I first met Byron Kemp, in the early 1980’s, when I was coaching soccer at Nesika Elementary School. He was coaching the other team and was very positive with his kids. Over the years, we coached against each other in floor hockey, volleyball, basketball, track & field and cross-country running. Always, he remained a man of dignity and treated his kids very well.
In 1993, when Mr. Kemp decided to retire, I took over as Principal of Glendale Year Round School (the first Year Round School in Canada). Byron had introduced Year Round Education to Canada in 1991 (we later called it Balanced Calendar). It proved to be one of the very best things for kids, parents and staff. During the Year Round years (1991-2012), Glendale boasted the best attendance record in the District for both children and staff most years.
During the 14 years I was fortunate enough to work at Glendale, Byron and I crossed paths many times. He unselfishly helped me run the School District Elementary Wrestling Program for the first several years. Byron had instituted Olympic Wrestling in the elementary inter-school sports program (it turned out to be one of the best anti-bullying programs I have ever been involved with)! I was fortunate to run that program until I retired.
Byron and his wife, Diane, also taught dancing in the community during the 1990’s. My wife and I took those classes and I ‘paid it forward’; as I introduced many of the techniques to Glendale children. Because of the dance classes taught (by the retired Byron Kemp) to the man who replaced him, no child ‘graduated’ Glendale Elementary without significant ‘jive dance’ skills. Byron and Diane left me with a fantastic way to empower children through dance. I have since taught most of my enhanced jive dance techniques to Steve Dickens at Cataline Elementary and his kids are benefiting from Mr. Dickens’ tutelage. The Kemp legacy continues!
Byron Kemp was a very hard working unselfish man. I know that I will miss him!
Glendale Balanced Calendar School