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Peace Wapiti Public School Division
Educating today for success tomorrow
Peace Wapiti Public School Division No. 76
News Item

PWPSD Good News Report – May 2019

May 28, 2019

The following Good News Report from Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) and its schools will be shared at the upcoming Board Meeting on Thursday, May 30, 2019.

News from PWPSD:

National Indigenous Peoples Day planning underway at PWPSD schools

PWPSD schools will celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day 2019 on June 21 or an alternate day to accommodate exam schedules. The following schools submitted plans prior to the Good News Report press time. Stay tuned for an upcoming media release in June that will include events from additional participating schools.

SchoolDate / Time Event details
Beaverlodge Elementary SchoolJune 20, afternoonStudents will spend the afternoon outside, learning and playing traditional hand games, and try beef jerky donated by the Beaverlodge Butcher Shop.
Clairmont Community SchoolJune 6 and June 19The Bluebird Dancers, along with students who are traditional dancers, will perform at the school's 10th anniversary celebration and Fine Arts Night on June 6, followed by a school-wide dance performance on June 19.
Whispering Ridge Community SchoolJune 18, afternoonPerformance by the Red Feather Métis Dance Group, along with Indigenous games, dances, stories, bannock and jam, and craft making. The closing assembly will include a Round Dance.


Bronze medals at Skills Alberta Competition

Congratulations to the 12 PWPSD students who qualified to compete at the Skills Alberta Competition in Edmonton on May 8-9, after achieving silver or gold at regionals in Fairview in April. To move on to nationals as part of Team Alberta, provincial competitors must achieve gold medals. Competition was stiff at the event, with more than 800 students participating. Congratulations to two Sexsmith Secondary students who earned bronze medals at the provincial event – Sam Raskauskus (left) in IT Systems and Networking, and Ally Fehr (right) in Junior Hairstyling.

Two PWPSD schools receive 'Good for the Senses' grants – Harry Balfour School and Spirit River Regional Academy
HBS and SRRA will receive new sensory equipment, thanks to successful "Good for the Senses" grant applications to the Children's Ability Fund. Both schools will receive a Snoezelen® Sensory Magic™ Starter System, valued at just under $13,000. HBS Principal Jen Clevette, who received the news from the Children's Ability Fund Board of Directors earlier this month says, "The equipment is expected to arrive late in June and will be in place in our new sensory room for the upcoming school year." The system will enhance the existing sensory room at SRRA. Sensory rooms provide a soothing, stimulating space for students to self-regulate their behaviour so that they are ready to learn, and are often used by children on the autism spectrum or those affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) or brain injury.

On Your Mark! Free Diploma Exam tutorial schedule set for June


Social Studies


Saturday, June 89:00 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.Peace Wapiti Academy

Ms. Armbruster,

Ms. Bednard, Mr. Stone

Math 30-1Saturday, June 159:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.GPRC, Room TBAMrs. Lambert, Mr. Hassanali
Math 30-2Saturday, June 159:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.GPRC, Room TBAMr. Iverson, Mr. Vavrek
Chemistry 30Saturday, June 159:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.GPRC, Room TBAMs. Houlder, Ms. Creighton
Physics 30Saturday, June 229:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.GPRC, Room TBAMs. Paquette, Mr. Hassanali
Biology 30Saturday, June 229:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.GPRC, Room TBAMs. Lario, Ms. Soule
Science 30Wednesday, June 269:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.GPRC, Room TBAMs. Soule, Ms. Zarowny


PWPSD Long Service Awards – Three regional events planned for June
The list of recipients celebrating career milestones will be released prior to the first event in June. 
  1. Central region: Hosted by Whispering Ridge Community School, Thursday, June 6.
  2. Northern region: Hosted by Bonanza School, Thursday, June 6.  
  3. Western region: Hosted by Elmworth School, Thursday, June 13.  

PWPSD Corporate Secretary receives ASBOA Award of Excellence
Congratulations to JoAnn Vanstone, Corporate Secretary at PWPSD Central Office, who received an Award of Excellence from the Association of School Business Officials of Alberta (ASBOA) on May 7. The award acknowledges the value and commitment that individual members have demonstrated to improve the level of professionalism among school business officials. Award winners are recognized for their continuous interest in learning and in staying abreast of developments in the field of school business management. They have provided leadership and commitment to the Association and are role models for other school business officials, going above and beyond the day-to-day requirements of their position and profession.

PWPSD bus drivers place first and third at annual Bus Roadeo

PIctured left: PWPSD competitors – pictured with Transportation Director Ted Gobin (far left) and Student Transportation Manager Joanne Peters (third from left) – school bus drivers Shirley Fisher, Kelly Bertin, Donna Duke and Ken Wilhite.

Pictured right: Trophy winners (l-r): Second place winner Carmen Pelletier from High Prairie School Division, with PWPSD school bus drivers Ken Wilhite who placed first, and Kelly Bertin who placed third. 

Congratulations to PWPSD school bus drivers Ken Wilhite who placed first and Kelly Bertin who took home third at the fourth annual Northwest Zone 5 School Bus Roadeo in High Prairie on Saturday, May 25. During the event, 20 drivers representing Northland, High Prairie, Peace River, Peace Wapiti, and Fort Vermilion School Divisions completed a written exam and underwent skills testing that included offset alley, uncontrolled railroad crossing, straight line, diminishing clearance, back-up test, right turn, curb line, parallel parking, student loading and stop line. The top three winners have been invited to compete at the provincial Bus Roadeo in Red Deer on June 8.

Upcoming dates to remember:

  • Eaglesham School Graduation: Saturday, June 1 at 4:00 p.m., Eaglesham School gym.
  • Alternative Education Graduation/Peace Wapiti Enterprise Centre (PWEC) Grand Opening/Peace Academy of Virtual Education (PAVE) 20th Anniversary Celebration: Wednesday, June 5 at 11:00 a.m., Ernie Radbourne Pavilion, Muskoseepi Park, Grande Prairie.
  • Spirit River Regional Academy Graduation: Friday, June 7. Cap and gown ceremony at 1:00 p.m., followed by a grand march at 7:00 p.m., Spirit River Arena
  • National Indigenous Peoples Day: June 21
  • Last day for students: June 27
  • Last day for staff: June 28
  • Savanna School Graduation: Saturday, July 6. Dinner at 4:30 p.m., followed by a cap and gown ceremony at 6:00 p.m., Bonanza Hall.

News from PWPSD Schools:

Clairmont Community School

CCS celebrating 10th anniversary on June 6

Staff, students, parents and PWPSD administration and trustees are invited to join Clairmont Community School at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, 2019 for the 10th anniversary celebration of the school's opening. Enjoy cake in the gathering area followed by school tours. At 7:00 p.m., attendees will congregate in the gym for an hour of fine arts presentations and performances by students.

Eaglesham School

Electron microscope provides up-close encounters at Eaglesham School

Eaglesham School's Grade 7-12 students gained experience with a scanning electron microscope, analyzing samples from their science projects. The microscope was on loan from the Center for Mathematics Science and Technology (CMASTE) during the week of May 13-17. Grades 1-6 students received demonstrations on how the microscope works, watched older students using the microscope, and discussed their findings. The CMASTE website says the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) project is possible due to the generosity of Alberta Innovates and NRC-Nano (formerly NINT) which will see the microscope continue to visit schools for the next two years. The project encourages schools to participate in inquiry-based projects with a trained facilitator to help students use the microscope and interpret the results. Eaglesham staff and students express thanks to microscope facilitator Quinn McCashin for working with them, and to the CMASTE team for providing this opportunity.

Jump Rope for Heart a fantastic effort

The school's Jump Rope for Heart event, held on May 16, saw 45 elementary student-participants who generated more than $6,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Recent and upcoming events:

  • Grades 3-6 visited Evergreen Park for a science exhibition on May 17.
  • Trades Camp: Monday-Tuesday, June 6-7. Open to Grades 9-12.
  • Science Fair Exhibition Day: Monday, June 10.
  • Awards ceremony: 2:00 p.m. on Friday, June 14. The school will also recognize their bus drivers.
  • Eaglesham Outdoor Pursuits Program: Restarting in September with kayaking, progressing to wilderness survival in early October when students will experience shelter-building, making a fire and outdoor cooking. The semester will wrap up in January with cross-country skiing and the possibility of archery training. Cost of the program is $200 for the semester. Students must have suitable footwear and outdoor clothing, and a cold weather sleeping bag. Questions? Contact Mr. McKay at mikemckay@pwpsd.ca.

Harry Balfour School

Plan to attend year-end concert and fundraiser in the park
HBS bands and choirs will come together for a concert at the Muskoseepi Park Amphitheatre on Tuesday, June 11 at 7:00 p.m. Families can order burgers and drinks in advance, and purchase tickets for a 50-50 draw and silent auction in support of new musical instruments. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. In the event of inclement weather, the concert move indoors to the school. Follow Harry Balfour School on Facebook for ongoing updates.   

Mental health and wellness focus of HBS Education week
Students participated in Zen Yoga sessions during daily lunch hour. Other activities included the City Scrub event with doughnuts as a treat, sharing what brings happiness, Hats on For Mental Health Day, sidewalk chalk art, and creating a bulletin board offering tips on improving mental health and wellness within the school.

Bus Driver Appreciation Day – HBS students say thanks with cards

Mighty Peace Day
HBS sent 25 Grades 5-8 student leaders to Mighty Peace Day on May 7 – an inspiring day to celebrate the difference youth can make when they set a goal and work toward it.

Grade 5 students visit Historic Dunvegan
Students learned about the 100-year history of the fur trade, visited the Tate family house and missionary buildings, made bannock over an open fire, and learned about the Hudson Bay Company and North West Company.

Grade 6 French proficiency tested by DELF 
More than a dozen HBS Grade 6 students took the Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF) exam, a French proficiency exam administered through the French Ministry of Education. Students are tested in all four language proficiencies – speaking, reading, writing and listening comprehension.

Magic the Gathering

Students are enjoying a new after-school extracurricular activity called Magic the Gathering, a collectible and digital collectible card game. Local business Wonderland Toy and Hobby helped establish the activity by providing starter packs for each student and then teaching them how to play.

Dommer, Tomke receive Rotary Service Above Self Awards recognizing Excellence in Education

The HBS School Council nominated teachers Anna Tomke (left) and Lawrence Dommer (center) for Rotary Service Above Self Awards in the Excellence in Education category, presented by the Grande Prairie Rotary Club. Mr. Dommer's nomination states, "Through his leadership of the HBS band program, Mr. Dommer has patiently created lifelong musicians out of many students who started with only a squeak or a honk on their instrument. He gives up many hours of his time at school, and his personal time, to lead extra practices, supervise band trips and conduct countless successful festival performances." Ms. Tomke is noted for creating a choir program on her own time, including during her lunch breaks and on weekends, when a choir option was not available for elementary students this year. A testament to her efforts, the Grades 1-3 Choir won superior gold at this year's festival, along with a recommendation to attend the provincial festival. The pair of teachers are also credited with organizing a "beautiful" Christmas concert this year and for bestowing the countless benefits of music and team membership on HBS students. 

Elementary Choir
After their recommendation for provincials this year, the HBS elementary choir recorded their submission with teachers Mrs. Tomke and Mr. Dommer. Both school choirs participated in the Tri-District Choir Concert on May 14, featuring 10 choirs from the three local school districts.


Hythe Regional School

Panther Pride Awards set for June 18
The annual Panther Pride Awards will be handed out on Tuesday, June 18, starting at 6:30 p.m. The evening ceremony recognizes students who have achieved honours in four core subjects, along with awards for overall participation, art and design, athleticism, citizenship, proficiency, FNMI and Cree, travel, and perfect attendance. Students receiving honours in three or fewer core subjects will be recognized at an afternoon event on the same day, beginning at 2:15 p.m.

Peace Wapiti Academy

Vans Shoe Project – PWA students design Vans sneakers, receive feedback from national art director

PWA Art 20/30 students and several Grade 10 students participated in a contest hosted by local sporting goods store, S3 Boardshop, to design classic white Vans slip-ons. Students created their own designs from scratch or modified the shoe in some way. Contest submissions were sent to the Vans Canada head office for feedback from the art director. On May 22, Vans Shoe Project winners were announced at the school by Mike and Brittney of S3 Boardshop. Congratulations to first place winners Mia Cook and Sydney Jones who received a $100 gift card; Jerika Cadieux and Parker Jones who received a $50 gift card for placing second; and Dylan Sieben, Bella Hebert and Elisabetta Marchesi who received a $25 gift card for placing third. All other contest participants received $10 gift cards for their commendable designs. Photos of all entries will be on display at the PWA Fine Arts Night on June 5.

PWA Concert Band performs in New York music festival

Forty-five members of the PWA Concert Band participated in the Rhythms International Music Festival on April 27-29 in New York City. The band was awarded Excellence for their performance, with adjudicators highlighting the exceptional talent of the students and their conductor Darcy Nielsen. While there, the group attended the Phantom of the Opera musical, followed by a Broadway classroom workshop that included members of the cast. The group was wowed by tours of Central Park, the 911 Memorial Grounds, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Gardens, Top of the Rock Observation Deck and National Geographic Oceans Encounters. Assistant Principal Kaila Villiger says it was a great experience for all, students and chaperones alike.

Foods 10 completing Canadian Heritage Foods lessons

In this segment of the Foods 10 course, students prepared a First Nations meal of Maple Glazed Salmon and Wild Rice, the Iroquoian Three Sisters' Soup, and Métis/French Canadian tourtieres (meat pies). To understand the early settlers' skills, students learned canning through a choice of pickled foods or jams; fed a sourdough starter for a week – the resulting bread was said to be quite dense; and how to cut up whole chickens, freezing the parts to be used in the upcoming Fish and Poultry segment of the course. Students made variety of dumplings, including pierogies, varaneki and piroshky, and learned ways to repurpose leftover cooked potatoes, including British Bubble n' Squeak, Irish Colcannon and Scottish Rumbledthumps. Students also enjoyed deep-frying cake doughnuts. The class will wrap up with a Borsch flavored with chicken stock, prepared from chicken backs.

PWA drama students travel to Edmonton for workshops
PWA drama teacher Jeannine Younger and students in her Drama 10, 20 and 30 classes were immersed in theatre during a May 8-11 trip to Edmonton. Students participated in multiple workshops focusing on acting and improv, a session on stage combat led by one of the most qualified instructors in the country, and a full backstage tour of the Citadel. The group attended three professional theatrical performances, including a production of Sister Act at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre and an incredibly diverse and dynamic adaptation of The Tempest at the Citadel. The production of The Tempest included a cast of both hearing and non-hearing actors, spoken word and ASL, a real rainstorm and water on the stage – complete with rain ponchos for those in the front row – and a shipwreck. An unforgettable experience!

Recent and upcoming events:

  • PWA drama students performed a full-length production of Peter Bloedel's The Seussification of A Midsummer Night's Dream on May 15 that served a dual purpose as a component of their curriculum and as a fundraiser with appetizers and a silent auction to help cover the costs of their Edmonton trip.
  • PWA's Got Talent was held on May 22.
  • PWA will host a Celebration of the Arts event on Wednesday, June 5 at the school. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. View student artwork and photos, watch a play presented by Drama students, listen to performances by the PWA Band, and enjoy snack prepared by Foods classes.

Sexsmith Secondary School

SSS Indigenous Studies class to host MMIWG2+ tribute event on May 31

The Indigenous Studies Class invites the community and other schools to a tribute event for Missing and Murdered Indigenous, Women, Girls and Two-Spirited People (MMIWG2+) on Friday, May 31 beginning at 1:00 p.m. The event will include an opening address by Tasha Herbison, followed by a talk on 'Hug a Sister' by Delaine Lambert-English, and sharing of stories from the community. To mark the event, the class will plant a tree ahead of the ceremony, courtesy of the Kelly Lake Cree Nation, Braeheid Gardens and anonymous donors. The Bear Creek Funeral Home and Edmonton Granite Memorials have donated a commemorative tree plaque, with the Cree translation provided by Barb Belcourt, a First Nations, Métis, Inuit Liaison Worker at Hythe Regional School. Students will wrap the tree in a garland of origami red dresses, followed by a round dance at 2:00 p.m.

UN Young Leader for Sustainable Development Goals presents MMIWG to Aboriginal Studies class at Sexsmith Secondary

Nikki Fraser, UN Young Leader for Sustainable Development Goals, spoke to the Grades 10-12 Aboriginal Studies class at Sexsmith Secondary School on May 9 on the topic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Ms. Fraser has been personally affected by the epidemic, having lost an aunt and a cousin. "My presentation is about being a volunteer of MMIWG, first as a family member, and then as an Indigenous woman, mother and sister who wanted to be a part of change," says Ms. Fraser. She also discussed how her volunteer work led to an interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and then to a nominated position as UN Young Leader for Sustainable Development Goals.

Palaeontology students are digging it

The inaugural class of the Palaeontology 10 program included three visits to the Phillip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum to study the evolutionary history of dinosaur species and reptiles. Their final visit focused on a day in the life of a palaeontologist, including hands-on experience sketching bones, identifying specimens, and preparing fossils. Teacher Michelle Zarowny echoed her students' excitement. "The kids embraced the amazing learning opportunities offered through our Dino Museum days."

High School Badminton Zones Results
Congratulations to Erin Siemens who placed second and Neil Fehr who placed third in their respective categories. Both advanced to Provincials where they finished 12th and 16th respectively.

Sabre Girls Rugby attempting perfect season

The Sabres Girls Rugby Team has been lighting it up this year and continue to remain undefeated. The Drayton Valley Tournament on May 13-15 was their most recent win. The team deserves a special shout-out for not only remaining undefeated, but also for not giving up any points against St. Joe's in Game 1 (33-0), Cold Lake in Game 2 (41-0), Memorial Composite in Game 3 (52-0) or Drayton Valley in the final game (7-0). The team's undefeated season continued with a 26-10 victory over Fort St. John and beating St. Joe's 63-5 to advance to the league final coming up on May 29. Congratulations!

Wembley Elementary School

WES Grade 3 project mixes artistry and math

On May 15, Mr. Beauvais' Grade 3 students were dressed to the nines in tuxedos, dresses, faux fur, feather boas and spectacles as they gathered in the hallway to bid on art they secretly created weeks earlier for a pretend auction. In addition to developing two or three pieces of art, students concealed their identities by creating artistic pseudonyms, and received imaginary $1,000 bank accounts for the auction. Artists such as Connor McPencil and Missy Glitterglue created one-of-a-kind paintings, sketches, sculptures and more. Mr. Beauvais opened the auction by displaying each piece up for bidding on a Smartboard. The winning bidder was required to write out the amount in words on a "cheque", and then used their math skills to calculate their remaining balance. Volunteer bankers Assistant Superintendent Kevin Elias, current Principal Holly Gould, and incoming Principal Erika Walsh checked the math. Ms. Gould says the students were excited and engaged in this real life math activity. Although Mr. Beauvais loves math, he admitted his favourite part was watching the students reveal their secret identities. "It was a joy to watch the shocked faces as they realized whose art they had purchased. Many thanks to all volunteers and students who made this auction an incredible success!"

Whispering Ridge Community School

Cookie sale generates support for animal rescue

Grade 5 students Isabella Bennett and Leah Wendels conducted an in-school fundraiser for the Bandaged Paws Animal Rescue organization on May 10. The pair raised $163.50 through sales of cookies.

Recent Media Releases:

Other News:

PWPSD and its schools were featured in 25 media stories to date during the month of May 2019. To keep up-to-date with the latest news from PWPSD, and local media coverage, check out PWPSD's online Media Room at http://www.pwpsd.ca/mediaroom. Sign up to receive Board News, Division Update and other PWPSD publications at www.pwpsd.ca.