The Canadian flag flew at half mast outside Virden Collegiate Institute and at the Fort La Bosse division office on Nov. 13, marking the memorial service for teacher Daniel Brick, held in the school gym Tuesday afternoon. Collegiate staff, students and parents had an opportunity to bring formal closure to the abrupt loss of a colleague, teacher and mentor.
The young teacher died suddenly at his home on Oct. 29.
Brick was a Winnipeg graduate. He had travelled to Egypt and taught in Asia before returning to Canada and starting his career here.
He taught Gr. 9 mathematics and Gr. 11 and 12 physics. Some students spent three years in Brick’s classes.
A number of VCI grads returned Tuesday to pay their respects. “It was beautiful to see,” noted VCI Principal Mark Keown, who conducted the service.
A funeral service had been held in Winnipeg on Nov. 7, but Brick’s parents, his sister and several extended family members also attended the VCI service.
Principal Keown went on to explain that Brick connected with kids beyond his classroom.
Kids connected with him at noon hour, playing video games. Keown explained, “They’d be in their own quiet, personal space. Mr. Brick would be right in the centre of that.
“He was a guy that liked to have fun.”
Brick was involved in a couple of the musicals that the collegiate put on, and he was a basketball and soccer coach as well.
“He’d be the first to tell you that maybe he wasn’t the greatest basketball player or even the greatest basketball coach. But he was competitive. Like he did with everything, he put his all into it,” said Keown.
Superintendent Barry Pitz spoke at the memorial; a number of others shared their thoughts at the service. Student Council President Branden Martens, fellow science teacher Julie Mathieson, Dylan Gompf from the basketball team and parent Kathy Coulter spoke.
VCI School Band played Matters of Kindness and the VCI Choir sang, Sing You Home.
Students closed out the day with activities that reminded them of Mr. Brick.
On a cement brick wall beside his classroom VCI is building their own “Brick” wall. “People can leave thoughts in memory of Mr. Brick.”
It has been a tough few weeks for the school. “We had our trauma response team in, they were very crucial in the first two or three days,” says Keown. “We have regular councillors in our building and they’ve been very helpful.”