Don Kissinger, VHS 1959, Returns to Teach and Volunteer
Don is a Director on the Alumni Association board and chairs the Scholarship & Bursaries Committee. He is passionate about supporting current students, and keen to keep growing the number and scope of ways to make that happen.
After graduating from Vic High, Don got a Bachelor of Science in Math and Physics. His first teaching job at Royal Oak Middle School was under a special Letter of Permission, but he eventually completed his Teaching Certificate and spent his entire working career as a teacher. Sooke, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, the Northwest Territories, Qualicum Beach, and eventually Victoria and Vic High, were all home to his teaching skills.
“I came back to Vic High in the 1990s,” says Don, “when Keith McCallion hired me.” [Keith was Vic High principal at the time and is an active supporter of the Vic High Alumni.] “I retired in 2003,” he continues, “but I continued as a substitute teacher right up until the Covid pandemic. I really enjoyed it, specially staying connected to the students.”
Don’s volunteer work with the Alumni began when he, a lifelong musician, offered to assemble an orchestra for an upcoming Alumni event. He took over as chair of the Scholarship & Bursaries Committee a few years later.
Don is an accomplished violin and viola player, and that was evident during his school days at Vic High. He was concertmaster of the Greater Victoria Schools Orchestra which practised weekly at Vic High under the direction of Dorothy Evans. In fact, he was considered such a hotshot (“a lazy one,” says Don), that in Grade 11 and 12 he played in the Victoria Symphony.
He has led the board of Island String Players society for the last 20 years while playing in its Victoria Chamber Orchestra and organizing and playing in its summer group Raven Baroque. Other musical high points were playing in the National Youth Orchestra and being a member of the pit orchestra for musicals at Brentwood College for 20 years. He still manages to get members of the Greater Victoria Schools Orchestra together for some special alumni events.
Thanks, Don. Vic High students and the Alumni Association are grateful for your passion and your support, although we’re not sure how you fit in all that you do! For more info www.victoriachamberorchestra.org www.ravenbaroque.org