Date:

October 13, 2020

In September 2020, MEI alumni were asked via the MEI alumni e-news and social media about the teachers who influenced them during their time at MEI Schools. Here are some of the many responses by email – please interact with the social media posts below to read more. Connect with the MEI Alumni Office and share your memories by emailing alumni@meischools.com

Miss Nora Martens 1964-1995

“How could you forget a gem like Nora Martens! She was such a fabulous Home Ec. teacher! Back when sewing your clothes was cheaper than buying them at Winners. Along with the practical things like hemming pants and how to lay out a pattern, she taught us the finer details of how to sew a fitted suit, how to make the perfect buttonhole pocket, and how to make your own pattern.

When I was getting married and sewing my dress I brought it to her at school so she could help me with the detailing in the bodice. It was such an honour to be called back a few years later and model it during a fashion show when she was retiring. Although she never married she gave us advice and council on boys and dating if we asked and we knew she gave it in confidence and love. I went on to sew many a wedding dress or formal gown for others and had my own altering business thanks to her teaching. She made a real impact on me and many other girls in her class. She cared about what she taught as well as the student and that was obvious to us all. She is missed!” Susan (Toews) Suderman, Class of 1984

“Everyone that loved Miss Martens thought they were her favorite student. We all wanted to be like her someday.” Patricia Neufeld, Class of 1977

Read more tributes to Nora Martens


Mr. Jake Braun 1962-1970

“Jake Braun was more than a coach. He challenged us on and off the basketball floor to reach for our full potential. He didn’t settle for second best, nor did he allow us to. He brought out the desire in us to be the best we could be – always. He recognized our abilities and encouraged us to channel them for the greater good. For me it was leadership, and he was the teacher who encouraged me to run for election as student council president in 1966/67.” Dave Loewen, Class of 1967

 

“Mr. Braun’s coaching method in BB inspired me during my many years as a school coach, a minor & adult community coach and dealing with the inevitable issues of life. I remember with nostalgia the many times our opponents seemed invincible but with quiet assurance and confidence in our game plan, Mr. Braun remained unperturbed.” Harold Derksen, Class of 1964

 


Mr. Rudy Baerg 1962-1968

“Rudy was my music teacher – for choir(s); choral groups & an advisor for our double trio. I learned so much from this amazing, talented & quiet man. He knew his stuff & had a remarkable way of teaching. He was also my choir director at my church. I had the privilege of sharing the affect his teaching had on my life with him a couple of years ago before he passed away, and then also with his widow – who, I gather, had need of encouragement that particular day. God works in only the way He can to bring people together. “
Carolyn (Dyck) Worthing, Class of 1968


Mr. John Neufeld 1968-1993

“Mr. Neufeld and Concert Choir was so much of a highlight for my MEI days” Lorri Klassen, Class of 1983

“Concert Choir with Mr Neufeld was like being taught and supported by a loving surrogate father – he was so kind and encouraging.” Karen (Penner) Loewen, Class of 1985

Mr. Neufeld’s daughter Patricia adds:
“I also wanted to let you know my father, John Neufeld, now 92 is doing well. My parents continue to cook, clean, and engage in yard work and house work as they count it a blessing that they are able to live in their own home. “ pictured: John working in his front yard (October 2020)


Mrs. Ruth Froese 1979-1982; 1990-2012

“Mrs. Ruth Froese was one of my favourite teachers here at MEI. She taught me typing in grade 9 and 10 when had to use the old IBM Selectric typewriters; but she was also more than a typing teacher to me as she became a good friend and mentor as well. I knew I enjoyed typing but didn’t realize how crucial it would be for my life later on. When I was 20 years old and was struggling to afford University tuition, I applied for a summer temp job at BC Tel. The application process included a 2 hour aptitude test which concluded with a timed typing test (pass was 50 wpm). There were a lot of people in the room and we were told that they were only going to be hiring two positions. After the typing test, I was taken into a room for a final interview and I was told that out of all the people in the room, only two of us passed the typing test portion and we were both hired on the spot (I tested at 75 wpm). That summer temp position turned into 18 years of service and many wonderful opportunities to learn and grow and I always wished that I would have an opportunity to say thank you to Ruth. After I left BC Tel/TELUS, I was hired to work at MEI Elementary in a Secretarial position, where my typing skills continue to be an important part of my daily routine. It just so happened that Ruth Froese was still teaching at MEI Secondary when I was hired and I was able to thank her in person for the role she has played in my life for such a rewarding career.” Cheryll (Sawatzky) Rogers, Class of 1983


Mr. Ken Bartsch 1985-2002

“I would love to offer kudos and appreciation to Mr. Bartsch for his tireless work coaching junior girls basketball (1991-2 ish timeframe). He put in countless hours over holidays, weekends and evenings to get us to the Provincials, despite his young family. Fond memories of our team rocking the talent contest with a rendition of “Stand by Me!” We might have lost the tournament, but we dropped jaws with our singing! Thanks Mr. B!!”
Lisa Bournelis, Class of 1993

 

 


Mr. Pete Reimer 1991-2014

“I moved from Calgary and did grade 11 and 12 at MEI. When I first arrived at the school I knew nobody. Pete Reimer was the first person let alone teacher to talk to me, and right off the bat he made me feel welcome with his smile, humor and the way he spoke. He helped me become a stronger individual, always challenging me to strive for more. I always kept to myself and never really had any close friends, until Mr. Reimer helped me understand the importance of friends, and friendship. If not for him, I wouldn’t have the amazing friends that I have today, whose kids are also my kids’ friends.

Thank you Mr. Reimer for your words of wisdom, and for welcoming me into the MEI family.”  Jetinder Shokar, Class of 1999


Mrs. Gail Harder 1987-2005  Miss Catherine Ratzlaff 1986-Current

“Being a non Mennonite and not knowing anyone in high school, both these women showed such grace and kindness to a frightened 8th grader. They taught me so much about gratitude and kindness.” Lisa Bournelis, Class of 1993

 


Mrs. Nancy Doell 1991-2010

“Hey, shout out to Mrs. Doell for her patience and knowledge. She gave me the tools to become a great artist.” Alex Wiens, Class of 1988

 

 

 

 


Mr. Greg Dyck 1991-Current

“In grade 11, I chose Chemistry as my science and Mr Dyck was my teacher. It wasn’t my strongest subject but I enjoyed it. The summer after grade 11, as I was trying to decide which courses to take in grade 12, Mr Dyck sent me a card in the mail encouraging me to keep going with Chem. I so very much appreciated that he had recognized how much I enjoyed Chem, even though it was a struggle, and that he took the time to encourage me to persevere. I have great memories of Chem 11 and 12 because of Mr. Dyck.” Amanda Doerksen, Class of 2006

“I am delighted that Mr. Greg Dyck is still at MEI, inspiring the next generation of thought leaders in their scientific pursuits. I still remember the wonderful science fair project in Grade 9 Science about gram staining and antibiotics, thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Dyck, who encouraged my intellectual curiosity and pursuit of continued learning opportunities. More than twenty years later, I still appreciate Mr. Dyck’s dedication as a teacher and fondly remember his science, biology and chemistry classes as my favorites.” Amanda K. Ens, Class of 2001


Mr. Chad Joiner 2001-Current

“When I first met Mr. Joiner in elementary school… I didn’t like him. He was strict and had these pesky things called “expectations”. Expectations meant I couldn’t goof off as much and had to actually practice my instrument. But over time, I learned that Expectations were actually a belief in the potential of students. Mr. Joiner believed that we could excel, that we could win competitions, that we could be performance-level musicians. And he expected us to fulfill our potential, and wouldn’t accept us being less than what we could be. This led to friction at times, but there’s no refinement without fire. As he developed his bands, we won international competitions against triple-A schools, were recorded in multiple video games and movies, and were hired to perform for many giant well-known brands. This caliber of experience and opportunity is insane for high-school students, much less any amateur musician. The recognition it’s brought to MEI is unprecedented. On a more personal level, Mr. Joiner didn’t treat us like irresponsible students, but regularly gave us opportunities to lead and take responsibility. He wasn’t just teaching us how to play instruments; he was teaching us how to be ambassadors of Christ, servant leaders in the community, successful individuals, and good companions to our Christian brothers and sisters in band (the rest of the “bandies”). I’ve been blessed to have various leadership and community opportunities in adulthood, and I trace many of those things directly back to the capability and leadership that Chad Joiner spoke into me before I knew they were there myself.

In addition to my family, I made a point of inviting Chad Joiner to my UFV graduation, because I consider him responsible for many of the extra-curricular things I was able to accomplish.” Derek Froese, Class of 2007

Pictured above: Derek Froese (left), with Chad Joiner and the rest of the band in 2007
Right: Chad at Derek’s 2012 UFV Grad


Mr. Mike Opp 2000-Current

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of Mr. Opp. He encouraged me to apply for leadership positions and showed me how to be a good leader. Without having him as my teacher throughout high-school to believe in my abilities, I never would have found my love for technology and coding, and wouldn’t have pursued a career that is so male-dominated. Thanks Mr. Opp!”  Cindy Unrau, Class of 2016