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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 – April 2019

April 23, 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, April 25, 2019.

News from PWPSD:

How the mock Student Vote stacked up against official Elections Alberta results

PWPSD students who participated in mock voting on April 15-16 chose UCP candidates in all three ridings, reflecting the official Elections Alberta results on April 16. However, student support for elected candidates was lower than that of eligible voters.

Central Peace Notley riding: 65.98 per cent of students voted for elected UCP candidate Todd Loewen, compared with 75.3 per cent of eligible voters. Included in this riding are students at Eaglesham School, Rycroft School, Savanna School, Spirit River Regional Academy and Woking School.

Grande Prairie-Wapiti riding: 52.42 per cent of students voted for elected UCP candidate Travis Toews, compared with 74.8 per cent of eligible voters. Included in this riding are students at PWPSD Alternative Education, Beaverlodge Elementary School, Beaverlodge Regional High School, Bezanson School, Clairmont Community School, Elmworth School, Harry Balfour School, Hythe Regional School, LaGlace School, Peace Wapiti Academy, Penson School, Robert W. Zahara Public School, Teepee Creek School and Whispering Ridge Community School.

Grande Prairie riding: 42.84 per cent of students voted for elected UCP candidate Tracy Allard, compared with 61.7 per cent of eligible voters. Included in this riding are students at Ridgevalley School and Sexsmith Secondary School. 

Mock Student Vote results by electoral division: http://studentvote.ca/results/district_results/30.
Official Elections Alberta results: https://www.elections.ab.ca/index.html.

Health care focus of Tour the Trades event

A group of PWPSD high school students joined students from the two other local districts for a full day 'Tour the Trades' event focused on the health service industry on Wednesday, April 10. Trades featured on the tour are in high demand and provide opportunities for students to talk with tradespeople on the job and learn about the trades and the steps required for certification. During the morning, the group learned about emergency response career opportunities with visits to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Station and the STARS Air Ambulance facility in Grande Prairie. Over lunch, Nurse Wendy McMillan delivered a talk on careers in nursing. In the afternoon, the group traveled to FYI Doctors to learn about optical and optometry careers, followed by a visit with the pharmacy team at the Northgate Safeway Pharmacy. Through a partnership between CAREERS: The Next Generation and school-based off-campus coordinators, students can complete a three-day job shadowing experience at one of the industry partners during the summer months.

Three PWPSD students recognized at annual 'Leaders of Tomorrow' luncheon

Congratulations to Beaverlodge Regional High School Grade 10 students Jenna Noullett (left) and Torann Mecham (right) who were among seven youths recognized by the Grande Prairie Volunteer Service Bureau with Leaders of Tomorrow Awards, presented at the National Volunteer Week annual appreciation luncheon on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Presented by ATCO Gas and ATCO Electric, the awards recognize students aged 13 to 18 years old who have made outstanding contributions to their communities through volunteerism. Award recipients received a trophy, a certificate and a $100 award, along with a $100 donation by ATCO to a registered charity of their choice. Jenna's charity of choice was The Salvation Army. Torann chose Bandaged Paws.

Although he did not meet the recommended age to qualify for a Leaders of Tomorrow Award, 11-year-old Martin Moerike (pictured right with Principal Rob Robinson), a Grade 6 student at Helen E. Taylor School, was recognized as an Upcoming Leader of Tomorrow Award for his volunteerism, particularly for his work with Into the Woods Animal Rescue. He was nominated by Mr. Robinson.

Leadership Teams from Beaverlodge Regional High School and Hythe Regional School (pictured below) were also invited to the event.

PWPSD to bid farewell to 352 graduates in the Class of 2019
Stay tuned for additional details in a media release on May 1.

SchoolDateEvent Details# of Graduates
Peace Wapiti Academy
Saturday, May 4

Commencement Ceremony: 10:30 a.m.
Guest Speaker: Mr. Joshua Kostanuick, former Titans Football coach and building construction teacher
Grand March: 7:00 p.m.
Theme: Enchanted Forest
Location: TARA Centre, Evergreen Park, Grande Prairie

Beaverlodge Regional High SchoolFriday, May 24

Cap and Gown Ceremony: 9:30 a.m.
Grand March: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Beaverlodge Arena

Sexsmith Secondary SchoolFriday, May 24

Cap and Gown Ceremony: 10:00 a.m.
Grand March: 5:00 p.m.
Theme: 1950s
Location: Sexsmith Arena

Ridgevalley SchoolSaturday, May 25

Cap and Gown Ceremony: 3:00 p.m.
Guest Speaker: Assistant Principal Barry DeFord
Theme: Each End is a New Beginning
Location: Ridgevalley School gymnasium

Eaglesham School
Saturday, June 1

Cap and Gown Ceremony and Grand March: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Eaglesham School gymnasium

Alternative EducationWednesday, June 5

Cap and Gown Ceremony: 11:00 a.m.
Location: Ernie Radbourne Pavilion, Muskoseepi Park, Grande Prairie

Spirit River Regional AcademyFriday, June 7

Cap and Gown Ceremony: 1:00 p.m.
Grand March: 7:00 p.m.
Theme: Starry Summer Nights
Location: Spirit River Arena

Savanna SchoolSaturday, July 6

Dinner: 4:30 p.m.
Cap and Gown Ceremony: 6:00 p.m.
Guest Speakers: Paula Taylor, former principal and Jason Shirley, former teacher
Location: Bonanza Hall


Total number of graduates in the Class of 2019

Post-secondary education focus of PWPSD Indigenous Speakers Series

Presenters Thomas Laboucan-Avirom and Andrea Deleeuw, pictured with Leslie Bell (left), Youth Advocate at Peace Wapiti Academy, and Brigitte Benning (right), Indigenous Educator at PWPSD, shared their journeys in post-secondary education and participated in interactive panels with students at Peace Wapiti Academy, Sexsmith Secondary School and Ridgevalley School. The pair of presenters are pictured receiving gifts of thanks – drawings by local Indigenous artist Calvin Cornish.

Upcoming events:

  • April 29: GPRC Grade 7 Day – an opportunity for students to experience post-secondary paths.
  • May 1: Hats On! for Mental Health Day – http://canwetalk.ca
  • May 15: Walk through the Forest Day
  • May 21: Dave Bleile Track Meet


News from PWPSD Schools:

Alternative Education

Are you an animal lover? Need an extra credit?

PWPSD Alternative Education will be offering a fun and animal-filled day of learning on Saturday, May 25, 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Peace Wapiti Enterprise Centre, located in the Royal Oaks subdivision in Grande Prairie at 11735-105 Street, Unit #106. PWPSD students in need of a credit, or those who simply love animals, should consider registering for the Career and Technology Studies (CTS) module AGR1040. During the one-day course, students will explore the basic steps involved with raising and caring for domestic animals, while gaining an understanding of general care to ensure animal health. Meet special guest Tommy the Tortoise and spend a day with others who are focused on animal care. Alternative Education Principal Kate Thon added, "If PWPSD's northern schools express interest, we could certainly look at bringing the module to that area at another date." To register, contact Bianca Avery, biancaavery@pwsd76.ab.ca.

Elmworth School

March a busy month of learning for Grades 1-2

Prior to St. Patrick's Day, students constructed traps to catch the sneaky little leprechaun who seems to stop by every year to steal their gold. Teachers used the event as a learning opportunity. Students wrote about how the traps worked, describing what they know about leprechauns and how to 'show' a feeling instead of tell. The group is also learning and practicing various mental math strategies, are wrapping up an exploration of liquids in science, and are looking forward to building boats to test in the spring puddles before the remainder of the year flies by.

Harry Balfour School

HBS, County FCSS to launch new playschool for upcoming school year
Harry Balfour School (HBS) and the County of Grande Prairie Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) are thrilled to announce a new playschool at HBS, available to families in the upcoming 2019-2020 school year. The new HBS playschool was included in the County's interim budget announcement on December 8, 2018, along with an increase in programming at Whispering Ridge Community School from two to three classes. Benefits of playschool include play-based social and emotional learning, and affordable child-centered activities.

HBS celebrates 37th annual Food Fair

On April 9, Grades 1-8 students tried foods from around the world, donated by families, during the schools longstanding annual Food Fair tradition.

Lego Club introduces younger students to after school fun

Each spring, Grades 2-3 students are invited to participate in the HBS Lego Club for an hour of sharing ideas and building a variety of Lego projects.

Choir gold

Harry Balfour School choirs competed in the Grande Prairie Music Festival in April. The junior choir was awarded superior gold. Senior choir received gold. 

Students build, donate bird nesting boxes to Alberta Conservation Association

Students enjoyed researching Alberta's endangered birds and building nesting boxes to help replenish the population. Project work was completed during Personal Learning Time period. Many thanks to the Alberta Conservation Association for the blueprints and TurCon Construction for working with the students. Student teacher Mrs. Miller organized the project.

Bands ready to perform in local music festival, year-end concert in the park
The Grande Prairie and District Music Festival will take place in the Douglas J. Cardinal Theatre at GPRC. Admission is free and all are welcome. Learn more at https://gpmusicfestival.ca. Enjoy performances by:

  • Junior High Band: Monday, April 29, 11:00 a.m.
  • PWPSD Grade 6 Honour Band: Monday, April 29, 6:00 p.m.
  • Grade 6 Band: Wednesday May 1, 1:55 p.m.
  • The event will also include performances by the Grade 6 hand bell chorus, two small singing groups, and two soloists.

Plans for a June year-end concert in the park are in the works, featuring the bands and the excellent work happening in elementary music. Stay tuned for more information as the event draws nearer. An excellent end to a wonderful year of music.

Students anticipating upcoming author workshops
Students will meet two authors and participate in workshops on April 30. Supported by CENOVUS Energy and the Young Alberta Book Society, students will discuss How to Catch an Idea, written by Lois Donovan, and participate in a cartooning workshop with illustrator Gerry Rasmussen.

Hythe Regional School

Travel Club explores Portugal and Spain

The Hythe Travel Club spent 11 days traveling through Portugal and Spain during Spring Break 2019. Teacher and Travel Club leader Sandi Busch says, "After a long flight, our group toured Lisbon, Setubal, Evora, Algarve, Sagnes, Lagos, Sevilla, Gibraltar, Granada, Valencia, and finally, Barcelona. Our favourite place was Gibraltar where we saw apes. We also enjoyed the light show playing off the stalagmites at Lower St. Michael's Cave, which has tunnels made by the British during WWII. We toured palaces, churches, Henry V's naval school, and many shops and markets. It was amazing to see these places and learn about other lifestyles. We would strongly recommend visiting!"   

Peace Wapiti Academy

Teachers and students experience Greece

Twenty-four students in the PWA Travel Club and four teachers traveled through Greece during spring break. Highlights of the trip included:

  • The Temple of Zeus, Olympia
  • Archaeological Museum of Olympia
  • Archimedes' Museum
  • Temple of Apollo at Delphi
  • A three-day cruise of the islands of Samos, Patmos, Crete, and the beautiful Santorini
  • Olympic Stadium and the Acropolis in Athens

Volunteers recognized during luncheon

Ms. Houlder and the Acti-Parents group organized a luncheon on Thursday, April 11 to thank the many volunteers who have helped throughout the year. 

Ridgevalley School

Ridgevalley, Bezanson students unite for Indigenous author presentation

Author Margaret Pokiak-Fenton presented her book, Fatty Legs, to students of Ridgevalley and Bezanson Schools on April 2, sharing her experiences at a residential school in Aklavik, Northwest Territories. Her daughter-in-law, who accompanied her to the presentation, encouraged her to share her experiences in this book and others, including When I was Eight.

Savanna School

Savanna's Got Talent event set for May 21
Students at Savanna School are invited to audition for the upcoming Savanna's Got Talent Show on Tuesday, May 21 at 12:30 p.m. Auditions will take place during two Friday lunchbreaks – April 12 and May 10. Open to all students. Three staff judges – Mr. Lloyd Booth, Mrs. Anastasia Potratz and Ms. Teri Kyler – will provide performers with feedback and support. Students can choose to take feedback from their first audition and then return for the second audition date, if time is available. Rehearsals are on students' own time.

Sexsmith Secondary School

SSS Womens Basketball medals at Zones

Sexsmith Secondary's Senior Womens Sabres Basketball team took third place at Zones in Fairview, putting them in 11th position for Provincials in LaCrete on March 13-16, where one loss and two wins gave the team a ninth overall result for 2A schools. The team earned the ASAA Sportsmanship Banner for 2A Girls Basketball Provincials.

Fun times on the ice

The SSS high school outdoor living class tried ice fishing this year. Teacher Mr. Brundige summarized the experience. "We had a great day on the lake – two feet of ice, high of -3° C and light winds. Did we catch any fish? No. However, anyone experienced in ice fishing will tell you it's not all about catching fish. It's about standing for hours on a slab of ice while staring into an eight inch wide abyss with a small translucent string descending into nothingness." The students say they had "a blast" and have asked to make this an annual event. Success!

Pie a Teacher for a Purpose – Fun, laughter and whipped cream for a great cause
The SSS Interact Club hosted a "Pie a Teacher for a Purpose" fundraiser, generating $150 to purchase supplies for Rotary House. Students hurled, flung, and smashed pies, and there were reports of plenty of "glob, slide and splat" without sustaining injury. Many thanks to the participating teachers for being great sports – Miss Zarowny, Mr. Lauzon, Mr. Nagel, Mr. Watson, Mrs. Hassall, Mr. Brown and Mr. Brundige.

SSS Drama Club – One-Act Play Festival brings laughter, good times

Awards were presented to the following high school students for performances in one-act plays:

  • The Edge of Me: Taylor Matlock, gold; Tyra Meek, silver
  • The Phoenix: Emma Herbison, gold; Raelynne Shipowick, silver
  • The Game: David Petker, gold; Emily Zylstra, silver
  • The Duck that Ate Pants: Greg Wadsorth Brown, gold; Hunter Stredulinski, silver

Fourth graders experience science with senior high

Mrs. Lario's Biology 20 class came together with Miss Piercey's Grade 4 class from R.W.Z. Public School for a day of science exploration. Fourth graders were the stars of the show, creating density bottles with assistance from the high school students – a fun learning experience for all, with talks of continuing the venture in the future. "It's amazing how helpful the high school kids were despite their initial nervousness," says Mrs. Lario. 

Penguins, wallabies and hobbits – SSS Science Travel Club experiences New Zealand and Australia 

Unlike traditional travel clubs, the 45 students and five teachers who spent spring break in New Zealand and Australia completed assignments based on pre-trip course work. Students earned five science credits for their efforts. Mrs. Lario and Ms. Creighton, who have led similar science trips to Florida and Iceland, headed up the trip.

Jaxon Hiebert hits the curling big times

Grade 7 student Jaxon Hiebert competed in the Canadian Curling Under 18 Championships in Sherwood Park on April 1-7 – no small feat, given that 12-year-old Jaxon was up against boys four-to-five years his senior. He played Second on the team and received a Fair Play Award. Coach Les Sonnenberg from Bezanson School also received a Fair Play Award at the event. Jaxon was also a member of the Sexsmith Secondary Junior Mixed Team that won Zones in March.

Spirit River Regional Academy

SRRA Travel Club returns from Italy

The Spirit River Regional Academy (SRRA) Travel Club returned from Italy following spring break. The group says they had a great trip, landing in Milan and traveling through Venice, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, to the Isle of Capri. Their memories are forever etched with the sights of ancient and Renaissance architecture and art, the aromatic breezes of spice and citrus fruits, and the sounds of bartering in the busy piazzas. An opportunity of a lifetime that gave students a glimpse of what the world has to offer. Ciao!

Teepee Creek School

"Shout out" board making a difference at TCS

Students at Teepee Creek School are being recognized with a "shout out" for good deeds. The school says since creating the shout out" board, many students have been picking garbage in the playground unprompted, and are being recognized for helpful acts and kindness to others.

Recent Media Releases:

Other News:

PWPSD and its schools were featured in 22 media stories to date during the month of April 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.