I have Marie write out her full name for me. ‘Achtymichuk.’ It’s Ukrainian, where her dad is from. 

I compliment her on her beautiful handwriting. We have this interview in the store where Marie is a manager, we were interrupted by staff a few times. Marie is needed!

Marie’s parents started  the business in 2006, and Marie has worked there since.

“What did you do after graduating from  Porter Creek Secondary in 2009?” I ask.

“I first went to our graduation party,” she says with a big smile, “and then I went on to work in the store full time, working all the different shifts.”

In 2010 she went back to school at Yukon College to  upgrade. She took math, English and a computer course.

“Math?” I ask.

“Yes,” she says. “I was always very good at math, but I didn’t have the prerequisites to further my education. ”

In 2015 she says she took a learning assessment program where she discovered a lot about herself. Such as, she is a slow learner but she does eventually understand. She needs real-life examples in order to understand, and that she needs to hear things rather than only reading about them. She is very persistent.

“It took me three times to get my driver’s licence, but I did get it,” she proclaimed.

I remember Marie in elementary school. She was happy and outgoing, and I would describe her now and even back then; as very vivacious. She tells me that in grade seven, Alexander (my son, who also graduated in 2009) once asked her why she spends so much time in the individual learning room. Marie says she answered him, saying she didn’t actually know. Only in 2015, after doing the learning assessment program, did she come understand the way she learns.

While we talked, she was being reminded of grade seven. Mr. Harms was her favorite teacher. She even invited him to her graduation in 2009. She was surprised to learn that she was actually the only one who had invited him, as he was the favourite teacher ever of most kids.

“I invited him that very day and in the evening he was there.”

To that I say, “yes, that was Mr. Harms, of course he came, as he always truly cared about his students.”

Marie agrees to that. She says, “He respected everybody, he took time to explain things and was able to calm everybody down when there was an issue like some bickering among us.”

Currently Marie is taking the office administration program at Yukon College along with working in the store. She hopes to graduate with her certificate in 2018.

The name of the store is Heather’s Snack Haven, where everybody can see Marie loves it. Marie and her boyfriend Zeb are the managers and her parents are the owners.

“What do you love most about working here?” I ask.

Instantly she answers, “The customers, as everyday funny things happen. The customers are friendly and fun, we have enjoyable talks.The customers know when I am grumpy or tired and they will start a joke.”  

Marie loves an expression that one of her customers always tells her: “Chin up, you’re doing great!”

She sure is!