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Katharine Borgen

Messages of Remembrance

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A memory of our beloved teacher. The picture was taken at her house on Saturday evening (December 10th 2011)

Hung Dang Le, Former student - Education Program 2011
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I was taught to live life without regret. Dr. Borgen, as I've always known her, would hate to see me fret over the fact that I never had the chance to say thank you - thus making me a failed student of that mantra. Some feared her. Some loved her class *because* of her - despite mediocre grades. I was of the latter company. Some stories: [x] She shared about how she would make a photocopy of the document she was about to fax... for fear of losing the original copy when it went into the machine and subsequently dissolved - only to re-materialize "Star Trek"-style on the other side. She quickly learned that this was not the case. [x] She shared about driving prairie roads and how one could fall asleep and resume driving with no change in scenery whatsoever. Or, spotting a car rounding the bend on a distant hill and thinking they would pass by going in the opposite direction - albeit an hour later. [x] She told my girlfriend at the time that if she ever hurt me, she would be in *so* much trouble. I never did become well-versed in mathematics - in fact, I would go on to achieve the same mediocre scores at UBC in a required calculus course I absolutely dreaded. However, learning "or" loving maths never seemed to be Dr. Borgen's goal. She seemed to be trying to teach us something else, entirely. I did, by chance, bump into Dr. Borgen once on campus at UBC as a student. With her trademark smile, hands on hips, neck craned slightly forward as if she were inspecting something of extreme interest, she lovingly exclaimed, "What are *you* doing here, young man?" I wish I could say I responded with words of equal humourous temperament, but I just muttered - an embarrassed teenager - that I was attending school and that I had no idea she taught at UBC. She continues to teach - giving "higher" education a brand new meaning as she smiles at us from above. Learning the news of her passing was an absolute shock; I recount hilarious antics under Dr. Borgen's care with my best friend to this day - few teachers have impacted us with the genuine care and grace she bestowed upon her students. She was tough, but fair. Now, I can almost picture her in the classroom saying, "I've just faxed myself onward. Here, Hansel - photocopy this lesson to everyone around you. The topic? Blessing others!" Because of her, I have begun to reach out to other teachers in my past that have left their fingerprints on my journey - in hopes that I will not have missed my opportunity. Thank you Dr. Borgen for teaching your students to live without regret and thank you for giving me this chance to properly thank you. Maybe I'm not a failed student after all! [*] Attached picture is taken from the Prince of Wales High School yearbook.

Hansel Yu, Lifelong student of Dr. Borgen's stories

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