The Graduate

In 1983 the emergent patch of what we now know as Tumbler Ridge had all elements developing. There were buildings going up, businesses being formed, necessary services being implemented. And among them was one young woman who was none too pleased, at the time, to be the first and only grade 12 student in Tumbler Ridge.

Meet Crosbie Bourdeaux (nee Hartford). She was indeed the first to graduate from the small and coming up high school, taught by her own mother, Janet Hartford. But just because your mom is a teacher and has few students, the hard work came from there and elsewhere as well. Bourdeaux had done extra programs in South Peace from September through December of 1982 and only had English and 2 electives to finish to graduate. She took Lifeskills 12 by correspondence and Career Prep at the Community Centre to learn about running a recreational facility, as well as assist putting on programs. She wrote her exams in South Peace.

Bourdeaux?s parents, George and Janet Hartford met in Dawson Creek while they were both teachers there. While life took them on varied paths, they ended up being the two teachers at the high school in Tumbler Ridge while their daughter attended. They taught all grades combine, 8-12. The Hartfords have four children, Nichola, Crosbie, Robert and Douglas.

In 1986 Bourdeaux started college in Dawson Creek, then onto the University of Victoria in 1989, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 2001. Some may misinterpret having your parents as teachers for the home schooling of today. In some ways, it seems similar, as she laughs about being instructed English 12 by her mom even while she was in the bath.

Where is our first graduate now? She resides in Dawson Creek with her husband Tony and 7-year old son John. She met Tony in Tumbler Ridge, so in many ways her coming to Tumbler Ridge, although not exciting to her at first, led to a great many milestones. But the move from a larger center to such a remote and lightly populated area must have been quite an adjustment for the young woman. She says, ?After the initial shock of moving to ?nowhere? and (teenage emotions) hating my parents for it, I have to say that it was amazing to watch a town literally grow up in front of you. There was nothing there and then there was a whole town. I made good friends because we were so small.

My most treasured memory I am still making, because I am constantly returning to Tumbler Ridge to visit my parents and watch as the town still changes in front of my eyes.?

When Crosbie Bourdeaux became the first and only graduate in 1983 she became a part of history. And so for graduation she had a T-shirt made proclaiming her achievement ? First Grad of Tumbler Ridge. And before that, because her family was here in the very beginning, that made them quite original. And so they also had a shirt that said: Tumbler O?RIDGE?NAL.