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Hero in Education- Doug Primrose: Teacher fosters a school community through sports and leadership

Yale Secondary School educator is athletic director, president of rugby and leadership associations
Doug Primrose is dedicated to empowering students, shaping them into capable young adults (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Doug Primrose has a lot of athletic trophies to show for his 17 years at Yale Secondary School, but he realizes physical accolades are nothing compared to the impact sports and leadership has on students’ personal lives.

“It’s more about watching the kids develop from a younger age until they graduate and how far they come in their sport,” Primrose said. “There is a real sense of belonging and being positive role models in the school, and that’s even better than winning any championships.”

Primrose experienced a sense of belonging to the school first-hand when he was on the rugby team at Yale, graduating in 1988. He got into coaching shortly after and also obtained his teaching degree. He even had the opportunity to work alongside his former coach and mentor, Ron Sweeney.

Sweeney left an impact on Primrose when he was a student, and Primrose has now left a mark on the students of today.

As the athletic director, Primrose ensures that Yale has successful athletic programs. The sports at Yale have helped kids with their self-esteem and sense of belonging, and it allows them to be part of a team environment. This combines into a strong school culture and sense of identity.

“Under his guidance, our student-athletes have thrived,” Yale principal Rob Sloboda said.

“They find opportunities beyond academics to showcase their talents and learn essential life skills through sportsmanship, teamwork and perseverance.”

Primrose is established in sports in Abbotsford and the Fraser Valley beyond Yale. He is the president of the Fraser Valley Rugby Association, an executive for the Abbotsford Rugby Club, sits on the board for the Abbotsford Hall of Fame and is the senior boys’ rugby coordinator for the Fraser Valley.

When Primrose is not balancing his many roles, he teaches Grade 12 law and leadership classes. The students in his leadership classes learn skills that extend beyond the classroom, and they apply them to both the school and the community.

On Feb. 23, the leadership students hosted their annual Live to Give event. Primrose guided the students through putting together theme rooms, promoting the event and running it successfully. His senior students decided they wanted to donate the $15,000 raised to BC Children’s Hospital.

Although experiences such as this would not be possible without Primrose, he also credits the community and his fellow colleagues.

“We have always had good support from our administration with events over the years,” Primrose said.

“To run these big events you can’t do it unless the staff is willing to volunteer their time and stay here until 1 a.m. in the morning, and luckily we have staff that does that.”

He is also the president of the BC Student Leadership Association, further showing his commitment.

Primrose is deeply enriched in the success of Yale students both academically and athletically, and his presence at leadership events, as well as almost every sports game, is a testament to his genuine interest.

“It is time-consuming; there are a lot of evenings where I am here at the school. It becomes a way of life and it’s just something you enjoy,” Primrose said. “To me, after 26 years it is still a great job and I still love it.”

READ MORE: Heroes in Education 2024

About the Author: Ryleigh Mulvihill

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