Nanaimo school’s kitchen named after popular teacher

NANAIMO – John Barsby Community School committee successfully cooked up a scheme to re-name the school's multipurpose room.

A John Barsby Community School committee has successfully cooked up a scheme to re-name the school’s multipurpose room.

The committee submitted a proposal to the Nanaimo school district board to name the room after the late Bruce (Chef) Chandler, a man crucial to John Barsby’s culinary program. The board approved the move at its meeting last week. The room will be known as Chandler Hall.

Chandler, who died unexpectedly this year, was a cooking instructor at John Barsby, which catered a number of school functions from the multipurpose room.

Deb Marshall, principal at John Barsby, said it is a phenomenal dedication not only to the school, but the community because of Chandler’s work. He lit up a room, she said.

“The energy and the passion he had for the students and for the school was just something you’ll never be able to replicate,” Marshall said.

She said Chandler built the culinary program from the ground up. A testament to the admiration for him occurred in September when a number of his former students returned to help out, as they knew it would be a challenge to start the program up again.

“They came back even though they’re not even with the school anymore. They graduated [and] they came back to help out – that’s for the love,” said Marshall.

Donna Allen, school district trustee representing John Barsby, said Chandler was an outstanding member of School District 68 and her grandson, currently a Grade 12 student at Barsby, was nothing but complimentary about the cooking instructor.

“He and his mother have only raved about all the extras that Bruce would do for the school, providing extra opportunities for socials and food preparation for get-togethers and for the football team and for the school and for the district – when we would need to have a caterer, Bruce was always there,” Allen said.

Besides catering and teaching, Chandler was also a football referee.