After moving to Sun Peaks from Halifax in September of 2015 with his family, including three school aged children, Ross Blakenley joined the Sun Peaks Education Society (SPES) board. One year later he and his family have settled in the community and he has taken over the role of president from Barb Kupferschmidt after being elected by the 12-member board.
He knows he has big shoes to fill as he takes over from Kupferschmidt.
“Barb has shown a tireless dedication to the SPES over many years and this has continued with her involvement in our fundraising events,” said Blakenley.
Blakenley chose to get involved with the school to help as his own children attended and to get involved in the community.
“I wanted to help out and influence it,” he said. “It has been a really phenomenal experience.”
He said he is excited to help advance the secondary school as it grows and guide fundraising efforts, something he said is a major goal for the group. Since its inception in 2010 the society has raised over $500,000. The majority of the funds pay for teaching co-ordinators to work with students.
“A lot goes into sustaining it,” Blakenley said. “The next big thing is to be able to accommodate more students.”
SPES vice president Maria Cannon agreed it’s important to make room for new students in the community.
“More families are moving in and embracing Sun Peaks as a marvelous community to live in,” Cannon said.
She said support from members of the community has been fantastic as SPES works to improve the school.
“It is really nice to see the combination of those who are new to the community and those who have been involved from the beginning,” said Cannon.
Cannon added Kupferschmidt’s work was very important to the school.
“I’ve worked closely with Barb from the beginning, and she has such a passion and commitment to the school which has been a huge part of the schools’ success.”
Blakenley said support from the community has helped make the secondary school a more popular option with students and their families.
“More people are seeing the secondary school as a good option,” he said. “It is a great place and as it grows I think it will only get better.”