Lifelong learning—All in the family

Kristy and Daniel Kilpatrick. PHOTO: Crystal Bergeron

By Crystal Bergeron

When Vikes soccer all-star and honour roll recipient Daniel Kilpatrick walks across the stage at Fall Convocation to receive his BSc (kinesiology) degree from the Faculty of Education, he'll be missing one thing—having his mother cheering from the sidelines.

That's because mom Kristy, a seasoned teacher, wife and mother of two, will be on the same stage, at the same time, receiving her Bachelor of Education degree.

While UVic was on the radar as a top choice for Oak Bay graduate Dan, he initially accepted a full-ride sports scholarship to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. After suffering what could have been a career-ending injury, he came back to Victoria for reconstructive surgery. While recuperating, he decided that UVic was the place for him.

"Daniel had huge options, at both Canadian and American universities," his mother explains. "He realized rather than going away where he had no connections, it would be wonderful to stay in Victoria where he had grown up, gone to school and had so many supportive friends and family."

"I wanted to go to a great school with good academics that supported its athletes," says Dan. "Soccer is my sport so UVic was a natural choice. Also, my parents are both alumni and my sister is a creative writing student."

Kristy first began her studies at UVic as a part-time education student in 1977 qualifying for her teaching certificate in 1986, and she has been teaching in the Victoria school district ever since. "I'm a UVic alumna and love Victoria, so UVic was my first choice to obtain my BEd degree."

Both stellar students in their programs, Dan and Kristy have thoroughly enjoyed their time at UVic. "We were in different programs in the faculty," says Dan, "so I didn't see her much at all except to meet for coffee. The best thing about being at UVic together was the fact that I could finally ask her how school was going and if she had her assignments finished on time. The worst thing was that she would come right back at me with the same question!"

For Kristy, it was the interaction at home that was so special. "It was great to have Daniel around to encourage me, proof my essays and discuss education. Daniel is the scientist in the house and has had a huge influence on our health as a family. Study habits, nutrition, exercise—you name it—Dan encouraged it. He's been such a positive role model for us all," she proudly exclaims.

The feeling seems mutual for Dan. "My mom has always inspired and encouraged me to be the best that I can in school, sports and at home. If you have a chance to go to the next level in anything, do it," he says. "Don't turn around and look back, keep going and keep learning for life."

In addition to school and soccer, Dan paid his own way through school with scholarship funds and a part-time job in the McPherson Library as a student assistant librarian. He's also spent countless hours volunteering with CanAssist and coaching the "Just for Kicks" soccer team.

For this family the real celebration has already taken place. "When we finished our last course we went out for dinner and toasted each other, but we both have a sense that we're not really finished," says Kristy.

And they're not. Both are planning to return to UVic to complete master's degrees, Kristy in education and Dan in public health policy. Dan has a keen interest in medicine and changing the way our medical system works, while Kristy will continue to teach and explore her passion for literacy.

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