Today was a special day. The community school originally planned to serve salmon and rice for lunch, but when the school’s Indigenous Support Worker realized that this lunch would fall on National Indigenous Peoples Day, plans for lunch got big real fast.

Wouldn’t it be great if the entire school could have a salmon lunch together on this day? Yes, it’s a great idea, but could we pull it off?

This discussion set in motion several moving parts that came together in a wonderful ceremony and lunch on this day.

Cooking for the entire school, staff, and VIPs was a daunting task and one that we were not sure we could do. How do you cook nearly 300 portions of salmon in time for lunch? How much salmon do we need and where do we get it from?

As executive director Shawn Thir was thinking about this over coffee one Friday morning at school, he bumped into Tara Webb (because her son’s mission is to serve tea to his friends every Friday morning) and told her what was on his mind. It turns out, her family fishes. A lot. And her partner had been having a good season. On hearing the plan for lunch, she generously offered to donate some salmon. How much did we need? About 10 kg to feed everyone. Not a problem. Done.

A salmon caught by Tara Webbs’s son that was donated for the lunch. We cannot express our gratitude for the generosity of Tara and her family.
We processed the salmon fillets into 307 salmon patties. More than enough to feed the school.

With the problem of the salmon solved, the next question was how would we cook them? There was no way we could do this on a kitchen stove or kitchen griddle. Enter the Courtenay Elementary PAC. Using money raised at the recent fun fair, they purchased a propane griddle for the school that allowed us to cook 50 patties at a time.

The huge propane griddle allowed us to cook 50 patties at a time.

The next problem was how to get everything from the griddle to the gym where everyone was assembled. In addition to the burgers, there was watermelon and treats that had to be delivered.

The Courtenay Elementary community answered the call. An email from the principal asking for help resulted in a small army of volunteers who made short work of all the work that needed to be done.

The school community answered the call for help and made short of everything from assembling the burgers to wrapping and then delivering them to the kids.
Photo of a group helping adults
Heroes of the day. This is most of the helpers as a few had to leave early. Words cannot express the gratitude for making serving lunch a smooth and fun process for the school. It was also great to see new faces get involved with school events. You help make the world go round.

The end result was a fantastic lunch (pictured at the top of this article) that garnered raves from students and teachers alike on the delicious burgers and an enjoyable lunch for everyone.

Kids in a gymnasium eating lunch together
Time to eat!

Thank you to the school’s ISW, Holly Douglas, for thinking big!

Thank you to Tara Webb and her family for donating the salmon that fed our school!

Thank you to the Courtenay Elementary PAC and the school community for your time and effort!

What a fantastic day!

Photo of Shawn and Masako
Last but not least, a special thanks to Ms Masako for turning the salmon into a delicious lunch. How do you do that? You spend three weekends making them in batches from scratch. The school is lucky to have such as skilled Food Services Worker. Executive director Shawn Thir can hold her close because the two just happen to be married. (Photo courtesy of Comox Valley Schools SD71.)