PWPSD Good News Report – April 2021


Students participate in Regional, Provincial Skills Canada Competitions

Two Peace Wapiti Academy (PWA) students placed in the virtual in-school Regional Skills Canada Competition (RSCC) held March 2-18. Congratulations to Grade 11 student Sydney Nofziger on placing first in the Baking category and Grade 12 student Gracie Maurice on placing second in the Culinary Arts category.

PSCC competition

At Beaverlodge Regional High School, Grade 12 student Quinn Best (pictured left) is competing in the PSCC event in the Photography category.

Sydney Nofziger (pictured right and bottom) and Madison Bulford (pictured top) competed in the Baking category of the Provincial Skills Canada Competition (PSCC), held virtually on April 21. The school said that the pair worked hard to present their povitica (Croatian bread) on time, and were relieved that their macarons turned out perfectly because they can be finicky. Sydney’s macrons were raspberry with mint ganache, while Madison made blueberry with mango ganache.

The PSCC Awards ceremony will be shared online on May 13 at 6:30 p.m. PSCC gold medalists form Team Alberta and will compete at the Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC).


PWPSD Indigenous Student Recognition Awards presented to seven upcoming graduates

PWPSD presented nine Indigenous Student Recognition Awards to seven upcoming graduates at three high schools. The awards were presented at the schools by Brigitte Benning, Indigenous Education Coordinator at PWPSD.   

Congratulations to four recipients of the PWPSD Post-Secondary Bursary for Indigenous Student Leadership in recognition of their commitment, contributions and leadership. The Grade 12 students received a certificate, a letter and a bursary toward their post-secondary education. 

award winners

Pictured left to right are:

  • Kaden Horseman, Beaverlodge Regional High School
  • Madison Villiger, Beaverlodge Regional High School
  • Dante Kersch, Sexsmith Secondary School, with Assistant Principal Jennifer Thompson
  • Paige Cauchie, Ridgevalley School (no photo available)

Congratulations to five recipients of the PWPSD Seven Sacred Teachings Indigenous Student Recognition Award who exemplify aspects of the teachings in their lives. The Grade 12 students received a certificate, a letter and a leather medicine pouch. 

award winners

Pictured left to right are:

  • Kaden Horseman, Beaverlodge Regional High School
  • Quinn Best, Beaverlodge Regional High School
  • Sierra Richards, Beaverlodge Regional High School
  • Jasmyn Reitberger, Sexsmith Secondary School, with Assistant Principal Jennifer Thompson
  • Paige Cauchie, Ridgevalley School (no photo available)


Andrea Rosenerger, CSLC receives Esquao Award


Congratulations to Andrea Rosenberger, a Community School Liaison Counselor (CSLC) with PWPSD, who received an Esquao Award from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women on March 25, following the initial announcement last spring.

The Institute’s website describes the award as “…one of the most prestigious events in Alberta for recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of Aboriginal women. The Awards has grown to be the single largest recognition event of Aboriginal women in the country. Over the years it has inspired Aboriginal women from all across the province to get actively involved in their own communities.”

PWA Youth Advocate receives two student awards


Congratulations to Dennis Shinski, Youth Advocate at Peace Wapiti Academy, on being named the recipient of the Hayley Gardner Memorial Fund and the Sheehan Flint Family Fund Student Award. Mr. Shinski is featured in the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta 2020 Annual Report. He is balancing his job at PWA with his studies and is currently nearing the end of his fourth year in the University of Calgary’s Bachelor of Social Work program. In a post on the Foundation’s website, he says, “Putting this money toward my tuition alleviates the extra stress of getting more student funding to pay for my education. Honestly, it has lifted my spirits that I was awarded the funding and helped boost my overall well-being.” Congratulations, Dennis!


Planning underway for modified 2021 Dave Bleile Track Meet

Teepee Creek School Principal Darren Robertson, who has been in charge of the division-wide annual Dave Bleile Track Meet since 2011, has invited PWPSD schools to create school-based competitions for this year’s event, in keeping with the current public health guidance around maintaining cohorts.

“Physical Education teachers across the division have been working hard at helping our student-athletes cope with the lack of sporting activities this school year,” says Mr. Robertson. “This competition will help keep our athletes motivated.”

Schools can choose a day to participate in track races, hurdles, long and triple jumps, high jump, field throwing events, shot put, discus, and javelin, and then record their stats in a shared Google document that will automatically sort the data by first to last place.

“Our student-athletes really enjoy this event, and after cancelling it in 2020, I wanted to find a way to safely bring it back this year,” says Mr. Robertson. “There’s a lot of pride shown as schools compete against one another for plaques which are awarded to the top schools overall in each category.”

Students from participating schools will compete in junior, intermediate and senior age groups. Results will be compiled to identify winners in both small and large school categories, creating the potential for up to six schools to win plaques.


PWPSD students place in 33rd Collins Writing Contest

Congratulations to two PWPSD students who were included among the winners of the 33rd Collins Writing Contest, hosted by the Grande Prairie Public Library. This year’s contest theme, The Bots, drew 218 submissions in five age categories.

  • Grades 7-9 – First place: Marionette by Hannah Wiens, Grade 9, Bezanson School.
  • Grades 10-12 – Third place: The Bots by Olivia Waldner, Grade 11, Beaverlodge Regional High School.


School News

Beaverlodge Elementary School

Kindergarten rainbow researchers

rainbow researchers

Linkyn Dalgleish and Everly Mcfadzen researched rainbows in Mrs. Longson’s Kindergarten class. Kindergarten registration is ongoing at Beaverlodge Elementary School.

Grade 4 Science class building devices that move

balloon car

Karsten Hanson built a balloon car to practice some of the outcomes he learned in the Grade 4 Science unit, Building Devices That Move.

Bezanson School

Special programs, events infuse joy in learning

horses and community clean-up

The following article was submitted by Coleman Parlee, Grade 9 Leadership Class.

We are excited to have eight students participating in the Therapeutic Riding program at PARDS this spring. Therapeutic riding benefits students by increasing their balance and muscle strength, as well as improving their self-confidence and developing patience, among many other benefits. We are thankful to the County of Grande Prairie for the grant which helps make this program possible for our students.

We are collecting boxes of cereal for the Sexsmith Food Bank. The school has high hopes of collecting enough to create a domino line all the way through the school, from the Grade 9 classroom to the Grade 1 classroom.

In celebration of Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, students participated in a community clean-up earlier in the week.

We are looking forward to the Bezanson's Got Talent event in May. Students are preparing their acts and artwork which they will submit via video or photo. Submissions will be compiled into a video that students will watch in their classrooms.

Bonanza School

Enthusiasm for Earth Day, new keyboards

keyboards and community clean-up

On Earth Day, students wore green, blue, and brown and enthusiastically cleaned up the school property.

Students in music are thrilled to use the new classroom set of mini keyboards. The school says Grade 1-6 students have really enjoyed practicing on their own individual instrument.


Makey Makey

making digital keyboards

Grade 3-6 students made their own pianos by creatively using materials found in the school’s Maker Space, and with the help of ‘Makey Makeys’ – invention kits designed to connect everyday objects to computer keys using a circuit board, alligator clips and a USB cable to create closed loop electrical signals.


Helen E. Taylor School

The Wellerman sea shanty wins HET Tournament of Music

tournament of music

“Leading up to spring break, our fabulous Fine Arts teacher, Mrs. Johnson had us all participating in a Tournament of Music,” says HET Teacher DawnMarie Westad.

“Each staff member chose a favourite song, and each morning two songs were played over the intercom. As the school voted, the tournament draw narrowed. The finals included The Wellerman chosen by Mrs. Eifert and Shotgun chosen by Mr. Laberge. The Wellerman rose victorious after a little April Fools’ Day joke was played on Mr. Laberge.

“Mrs. Johnson spent her break writing the arrangements for The Wellerman using Orff instruments. Volunteers were enlisted, drums were built, practices were held, and we are proud to share
a video of the HET Knights version of The Wellerman.”

Hythe Regional School

Fairy Tale Day blends cross-curricular learning and fun for Grade 4 students

fairy tale day

As a wrap-up of their novel, ‘The Sisters Grimm Fairy Tale Detectives’ Grade 4 students at Hythe Regional School participated in a Fairy Tale Day. Students dressed as their favourite characters, wrote about magic, and did math problem-solving based on the story, ‘The Three Little Pigs’. They also teamed up as Grimm detectives, using their reading comprehension skills to solve fairy tale crimes.

Teacher Trina Harris says, “Together, they made sure to question and infer in order to eliminate suspects and identify the culprits. Of course, there also needed to be an Easter egg hunt and a few April Fools jokes too. We’re having so much fun in Grade 4!”


Ducklings teach needs of living things to Grade 1 class


Mrs. Godel's Grade 1 students enjoyed watching and learning during the incubation and hatching of 14 ducklings as part of their science unit on the needs of living things.

La Glace School

Students await new arrivals, art installation

ducklings and ceiling tiles

La Glace ECS students are patiently waiting for the arrival of their little chicks which should be hatching within the next month. Earlier in April, classroom teacher Mrs. Moe and a parent helper set up the incubator with the fertilized eggs.

A group of Junior High students completed ceiling tile artwork projects and are looking forward to their installation for others to enjoy.

Peace Wapiti Academy

PWA students prioritize careers, citizenship and the outdoors

high school activities

In March, Mrs. Konno's Job Prep class (top left) went off campus to experience the construction industry, touring HighMark Homes’ sites in Grande Prairie.

Congratulations to Keyton Murray (top right) on successfully completing his first year of 4th Class Power Engineering. He is working on the trade while completing high school through the PWA Connect Dual Credit Program partnership with Northern Lakes College.

Mr. Vavrek's Outdoor Education class (bottom left and middle) enjoyed a beautiful day of taking in some much-needed sunshine on the cross country skiing trails at Wapiti Nordic near the end of March.

Grade 9E students (bottom right) say, “Democracy is awesome.” Near the end of March, the class hosted MP Chris Warkentin virtually to learn about the roles of a Member of Parliament. Prior to the meeting, the class studied and researched the branches and levels of government, shadow ministers, and bills.


Robert W. Zahara Public School

Sadie the Golden Retriever a friend and comfort for Grade 1 students

golden retriever

Sadie, a four-year-old Golden Retriever and a registered Pet Partners therapy dog, is an important member of the Grade 1C classroom community at Robert W. Zahara Public School.

Teacher Kianna Lindsay says Sadie can generally be found hanging out on her bean bag.

“As everyone arrives and gets settled, the goal is to create an opportunity for students to build community. Sadie plays an important role in achieving this.”

Many parents report hearing all about Sadie, with some saying she is the reason their child is excited about going to school.

“The children greet Sadie with enthusiasm,” adds Ms. Lindsay. “Some read to her, while others grab paper to write her letters and draw her pictures. She also serves as a cuddle buddy for children who may be having a rough day, a reading partner, and a calming presence. She helps them learn about empathy, community, and kindness, and provides a reason for them to love school, learning, and reading. As they leave at the end of the day, many of the children can be heard saying, “See you tomorrow, Sadie!””


Twins are twice the fun at RWZ


Tuesday, April 20 was National Look-Alike Day. RWZ Assistant Principal Stacy Rorem says, “While we had lots of fun dressing as each other or someone we admire, it made us wonder, how many sets of real twins attend RWZ?”

Students guessed the number as part of the school’s Tuesday Trivia event, but no one came close.

“We have an amazing 12 sets of twins at RWZ! They are each their own person and we are happy to have them at our school.”


RWZ ‘Domino Food Drive’ delivers

food drive domino

Inspired by social action on social media, the Grade 5B class organized a Domino Food Drive to support the Sexsmith and Area Food Bank, resulting in an incredible 1,978 items. The Grade 1A class was named winner of the challenge and awarded two sets of dominoes for bringing in 421 items.

“We were blown away by everyone’s generosity, and the kids and staff enjoyed watching the video created by Mrs. James of the food domino down the hallway," says Assistant Principal Stacy Rorem. 


Spirit River Regional Academy

Earth Day at SRRA

Earth Day bird feeders

Students at Spirit River Regional Academy dressed like farmers in celebration of Earth Day on April 22. There are well-fed birds in Spirit River after Kindergarten to Grade 3 students built bird feeders out of toilet paper rolls and covered them with syrup, jam or cheese spread, and bird seed.


Wembley Elementary School

WES students featured in music video

students in a music video

Miss Waldron's Grade 1 class made a recent cameo in a
music video. The students teamed up with Juno Award-winning Alberta artist, Celeigh Cardinal (left) for her cover of the song, Ahead By A Century. The students are seen at the 2:20 point in the video (right).

Upcoming events

  • Administrative Professionals’ Day: Wednesday, April 28

  • National Day of Mourning: Wednesday, April 28

  • Deadline for parents/guardians to submit the Alberta Education Assurance Survey: Wednesday, April 28

  • Upcoming Board Meetings: 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 29, May 27 and June 17.

  • School Principals’ Day: Saturday, May 1

  • School Bus Driver Appreciation Day: Monday, May 3

  • Mental Health Week: May 3-9

  • Happy Mother’s Day: Sunday, May 9

  • Victoria Day: Monday, May 24. No school. PWPSD offices and shops will be closed.

  • High School Graduation Ceremonies: Planning is underway but may evolve based on current public health guidance. More information coming soon. 

    • Beaverlodge Regional High School: Friday, May 28
    • Sexsmith Secondary School: Friday, May 28
    • Ridgevalley School: Saturday, May 29
    • Spirit River Regional Academy: Friday, June 4
    • Peace Wapiti Academy: Saturday, June 12
    • Savanna School: Saturday, July 3 (tentative)
    • Eaglesham School: TBA
    • Alternative Education: TBA

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