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HERO IN EDUCATION: Abbotsford’s Raymond Chan much more than just a teacher

Beloved Dasmesh Punjabi School educator wears many hats
Dasmesh Punjabi School’s Raymond Chan is a 2022 Heroes in Education recipient. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

The Abbotsford News is honoured to profile 2022 “Heroes in Education” from a long and amazing list of nominees sent to us by our readers. “Heroes in Education” is graciously sponsored by Sevenoaks Shopping Centre, University of the Fraser Valley, BE Power Equipment, Valley Laser Eye Centre and the City of Abbotsford.

Raymond Chan wears too many hats to simply be labelled just a teacher.

As a Heroes in Education honouree, Chan has become an indispensable part of life at Dasmesh Punjabi School.

Chan’s nominator, Balreet Mandair, calls him a dynamo who plays a role in almost all facets of the school.

“He is such a valuable member of our school and community,” she said. “He wears so many hats and the kids just love him.”

Originally from Hong Kong, Chan moved to Canada in 1997 and within a year’s time found himself teaching at Dasmesh Punjabi School. It’s been the only place of employment he’s known since arriving on our shores.

“I was a school counsellor back in Hong Kong,” he said. “I was lucky enough to get into the profession that I love.”

What sets Chan apart from many other educators is his endless energy and enthusiasm. While his main role is as a PE teacher, Chan is also a coach of many of the school’s sports teams, is the school’s safety officer and first aid attendant.

Chan is also responsible for starting the annual ski and snowboarding trip, as well as leading the initiative for the school’s environmental team.

“He attends whatever he can,” Balreet said. “He really does it all.”

Dasmesh Punjabi School doesn’t have an athletic director, but that hasn’t stopped Chan from unofficially filling the position.

“He doesn’t have the title, but he does it all anyways,” Balreet said. “His interactions with other schools has always been positive.”


The heavy workload is just fine with Chan.

“All my administrators here at the school have been good to me and allow me to do many of the things I do,” Chan said. “Not a lot of others schools allow you to have that freedom.”

That freedom also comes with many rewards.

“I’m just trying to make kids successful,” he said. “A lot of our coaches are ex-students. We always invite them back to coach our students.”

A smaller school, working at Dasmesh Punjabi is akin to working with family, Balreet said.

“It is like a family here,” she said. “He (Chan) is an integral part our family unit.”

Balreet calls Chan “a very progressive thinker” and someone who “brought their values here” from Hong Kong.

“If you asked any of the students about Mr. Chan, they would say nothing but good things about him,” she said. “He goes above and beyond for the students, staff and the community. He is a true hero.”

Ken Goudswaard

About the Author: Ken Goudswaard

I have been a reporter, editor, publisher and newspaper owner during my 30 years in this industry.
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