Replacement Robert W. Zahara Public School and modernized Teepee Creek School
Friday, June 9, 2017 marked a day of celebration for Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD), with the official grand opening of the replacement Kindergarten-Grade 6 Robert. W. Zahara (RWZ) Public School in Sexsmith during the morning, followed by an afternoon event at the modernized Kindergarten-Grade 8 Teepee Creek School (TCS) in Teepee Creek.
RWZ Principal Lawrie McKeith kicked off the morning event with a multi-cultural welcome and reminded everyone that, from the beginning, the focus of the project was on students.
"I am humbled and awed to stand here before those of you who have worked tirelessly to make this building a reality," said Ms. McKeith. "I listened, watched, and observed as you all laid out your visions, your dreams, your hopes, and your desires. I was amazed as you all came together with the architects and made this building a reality for the kids that we serve. We have designed a school that is all about doing the best we can for every single one of our kids."
The Honourable Margartet McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy and MLA for the Dunvegan Central Peace-Notley Constituency, brought greetings on behalf of the Alberta Government at both events. PWSD Board Chair Dana McIntosh shared the history of both schools, the behind-the-scenes work involved in securing both projects, followed by the process of construction during which teachers and staff worked diligently to ensure continuity of curriculum and services for students.
PWSD Deputy Superintendent Bob Stewart brought greetings from Central Office at the morning event in Sexsmith, with Superintendent Sheldon Rowe speaking during the afternoon at Teepee Creek. As former teachers and principals, both drew from their experiences with renovations and new school builds to express appreciation of Ms. McKeith and Ms. Brown's dedication, the support of their staff, and the work of Central Office staffing and those at Alberta Education and Alberta Infrastructure.
RWZ School Council Chair Beth Endresen provided a parent's perspective of the school, highlighting "the teamwork, dedication and an over-and-above caring for the wellbeing of every single student."
Like many at the replacement school, RWZ is a big part of Grade 6 student speaker Holly Huls' family, with older siblings and her father spending their elementary years at the (former) school. Referencing the school's leadership program, and "teachers who not only teach us the facts, but also how to be better people," she is "happy to be someone that younger students can look up to."
Town of Sexsmith Councillor Clint Froehlick brought greetings at the RWZ event, and County of Grande Prairie Councillor Corey Beck spoke at Teepee Creek.
TCS Principal Casey Brown thanked everyone for supporting the modernization project, and gave a nod to the school's 62-year history. "Our students come from generations of Teepee Creek families…Those traditions are within our walls."
TCS School Council Chair Amber Binks expressed pride in the sense of community she feels when walking through the school doors, referencing how older and younger students work together, and the vital role school and community play in their development.
Brett Mitchell, Grade 7 student at TCS, both captivated and humoured the audience with his speech, thanking PWSD and the Province of Alberta for their capital investment, along with parents, teachers and trustees for their vision for the school.
Prior to the official ribbon cutting, short construction videos were launched at both events. View the R. W. Zahara Public School video at https://youtu.be/oUrDfuci9YA; the Teepee Creek School video at https://youtu.be/7Ha3zoVGRFI.
Above, l-r: Hon. Margaret McCuaig-Boyd brings greetings on behalf of the Alberta Government at the grand opening of R. W. Zahara Public School.
Middle, l-r: Teepee Creek School official ribbon cutting. Pictured left-right are Grade 7 student Brett Mitchell, PWSD Trustee Dale Crane, School Council Chair Amber Binks, Hon. Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Principal Casey Brown, PWSD Board Chair Dana McIntosh, PWSD Superintendent Sheldon Rowe, and County of Grande Prairie Councillor Corey Beck.
Bottom, l-r: Teepee Creek School Principal Casey Brown poses with Hon. Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, MLA Todd Lowen, and student speaker Brett Mitchell.