It took a while for the name Liz Truss to ring the bell for Brenda Montagano.
Montagano and Truss knew each other for just a year while in the same 7th grade at Parkcrest Elementary School in Burnaby, BC, in the late 1980s.
Montagano grew up to be a teacher at the same school, while Truss grew up to be the British prime minister.
“It’s pretty bizarre,” said Montagano. “I didn’t know what she was up to until last week.”
Queen Elizabeth appointed Liz Truss as the UK’s new political leader on Tuesday, succeeding Boris Johnson’s office representing the UK Conservative Party.
When Truss was 12 years old, her father, mathematician John Truss, took her to BC for a year while he worked at Simon Fraser University.
Liz Truss writes on a Instagram post about Canada Day 2018.
She shared a yearbook photo from 7th grade ’87 -’88 of Parkcrest Elementary. She is pictured in a pink sweater, second from the left in the middle row.
Montagano was at Disneyland when a colleague texted her a photo of her class. When Truss’s name was pressed for her, the first memory that came to mind was Truss’ British accent. She then began to recall interactions with Truss in the hallways of Parkcrest Elementary.
“She got this sense of humor and that sly half-smile after she told a pun or some sarcastic joke that we all laughed at,” said Montagano, who Remember Truss is a “hardworking” and “smart” person.
Montagano says that Truss’ life path has created a wonderful teaching opportunity for her students.
“I taught a lesson today using that class photo and the fact that this is what she’s doing. Dream big because you never know what story your life will take,” Montagano said. where are you going,” Montagano said.
‘You never know where kids are going’
Truss’ former teacher at Parkcrest, Bill Chambers, is now retired. He has spent decades teaching and says he does not recall what the prime minister would be like at the time.
“Seeing [at the photo]”I couldn’t pick her until I was told where she was in the photo and it started coming back,” Chambers said. “We might remember this British accent in class, but other than that, I have no recollection.”
Chambers learned of Truss’ political career after he was asked to interview him.
“I did a Google search for her and the first article I saw was that Liz Truss was going to be Britain’s next Prime Minister, and I was literally about to drop my phone,” Chambers said.
Chambers said that although he doesn’t remember Truss personally, he still remembers the class in the photo. He remained in contact with a number of students, including Montagano.
“Bill had a huge influence on how I became a teacher and I’m curious if he played a role in that. [for Truss]”Montagano said.
Chambers says seeing what his students achieve is part of what makes his career so worthwhile.
“As a teacher, you never really know what your impact will be on children and where they will go,” says Chambers.
When it comes to Truss’ political leanings, Chambers says he doubts he has any influence.
“I avoid politics,” Chambers said. “I’ve had a few friends ask if I agree with [Truss’s] politics but you know what? I won’t even comment on it since I don’t follow it much. “
However, Chambers said his partnership with Truss would make for a good party story.
“Maybe I’ll be introduced as someone who knows the British prime minister. Well, I knew her when she was 12, something like that.”
When it comes to teacher wisdom for Truss in her new role, Chambers says he’d give her the same advice as when she was 12: “Use your skills, use your skills, Use your intelligence, figure out what you need to do and just work hard and do it.”
Montagano also wishes Truss the best and looks forward to reconnecting.
“I wondered if I could use that class photo to go out for tea or something with her if I ended up in the UK,” she said.