As 2022 draws to a close, we’re looking back at the top 10 Burnaby news stories of the year.
Today, we look back on our coverage of former British prime minister Liz Truss’ Burnaby connection and her recollection of early school days.
In September 2021, Truss, the U.K.’s former secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, was appointed prime minister, replacing outgoing PM Boris Johnson.
While her prime minister stint was cut short, Truss would go down in history for a number of reasons, including her status as the shortest-serving U.K. prime minister, and her having been the last official appointed by the late Queen Elizabeth, who died two days later.
During her short-lived role as PM, a Burnaby school that she attended for a year was thrust into the media spotlight. Before she entered the world of politics, Truss was just another kid, attending school, laying out her path to success.
In 1987-88, Truss attended Parkcrest Elementary School in Burnaby, where she spent a year as a Grade 7 student while her father was working at Simon Fraser University as a visiting associate professor of mathematics.
The experience was highlighted by a class photo on Instagram that Truss had posted, accompanied by the caption, “I spent a year in Canada that changed my outlook on life.”
When she was appointed prime minister, her classmates and teachers remembered the 12-year-old Truss in their class — many didn’t remember her as Liz Truss; her classmate Brenda Montagano remembered her as “Elizabeth,” the new girl with the English accent. Montagano now teaches at Parkcrest.
The former Prime Minister became a real-life hero in Montagano’s classes as Truss was already worked into Montagano’s goal-setting activity for her new intermediate class to kick off the new school year in September.
September starts with goals and dreams and heroes and qualities of people you admire, Montagano said. So Truss fit perfectly into the role.