Returning to her roots: Ms Susan Belyea comes full circle at FHS

Now and Then: Ms Belyea was a student here as FHS was under construction

By Vladi Y.

In when 1972 Fredericton High School was built,  Susan Belyea is one of the few individuals that went to FHS and now teach there.

Back in the 70’s all schools were every strict, especially high schools. It was not rare for a teacher would hit a student without any consequences, it was rather normal. There was also a dress code for both girls and boys, girls had to wear long dresses and the boys could not have long hair. If those rules were not followed the individuals were sent back home.  Clicks such as jocks, nerds, hippies were very common back then and are still until today.

At one point the whole school was filled with class rooms in order to be able to fit 3500 students, there were no offices and such. There was also a 2 lunch hour split, one group of students went to lunch at one time of the day and the other at another time. Semesters were also unheard of all the courses were one year each. Back then smoking was normal, everyone smoked, even teachers smoked in the school.

”I was 31 and pregnant, and knew I needed to get an education if I wanted any sort of decent life. I started UNB in the fall of 1987 with a 3 month baby, who attended with me and that baby is now a teacher as well. She is now 26,” said Belyea. Being a teacher at a school that she went to as a teenager, Ms.Belyea feels connected to the students and completely understand the students that do not want to be there.

Many students back then didn’t like high school, and nothing changed as for today, Ms.Belyea was one of those students. Belyea said “I  completely understand the kids that don’t want to school and I can see when they come from.” Belyea quit school in 1973 due to no being capable to bear with the high school environment but when back 2 years later and graduated in 1975 at the age of 20. Belyea did not go to a post-secondary institution right away, for the reason of think that she would not be able to do the math that is required. After graduating she drove to Calgory where she stayed for 2 years and shortly after she decided to go back to Fredericton where she graduated from the collage of art in UNB.

Before becoming a teacher Ms.Belyea worked as a cabinet maker, picture framer, graphic artist, and a waitress all in Fredericton. Her first job as a teacher was at an elementary school from 1992-1999, she though grades 1, 5, and 6 in many subjects. After teaching at an elementary school for 7 years, Belyea got a job at FHS as an art teacher which she teachers until this day.

A grade 12 student Brandon Crowther said “Ms Belyea was a great, understanding teacher who could effectively communicate the importance and joys of art. Her teaching style is unorthodox but she still consistently gets the job done and inspires new artists”.


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