Duncan Christian School receiving donations of masks from Chinese families

International students’ parents shipping package after package

Duncan Christian School principal Jeremy Tinsley displays some of the masks his school has received from families of international students in China. (Submitted)

Duncan Christian School principal Jeremy Tinsley displays some of the masks his school has received from families of international students in China. (Submitted)

Families of international students at Duncan Christian School have been generously shipping box after box of surgical masks to the school, which DCS has been handing over to healthcare workers on the frontlines.

The families from China have sent the masks by the hundreds, including about 300 from just one family.

“It’s unbelievable,” DCS principal Jeremy Tinsley said. “Almost every day we are receiving packages of surgical masks. It’s been crazy, there’s a different package at the door, day after day.”

It’s not just current students, either, as families of recent DCS graduates have also been sending packages.

“It’s an unexpected blessing,” Tinsley said.

The school has been able to donate about 1,000 masks to local physicians and another 1,000 to Island Health. They have also provided masks to nurses who provide in-home care.

Almost all of Duncan Christian’s international students are riding out the pandemic here, staying with host families or, in one case, other relatives in B.C. Only one international student has gone home.

The families in China say they can “see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Tinsley reported.

“Their advice is to stay the course, it will get better, hang in there,” he said. “It provides a lot of hope, how people have stepped up to get through this challenging and unique time.”

DCS attracts international students, Tinsley explained, because it is a small school, offers a great environment for kids, and because the teachers and staff know the students well. It provides an opportunity to build close relationships and is a safe place.

“We don’t have a huge program; we’ve got about 13 or 14 — a fraction of what other schools have,” Tinsley said. “That’s kind of where we’d like to be. It adds a lot of flavour to our school, and cultural diversity.”

The international students and their generous families are not the school’s only connection to China and the COVID-19 outbreak. DCS teachers Tom and Sandy Veenstra lived in Wuhan, where the virus was first detected, and taught at Maple Leaf International School for two years between 2008 and 2010. Their oldest son, Boaz, graduated there, and their youngest son, Reuben, later went back to China to continue his education. The Veenstras were shocked to see images of the city after it was locked down.

“It’s very, very busy all of the time,” Tom said. “There’s lots of people around all of the time.”

Another staff member, IT teacher Yi Zeng, is a Canadian citizen who moved to Duncan from Ottawa last year, but he is originally from Wuhan and still has family there.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health is expected to begin public consultations soon on its controversial plans to open a new wellness and recovery centre at 5878 York Road. (File photo)
Public consultations on Duncan wellness and recovery centre coming in February

Controversial facility on York Road scheduled to open in June

Jerry Dyck plans to purchase a new RV to drive across Canada in, once it’s safe to travel again. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria man plans post-pandemic cross-Canada RV trip after $2M lottery win

Retired electrician bought the winning ticket in Duncan

Providence Health Care has teamed up with partners, including Island Health, to launch the first remote cochlear implant (CI) mapping program for adults in British Columbia. Duncan’s Alan Holt was one of the first to test it out. (Submitted)
Remote cochlear clinic offers shorter commute for patients like Duncan’s Alan Holt

Duncan man one of the first to test virtual mapping program

Larry Fiege, right, from Fiege’s Farm shows a rapt audience the old-fashioned way to tap a Bigleaf Maple during the Maple Syrup Festival at the BC Forest Discovery Centre Feb. 1 and 2, 2020. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)
Maple Syrup Festival in Duncan cancelled

The annual syrup festival is a popular event at the BC Forest Discovery Centre

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

Most Read