“A group of us sat down and we counted over 50 teachers, teaching right now in BC, who were taught by him between 2000 and 2012…that number is remarkable,” – Kevin Tao
Monsieur Larrivée’s impact can still be felt around the province today. He inspired hundreds, if not thousands of students, dozens of whom became teachers themselves. Here’s what six current teachers had to say about his impact on them.
“He legitimately cared about where we went after high school, he wasn’t done with us. We never got the impression that it ended there. He wanted to follow us as much as we wanted to maintain a relationship with him. He was prepared to maintain that relationship with us – I think that that’s the difference between most teachers and not in a bad way. Our job as teacher is kind of to see them through and that’s it. He 100% wanted to help us on our path, and we felt like it was okay to come back. He was there when we needed him.”
Kelli Langford French Immersion Teacher at Riverside Secondary in Port Coquitlam
“Part of the motivating factor of me becoming a teacher was wanting to be a Monsieur Larrivee, we called him Monsieur, I wanted to be a Monsieur to someone else. So much of my life and where I am is owed to him and what he taught me. Being as happy as I am with my job and my girlfriend, who is a French immersion teacher and that’s how we met, I think a lot of it is thanks to him. There’s moment where I just wish he knew. There’s moment where it’s like “look at us now, look what we’ve done.”
Kevin TaoFrench Immersion Teacher at Riverside Secondary in Port Coquitlam
I can easily say, without question, that monsieur was one of the biggest influences on my decision to become a teacher. When high school hit, I started to struggle a lot with my grades. His classes were no exception. I was worried that I wasn’t smart enough to become a teacher – my dream since kindergarten. He explained to me that the true essence of being a teacher does not come from your academic skill set, rather it’s something intangible. Something that he said I already had – a love for children. His words have stuck with me ever since. I keep a little “grenouille” on my desk from his collection because it reminds me of him and why I became a teacher.
Kristie AtkinsFrench Teacher at Mary Hill Elementary
André Larrivée was my teacher, my mentor, and my friend. He taught me that « ce qui mérite d’être fait, mérite d’être bien fait », words that have guided my every step into a career in education. Every day I seek to create a sense of community where my students are challenged, yet feel safe and supported. I strive for excellence, not only of myself, but of my kids. I hope to open their eyes and inspire them to find out who they are, but maybe more importantly, who they want to be. Monsieur did this for us so generously and enthusiastically. I work to make him proud and always consider what he would think. I am proud to be one member of the Jacques André teaching legacy, but still feel that one of the hardest parts of being in this profession, is not having him guiding us today.
Maddy CrawshawTeacher at Kwantlen Park Secondary
I think what made him so special was the relationships he had with his students. And it was a relationship where he really encouraged us to the the best that we possibly could be. He was also really hard on us, he didn’t hesitate to call us out on our faults or things that we can work on. He put a lot of dedication and effort and love into his work as a teacher and he inspires me to do that same. That relationship isn’t something that most people get to experience in their lifetimes.
Kate Ronald Teacher at Moscrop Secondary in Burnaby
“He was eccentric, passionate and principled. I wouldn’t be a French immersion teacher right now if it weren’t for him. He was that person that pushed you, saw the potential in all of us and kicked our butts to get towards it and we had fun doing it. He was that teacher that believed in you and got you to go where you needed to go.”
Loren AndresTeacher at Belmont Elementary
Frogs would have been the first thing you noticed in Monsieur’s old classroom. There hundreds if not thousands of them. Now, only a few remain, but memories, and a few pictures tell the story.
“It started because one day a student gave him a frog because the joke is ‘french frog’…He got one frog and then people just kept bringing him frogs. This room was filled with frogs. This whole space, everywhere, all over the walls, stuffed animals… everywhere.”
Kelli LangfordTeacher at Riverside Secondary
Jacques-André Larrivée was born in La Pocatière, Québec. He was the eighth of nine children. Despite being of modest height (5’7″) he excelled at hockey and baseball. He also had a passion for journalism, which led him to Université Laval, where he earned his degree.
After a relationship ended in heartbreak, Jacques-André relocated to Vancouver, and eventually settled in Coquitlam. Thanks to a need for French teachers in British Columbia, he decided to go back to University and earn his teaching degree.
For the next 35 years, he taught French in the Coquitlam School District (SD 43) and left an indelible mark on hundreds of students.
in 2012, Jacques-André Larrivée finally retired from teaching. He planned to do what he loved most: walk, spend time at his petite maison in the Gaspé Penninsula, drink good wine, and spend time with friends.
Jacques-André took a trip to Japan to complete thh Shikoku Pillgirmage, a mult-site pilgrimage with 88 temples along the way. About a quarter of the way through the trip, Jacques-André suddenly died of heart failure.
Despite the untimely death, he continues to inspire his ex-students, colleagues and friends every day. This webpage and documentary are dedicated to him.
“We do discussions about quotes and sayings, analyzing the sense of what they mean and how they apply to our lives.”
Kevin TaoFrench Immersion Teacher
On top of the regular French curriculum, replete with grammar and literature, Monsieur taught two elective courses that went far beyond conjugation tables.
Communication: A grade 10 course where students participated in improvisation games, discussed the thought of the day, and wrote and performed a vignette style play – all in French. Monsieur always said that if you can sing and dance in front of people in your second language, nothing is scary. The play was performed as part of tour of either France or Quebec, in which students performed the play at schools, in tiny villages, and community centres around French Speaking milieu.
Conversation: A grade 12 course that featured the writing and creation of a 30 minute “mini-opéra”. Unlike the Communication trip, this trip took place in Quebec only. The group spent time volunteering at homeless shelters and at a school for special needs children.
These trips left a huge mark on those who participated, and part of the deal was the compilation of a yearbook or “album de souvenirs” (memory album) by the end of the year. These yearbooks, at least those who got their hands on one live in infamy.
“It’s a class that he developed, so were able to use the curriculum in a way that more unique. In a sense I would describe it as an intro to Philosophy.”
Monsieur Larrivée was a walker. He walked to and from school everyday of his 35 year career. For his 14 years at Riverside Secondary, his pedestrian commute took him from his apartment in Coquitlam to Port Coquitlam — a journey that takes about 45 minutes each way.
After his unexpected death, a memorial was held at the school. Over 200 people attended, packing the gymnasium. Prior to the celebration, attendees re-created his walk alongside the Coquitlam River to walk one last time in his footsteps.
His presence is still so strongly felt by his ex-students, colleagues and friends, that five years after his death, over 50 people gathered to do the same walk.
MERCI MONSIEUR, DU PLUS PROFONDÉMENT DE NOS COEURS.
Producer & Narrator
Ben grew up in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. He graduated the French Immersion program at Riverside Secondary and pursued higher education in French, studying Public Administration (Administration Publique) at SFU in Burnaby. After a 5 year career in private industry, Ben decided to follow his passion for communications, current affairs, and radio by enrolling in the Broadcast Journalism Program at BCIT. He currently resides in the South Granville Neighborhood of Vancouver.
Graham Cox grew up in North Delta, British Columbia. After graduating from high school, he completed a bachelors degree in entrepreneurship from the University of Victoria. After spending two years working in media communications, he followed his passion for film making and sports and enrolled in the Broadcast Journalism program at BCIT.
Director of Photography
Michael grew up in Richmond, British Columbia. After finishing high school at Vancouver College he followed his passion for storytelling and videography, and enrolled in the journalism program at Kwantlen Polytechnic. After two years of that, he shifted to the Broadcast & Online Journalism Program at BCIT. He currently resides in Steveston.
Digital Producer & Camera Operator
Sierra grew up in Sidney, British Columbia. After finishing high school she set out to explore parts of South America. After general studies and working in Victoria, BC Sierra moved to Vancouver to attend BCIT to pursue her creative aspiration in Broadcast Journalism. Sierra now lives in Steveston and plans to work and dabble in some traveling after graduation.