After 26 years at the Medicine Hat Christian School, principal Shade Holmes is moving into a new role, but will remain within the city’s public school division.
Holmes has been the school’s principal for the past 13 years, having filled the roles of teacher and vice principal beforehand.
“I started when I was a Grade 7, 8 and 9 teacher,” Holmes told the News. “(After) I moved to Grades 4, 5 and 6 … Then I was a vice principal … and then, for the last 13 years, a principal.”
Holmes admits it’s unusual for educators to remain in one school for the duration of their career, however he feels his time at the Christian School is defined by change due to the number of times he transitioned from one role to the next.
While Holmes has enjoyed his time at the school, he has been considering yet another change for a while.
“After the 13 years as principle, there wasn’t as much change (in my life),” Holmes said. “So, I’ve been contemplating something different and I was wondering about high school because this is a kindergarten to Grade 9 school.”
Holmes was in the midst of making a decision when he was involved in a life-threatening car accident, which took place November of 2021. He spent much of the next few months in recovery.
“I think maybe people thought, ‘Oh, he’s changing or he’s not coming back as principal because of the accident,’ (but) I was thinking of it before then,” Holmes said. “The accident gave me a chance to reflect … If I’m going to make a change – you know, I still have 10 years that I’d still like to be active and working – so I should probably make it now.”
Shortly after announcing his resignation from the Christian School, Holmes shared the news.
“There was an opportunity at Medicine Hat High School,” said Holmes. “There’s a position in the guidance department, so I would be school counsellor.”
Holmes, who graduated from MHHS, is excited to be returning and looks forward to supporting students at the school.
“For me to go over to Medicine Hat High School and meet the students, get to know them, help them with their courses and help them with what’s going on in their lives (or what they) are planning for college or university or work, is just an amazing opportunity,” Holmes said. “I feel like (students) just need someone to listen to them, hear what they’re going through and what they’re feeling.”
Holmes will begin his transition in May, during which Alice Hardowa, the current vice principal of Medicine Hat Christian School, will take over as principal.
Hardowa, who has been with the Christian School since 2018, in the position of vice principal since 2020, is also looking forward to a change in roles.
“My hope would be to continue on the tradition and excellence which comes from our school,” Hardowa told the News. “I’m excited to fill in for Shade and continue his vision (while also) changing it up a little bit with my own vision. I’m excited to see where the school will go.”
While Holmes is excited for a new change and challenge, he says he will never forget the lessons he learned while at Medicine Hat Christian School.
For students, he encourages them to “dream big.”
For staff, he says, “Put yourself in this in the student’s shoes, because we think we know what it’s like to be a student … but we actually don’t know. We forget what it’s like … so be able to just relate to where they’re at.”
KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News