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From the Attic: Peace and Happiness from my Grade 1 Teacher

Dear Margaret: Encouragement from my Grade 1 Teacher
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Peace and Happiness
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My grade 1 teacher, Mrs. Peggy Juchli, wrote this message at the end of the 1973 school year.   I have a memory of Mrs. Juchli encouraging me to make art, but reading her words, when I found this journal in the attic a few weeks ago, was a revelation.   Mrs. Juchli introduced me to the Group of Seven, and taught me how to observe the brushstrokes, and all the magic that artists can create with paint.

Everyday we would write in our journals, in Edmonton Public Shools Practice Books.  My first grade entries begin with crayon drawings and then I began to add words, and Mrs. Juchli would leave comments and answer my questions.  My love of drawing continued into grade 2 and 3, because all my entries had illustrations.   When in later grades I didn’t have a journal anymore, art was redefined by teachers who wanted me to trace things, and I was not good at tracing.  By Grade 7, when art class was an option, it never occurred to me that I could choose to take it.  I believed I wasn’t good at art.

But I still loved art.  I took the bus to the Edmonton Art Gallery in 1982 to see an exhibit of Sybil Andrews‘ Linocuts.  I was 15, and mesmerized by the prints, by yet another way to observe the world.  I am grateful that I had Mrs. Juchli’s exhortation to love art, and enjoy it as I did then.  It was over 30 years before I searched for an art medium that I could practice, and with it has come peace and happiness.  Thank you Mrs. Juchli.

Who would you like to thank for encouragement?


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  1. staci says:

    My second grade math teacher Mr. Bevens…he taught me how to think outside the box… and reassemble a carburetor. He left when I was in 3rd grade, but continued writing me letters with fun math problems for years. I think of him often and wish I could find him.

  2. Amy Ryan Faga says:

    Margaret, your first grade teacher saw into your soul, as only an extraordinary teacher can do. This note brought tears of happiness to my “retired elementary teacher” eyes. SO glad that Peggy Juchli encouraged you, as I am sure that you encouraged her! Your artwork is absolutely beautiful in it’s design and execution; I am so enjoying the little blue frame I bought at the Farmer’s Market! Hugs!

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