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Wembley Elementary School
News Item

Local fire departments named Friends of Education, Edwin Parr Teacher Award nominee honoured at regional ASBA Awards luncheon

September 12, 2019

​Six volunteer and municipal fire departments received a Friends of Education Award, presented by Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) during a special luncheon yesterday, part of the annual Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) Zone 1 meeting in Peace River. The award provides an opportunity for each Zone 1 school division to acknowledge a local organization. Savanna School teacher Anastasia Potratz was among the Edwin Parr Teacher Award nominees also honoured by each Zone 1 school division, recognizing their outstanding first year of teaching. 

2019 Friends of Education Award


Trustee Stefanie Clarke (holding certificate) was joined by Trustees Wendy Kelm (left) and Dana McIntosh (second from left) to present the Friends of Education Award to representatives from five volunteer and municipal fire departments. Pictured back, left-right: Brian Kroes, Manager/Fire Chief, Central Peace Fire and Rescue Commission; Tom Morgan, Fire Chief, Birch Hills County; Brian Ballard, Director of Community and Protective Services, Saddle Hills County; Ken Atamanchuk (holding certificate), Fire Marshall, County of Grande Prairie Regional Fire Service; and Dan Verdun, Fire Chief, County of Grande Prairie Regional Fire Service. Missing from photo: Trevor Grant, City of Grande Prairie Fire Chief and Riley Hillis, Grovedale Deputy Fire Chief, M.D. of Greenview.


PWPSD Trustee Stefanie Clarke presented the Friends of Education Award to representatives from the Birch Hills County Fire Services, Central Peace Fire and Rescue Commission, County of Grande Prairie Regional Fire Service and the Saddle Hills County Regional Fire and Disaster Services. Members of the M.D. of Greenview Protective Services Department and the City of Grande Prairie Fire Department were unable to attend the event.

"PWPSD is immensely grateful to all the dedicated firefighters who serve our communities," said Ms. Clarke.

In her speech, she expanded on how fire departments use fire protection, safety services and education to build relationships at PWPSD schools.

The 'Fire Chief for a Day' draw, a highlight for students, recognizes winning fire escape plans developed by students with their families. Departments also conduct school presentations during Fire Prevention Week, provide fire station and fire truck tours, and demonstrate fire extinguisher usage in Foods classes. Firefighters form connections with students by reading to classes during Literacy Week, compete in student-firefighter basketball and floor hockey games, and act a cooks at meet-the-teacher barbecues and school pancake breakfasts. As first responders, they participate in 'Trauma Drama' education events to impart the dangers of impaired driving. The Firefighter Cadets Program offers certification to students that doubles as credit toward a high school diploma, opening the door for additional training and certification after graduation. Local departments are also instrumental in training and evaluating high school students registered in the Alberta Education Fire Department course.

2019 PWPSD Edwin Parr Teacher Award


Savanna School Co-Principal Chris Young (left) presented PWPSD's 2019 Edwin Parr Teacher Award to Anastasia Potratz.


Savanna School Co-Principal Chris Young was on hand to present an Edwin Parr Teacher Award to PWPSD nominee Anastasia Potratz.

In his nomination letter to the awards committee in April, Savanna School Co-Principal Chris Young called Ms. Potratz's professionalism and competency "shining examples of what a teacher should strive for in their role." 

Describing her as a pillar of strength within the school, he commended her ability to meet the differentiated needs of her class during her first year of teaching. In his speech, he noted her passion for teaching that led her to leave her three-year post as educational assistant with PWPSD to pursue a Bachelor of Education degree while battling cancer. "Her determination is nothing short of inspirational."

Photos courtesy of Holy Family Catholic Regional Division.


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