Eleanor Phillips encompasses all the characteristics that make for a perfect Seniors Champion recipient.
The 90-year-old has the drive and enthusiasm that make her the envy of people half her age.
Eleanor first came to the Comox Valley very early on in her teaching career.
“I’m from Vancouver originally. I taught for four years in Alert Bay, and two years in Campbell River, before coming to the Valley,” she said.
She has been retired from teaching for 25 years, but continues to instruct and interact with students on a regular basis.
Eleanor is well-known in the Comox Valley as a speech arts instructor, having left her mark on hundreds of residents in or community, be they budding thespians, or immigrants working to master the English language.
She has been a speech coach for many of the local theatre production associations, including Rainbow Youth Theatre and the Comox Valley Youth Music Centre.
Her reason for continuing to teach is simple: “I love it. I love working with the children, and it keeps me going. It gives me something to get up for, in the morning.”
Although her instruction is limited to speech arts these days, she said she was also a phys ed instructor, “back in the day. I worked with the gym clubs.”
Eleanor said watching the children develop is what makes her speech arts instruction worthwhile.
“That’s it, that’s all. Just seeing their growth and their ability to communicate. It’s so satisfying.”
Eleanor said she is no longer active with the theatre groups per se – “I don’t drive anymore, but I was active with the groups until I gave up my driving licence” – but she still teaches on a one-on-one basis, in her home.
And she still gets out to see the local theatre productions.
“Of course. I love the theatre. It’s been my pleasure to work with some really great people. All of the Rainbow Youth plays, and working with (local director) Lori Mazey – she’s just amazing.”
Eleanor still lives at home, and has seven children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.