A star has been designated in memory of Bashaw School librarian and long-time staff member Marjorie (Marj) Boden. The certificate and her photo will now be hung in the school’s memorial hall, dedicated to others the school lost too soon.
Boden, who lived in Ferintosh, passed away suddenly on Jan. 16, 2021.
She served at the school in various roles for 25 years, but students probably knew her best as the librarian, a position she’d held for over 15 years.
Through the years, Boden served as an education assistant, then transitioned into a shared role as librarian and office administrative assistant.
“Mrs. Marj Boden was a key person in this school for many years,” states a write up in the school newsletter.
“She was more than a librarian, she was a mother, an auntie, a helper, a mentor, an organizer, a creator, a guide, a touchstone, but most of all she was a friend. You will remember her best for whichever role she filled for you in your life.
“Mrs. Boden was an empathetic soul who would always make time to visit and chat with all of us: Kinders to Grade 12s, old hats and new recruits. She could and would talk about harvest to some, hunting coyotes with others, watching her boys play hockey, volleyball, and baseball with many more than just these topics.
“She connected with others around 4H, camping, quadding and horseback riding in the west country. The simple act of stopping, being in the moment and listening to you allowed her to build ties with so many of you over so many years; and for some of you it was that small act of kindness that made your day … just better.”
Purchasing a star in memoriam and designating it after a student that was lost was something the school started years ago, and after the loss of Boden, the school felt it was only natural to include her as well.
“I feel it’s a way of honouring her memory,” said assistant principal Candace Hodder.
“She was very impactful in our building and it’s a way of keeping her with us.”
The star known as ‘Sheliak’ in the constellation of Lyra (The Lyre/Harp) has now been designated to Boden through the Edmonton Space and Science Foundation.
A star can be designated through varying levels of donations. With a larger donation, the constellation where the star is located can also be chosen.
According to administrative assistant Jane Schierman, the tradition started close to 20 years ago.
The principal at the time started it as a way to honour a student that passed, and it continued. Schierman is the staff member who has arranged for the stars over the years.
The memorial wall in the school where the stars are displayed will now has four stars, three for students, and one for Boden.
“It’s a good way to remember those kids, and staff now as well, that have left us way too early,” said Schierman.
Schierman also noted stars have been named for students who were currently attending at the time of their passing, and doesn’t include those who had been lost after their graduation.
The school will be installing the framed certificate as well as a photo of Boden on the wall.
Boden was the first active staff member to be lost within the school community since the designation of stars began.
The grad class, student council and other community members are currently looking at some other possible options for paying tribute to Boden, “to go that extra step that will forever remember her in our building,” said Hodder.
According to her obituary on the Burgar Funeral Home’s website, Boden was known for her commitment to her family, working on the family farm and the family’s grain bin business as well as to the students of Bashaw School and the library.