Leanne Bergey Topham
After graduating from CUC, I attended WWC and graduated from there with a music education degree. Then I taught in the SDA school system, mostly elementary school, usually with a band, as well as being the band director at Kingsway College for two years. After that, I ended up in Alabama for 5 years! While there, I trained with Dr. Frank Lang, the developer of the Potentials Learning System, a very successful one-on-one tutoring method for students with learning disabilities. I found this program (and being my own boss) very rewarding, very successful, and lots of fun. I have had my own business for the last 31 years now!
I am hoping to retire soon, but would love to find another SDA teacher to take over the business and help me expand it out to other areas of BC and Alberta. It is the best program I have seen.
My family: I married Marlin Topham (also attended WWC) in 1978. He passed away from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2001. We had adopted two children, so as to not pass on this horrible disease that we discovered, after marriage, ran in his family. Now most of them are gone. So I have a son Troy, who works as an auto mechanic in Spruce Grove, Alberta, and a daughter here in town, who lives with a caregiver (she came with unknown special needs from Romania).
God has given me many blessings, although some of them came in rather unique packages! He has helped me through some very tough times, and I love Him the more for that help. He is my Rock. Can’t wait for that special cloud to appear in the eastern sky. Let’s go home!
My work: As mentioned above, I have had my own specialized tutoring business for the last 31 years, almost all of that time in Vernon, BC. Along with Frank’s amazing reading program, I have developed a specialize math program as well that has been very successful, and am working on a spelling program as well. I am honoured to have helped so many students succeed and move on with their lives. I sometimes also get a brave adult to come, and they advance even faster than the children! I would teach another 30 years if I could…
Change I wish to see in the world: The change I wish will not happen until we all meet in heaven. I want a world with no pain, no sadness, no disease, or any other effect of what the devil started. I am tired of all that!
My life motto: Part of this great poem called “Do Something”: Are you awfully tired with play, little girl? Wearied, discouraged, and sick? I’ll tell you the loveliest trick in the world. Do something for somebody, quick!” By poet Teresa Piercey-Gates.
Where I turn for inspiration: The Bible (especially Psalms, Isaiah, and Jeremiah), other inspirational books.
Most interesting place I have traveled to since high school: Romania, in 1996, to pick up our little daughter, whom we named Janessa Joy. Romania looks a lot like the BC Okanagan, just greener — plus it has the amazing Carpathian mountains. We really enjoyed the trip, but I wouldn’t want to live there.
Trait I admire most in a person: Honesty, trustworthiness, a loving heart.
Favourite CUC memory: Band tours, for sure. Also serenades in the very early morning.
The books on my bedside table are: Newest one: God in Pain by David Asscherick. Amazing! Challenging! A deeper insight into a God who loves us so much, He was willing to suffer the worst kinds of pain to save us.
Song that most reminds me of our senior year: Is there one called “That was a long time ago?”
I can never have too many: Reasons to laugh… quiet times alone…. flowers in my yard… a visit with a friend.
Biggest surprise about life: The life I thought I would have didn’t happen the way I wanted it to.
Song that always puts me in a great mood: The 50 or so songs God gave me to write, that helped me through some tough times.
Risk worth taking: Loving someone.
My next big project: Spread my business out to other areas, find a great teacher to carry it on, and then retire.
CUC classmate I wish to honour: I would like to honour those classmates who are no longer with us. Their lives were too short!
Advice I would give to a graduating senior: Find a career that makes you happy to go to work every day. Nothing else counts in the workplace. Find a career that makes a positive difference in someone else’ life. That’s success!