In Loving Memory of Linden French Teacher Anne Nenarokoff-Van Burek ❤️
Beloved community member Anne Nenarokoff-Van Burek, who taught French at Linden from 1999 until 2018, passed away peacefully at her home on February 12th after a long and courageous battle with cancer. She believed deeply in the school's mission and lived a life full of love, laughter and light.
Anne began her career as a teacher and journalist. She wrote television scripts for adult and young audiences for TVO/TFO and Télé-Québec, and plays for Théâtre français de Toronto and Pleiades Theatre. Anne was a published writer and poet. Her autobiographical book, Ariadne’s Thread: The Women in My Family, was published in 2012. It is a remarkable story of the women in Anne’s family who escaped to France during the 1917 revolution.
Anne brought richness and depth to the study of the French language at Linden. Thanks to her skilled instruction, students acquired a sophisticated use of the language and an in-depth understanding of French culture. She excelled at providing enrichment opportunities for advanced French speakers, including spearheading Linden’s French drama productions.
When she retired in 2018, tributes poured in from her students, who lauded her passion, patience, kindness and unwavering dedication. They remembered her funny and engaging classes, her quirkiness, her wonderful sense of style, and her contagious passion for social change. Sam Peng (Class of 2017) recalled, “Anne didn’t just teach me French. She fostered an appreciation and enjoyment of French culture and art. Anne helps you see the good in life and she brightened the whole Linden community.”
“Anne always had a smile on her face, a great story to tell, and the most incredible fashion sense,” said Associate Principal Beth Alexander. “Her passion for teaching was obvious, and I am grateful for the kind support she showed me when I was a new teacher. Anne, thank you for all you did for us here at Linden!”
“Anne’s sense of humour and fashion sense were like no other! She was a welcoming presence when I started at Linden, and she grew to be more than a colleague: she was a mentor, and most importantly, she was a friend,” shared Associate Principal Tonja Armstrong-MacInnis. “When she retired, Anne offered me some of her teaching supplies, and we enjoyed a lovely walk down memory lane as we riffled through boxes in her basement. Many thanks to you, mon amie. Your laughter will forever ring through the halls of Linden!”
“On behalf of the entire Linden community, we extend our deepest condolences to the Van Burek family,” said Principal Tara Silver. “It was a delight to work with Anne and to see her instill a love of language and an appreciation of francophone cultures in so many students over the years.”
Should you wish to honour Anne’s memory, The Pleiades Theatre has set up The Anne and John Van Burek Fund for Translation of Plays Into English. It will be administered by the Ontario Arts Fund at the OAC. Details about how to make a tax-deductible donation online can be found here.
French teacher Anne Nenarokoff-Van Burek’s contribution to Linden was honoured at Celebration to Greet the Summer on June 21, 2018, following her retirement.
Sang Lee presents Anne with flowers.
Anne and her family watching our tribute presentation.