Kileasa Wong has been known by numerous students as both teacher and principal of the Victoria Chinese School. A teacher in her native Hong Kong before emigrating to Victoria with her husband, Maurice, in 1970, Kileasa has taught at the school since 1988, and became principal in 1997.
Outside of her work, Kileasa is known throughout Greater Victoria for her coordination of Chinatown’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations. Passionate about preserving her culture, she enjoys spending time with her family and teaching Chinese brush painting.
Black Press: What is your proudest achievement?
Kileasa Wong: I came to Canada with nothing and now I have four sons and five grandchildren, and a job I love. I love to teach – it’s a way of keeping the traditions alive.
BP: What is your most cherished piece of advice from your own mother?
KW: When I got married my mother told me have to learn how to cook, and I think I have done pretty well. While I worked, my husband also operated a store for 40 years, so I still wanted to do the cooking. Today my grandchildren come over and all ask for “Ma Ma’s chicken.”
BP: What do people look to you for guidance about?
KW: In addition to teaching at the school, I teach Chinese brush painting and I have a dance group. People really like it when we perform and the students enjoy sharing our culture.
For many years I have also taken children from the school to China for a summer program. Their parents tell me the students come back with greater understanding of and respect for their culture.
BP: How do you find balance in your life?
KW: Understanding is most important. I have a great husband – he supports me!
BP: What is your guilty pleasure?
KW: When I want to treat myself I get into the chocolate box!