Principal Randi Falls reflects on her first year at Oak Bay High. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Oak Bay High principal reflects on her first full year at the helm

‘We still honour the old … but this is a chance for kids to build some memories’

With a full year in, Randi Falls, principal at Oak Bay High School feels it may be time to start finding that perfect balance of making new memories and honouring past traditions.

Longtime staff start to dig out mementos, such as grad photos from long ago, stored since the school opened in fall 2015.

Falls, a 1980 Oak Bay High grad, officially took the lead there Feb. 1 last year. With 32 years experience as an educator, she came from Vic High, leaving the oldest school in the district for the newest.

“When I was graduating from here, I had Bob Hunt and Glen Atkinson as biology teachers and they inspired me to be a marine biologist,” she said. Post-secondary, that shifted to education and Falls was lucky enough to get a contract straight after her practicum.

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While the “lens is different” reflecting on her time as a student there, Falls sees more opportunity for today’s generation.

“When I was a student it was very much go to class, get it done, go home,” she says, acknowledging she didn’t engage in the activities offered after hours. “There is so much more for the students right now it seems to me.”

A good example is the Anything Goes musical theatre performance, that took a huge team of talent on stage and behind the scenes.

“It’s one of the best teams I’ve seen,” Falls says. “It made me think there are so many opportunities for kids to take some chances in a really supportive environment.”

The board recently approved a course on history through sport as an elective, one of about 150 that veer from dance to social justice courses.

The school also boasts awards and accolades for arts and myriad sports banners in part thank to the commitment of 20 teacher coaches leading 33 teams. “We’re so fortunate that so many of our staff are willing, able to spend that time with them,” Falls says.

Aside from those staff, the kids make the job, she says. A rough week can end on a high with a visit to a classroom where kids are engaged and having fun.

“Anytime I”m starting to feel my day explode I get out of here (her office) and into a classroom, that’s what I need,” she said.

For some of those students, June marks the End of an Era – a the theme for this year’s graduating class. They’re the last of the students who attended the old Oak Bay High, a pair of decades old buildings.

At Vic High she would talk to the kids about the memories in those walls. For the last year at Oak Bay, she’s talked to the kids about building those stories.

“We still honour the old, tradition is a big part of Oak Bay, but this is a chance for kids to build some memories.”

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