MEI Schools > Testimonials > Erin Parkes

Erin Parkes


1996 Graduate
MEI Secondary School

” I have really good memories from my years there.”

I attended MEI from grades eight through twelve (1992-1996), and was the first from my family to attend MEI. I have really good memories from my years there. I was very active in sports, playing basketball all throughout my high school days making some good friendships. I was the first female snowboarder to join the ski/snowboard team which made it to the provincials the year I joined. I was named MVP!

Some teachers who stood out to me were Mr. Fast, Mrs. Ritter and Ms. Martens. Mr. Fast was fun and loved sports, he was a new teacher back then and was able to take us to Red Mountain in Rossland for the ski/snowboard provincials, which was pretty awesome. Right after graduation I became a certified snowboard instructor and went on to share my love of snowboarding with others.

Mrs. Ritter really connected to our P.E. class. She led devotions in P.E. and she inspired my love for running. I have since run in many events, including five half marathons, three Cultus Lake Give or take 30 km trail races, and the first Run for Water ultra-marathon in 2012.

Miss Martens was so loving while teaching us to sew. She even sewed all of the bridesmaids’ dresses for my wedding in 1999.

My husband Brian and I have three sons who have a love of sports as we do. I felt connected and safe while attending MEI. I was genuinely cared for and quite prepared with leadership skills for adulthood when I graduated. Thank you to all my teachers!

I grew up in the family business, always growing and learning new skills. I started out sweeping in the shop for my Dad at a young age and then began to develop bookkeeping skills under the guidance of my aunt and grandma as a teenager. I now serve as the financial Controller for our company.

Our family business, Valley Pulp & Sawdust Carriers, is a third generation business now in its 51st year. Today we employ 55 people. My grandparents, Neil and Rita Klassen, never dreamed it would grow to this size. When they founded the company in 1963, it was simply a way to provide for their family, and the company now provides for many more including our employees and their families.

The original family of seven has grown to sixty-four people. Our grandparents have always taught us to give back to the local community in addition to serving where we feel God is calling us individually. Last year we began brainstorming some ideas about how to continue the legacy of giving our grandparents inspired in us.

We decided to create the Neil and Rita Klassen Foundation to honour our grandparents and show them that we will continue to give back to the community. Our first official act on behalf of the foundation was to donate a house to the Cyrus Centre. The house has become a home for homeless youth in Abbotsford where they are taught life skills.

Our second act is setting up an annual award for MEI graduates in honour of our grandparents. We want to be leaders in the community who have a genuine concern to inspire others to become leaders.

Klassen Family Graduates

Erin (Klassen) Parkes (1996) – works at Valley Pulp
Russell Klassen (2000) – works at Valley Pulp
Stuart Klassen (2002) – (works at Valley) – married Elisa Fedrau MEI graduate 2002
Ben Klassen (2002) – works at Valley pulp – married Jacqueline Esau MEI Graduate 2002
Greg Klassen (2003) – works at Valley pulp
Kimberly Klassen (2007) Ferguson
Roxanne (Klassen) Sharma (2006)Trevor Loewen MEI graduate 2009
Brittany Klassen marrying Geoff Krahn MEI Graduate (May 2014) graduatues of 09
Jana (Klassen) Unruh married Jason Unruh MEI Graduate’s of 2009
Samantha Loewen (2012)
Rosaley Klassen currently attending grade 10 MEI