be issued for donations over $20.
A plaque will be installed in the Learning Circle to honour Shannon.Thank you for helping to keep Shannon’s memory and love for teaching alive. Let’s help to continue Shannon’s message, to “Keep Shining!”