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Alexa Swenson honoured as 2021 LTCHS Valedictorian

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LTCHS valedictorian reflects on her high school career

Setting a goal to achieve well academically has landed Alexa Swenson a top honour as she gets ready to walk across the graduation stage.

Alexa has been named the valedictorian for the Class of 2021 at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School.

“I was so surprised when I learned I was this year’s valedictorian! Mr. Good called my mom ahead of time and came to my doorstep with balloons. It was awesome,” she said. “It’s really a great acknowledgement of my achievements.”

Graduation ceremonies for Lindsay Thurber will take place on June 25 at Bower Ponds.

Finishing high school during a global pandemic was no easy feat, and Alexa said her class was hopeful that their Grade 12 year would have been more like a normal year.

“As the year went on it became obvious that we probably wouldn’t get all of our grad events – we had lots planned and then canceled,” she said. “Motivation was the hardest factor. It’s been really hard to go from in-person to online over and over again because you’re learning strategies have to shift. It’s about being self disciplined and making sure you are doing the work because it’s really easy to fall behind if you’re at home.”

Alexa credits a strong support system for helping her achieve her goals.

“My family is awesome and I have two younger siblings who have also been doing online school in our house as well. We check in with each other and make sure everything is going okay,” she said. “My friends were great as well. Each of my classes had a group chat where we could talk and make sure we all knew what was going on and discuss any questions we had with each other.”

Reflecting on her Grade 12 year, Alexa said one of the highlights was taking part in the activities in her Outdoor Ed class.

“One of the best parts was being given the opportunity to go on some trips,” she said. “We were able to go skiing a couple times and we just did a mountain bike trip. We were able to really bond as a class by going on these trips together.”

Looking ahead, next year Alexa will be making the leap to the University of Victoria to complete her Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

“I’d like to go into healthcare, maybe in rehabilitation as an Occupational Therapist or a Speech Pathologist,” she said. “I love being around people and last year I volunteered with Healing Through the Arts at our school. We would do art as rehabilitation for people who had a stroke or people who had an amputation. I thought it was really fulfilling and I enjoyed getting to know everyone involved.”

Chris Good, Principal at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, said they are proud to have Alexa represent the class of 2021 as valedictorian.

“Alexa is a great student whose hard work has paid off with excellent academic achievement all four years she has been at Lindsay Thurber,” he said. “Alexa is not only a great student but a great person. She is kind to everyone, participates and leads school activities and has been a member of the volleyball team. Alexa goes out of her way to make other students feel welcome and included, she represents the resilience and kindness of our 2021 grad class and embodies what it means to be a Lindsay Thurber Raider.”

Alberta

Post-secondary schools must report on free speech efforts on campus, minister says

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Edmonton – The Alberta government says it will require post-secondary institutions to report annually on their efforts to protect free speech on campus.

A news release from the Department of Advanced Education does not detail exactly what must be included in these reports, or say what the consequences would be if the requirements are not met.

Minister Demetrios Nicolaides signalled changes were coming earlier this week after the University of Lethbridge reversed its decision to host a speech by a former Mount Royal University professor whose comments on residential schools have drawn fierce criticism.

Frances Widdowson was fired from Mount Royal in late 2021 after she spoke of the educational benefits of residential schools while questioning whether abuses at the institutions amounted to cultural genocide.

Widdowson’s campus speech this week was to centre on concerns that a mob mentality and “woke policies” increasingly threaten academic freedom.

The Alberta government says the latest move builds on its earlier work in 2019, when it required all 26 publicly funded post-secondary institutions in Alberta to either endorse the Chicago Principles on free expression, or develop a policy consistent with them.

“It is abundantly clear that more needs to be done to ensure our institutions are adequately protecting free speech,” Nicolaides said in a written statement Friday.

Alberta’s post-secondary institutions should be bastions of free speech and academic freedom that promote critical thinking. I will continue to explore greater steps we can take to strengthen free speech on campus.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2023.

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Education

Annual Education Results released by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools

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From Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools

Board Meeting Highlights

Annual Education Results Report:

The Associate Superintendent of Curriculum presented the 2021-2022 Annual Education Results Report to the Board of Trustees. RDCRS recognizes that the strong results from the 2021/2022 school year are a result of our staff’s significant efforts. Our students’ school day begins with the friendly greeting of a bus
driver and continues late into the evening with our staff coaching practices and games, directing a play or musical, or leading youth ministry events. It is this collective teamwork for all our students that makes RDCRS an extraordinary place, and RDCRS has seen this in the feedback from our staff, students, and
parents. RDCRS would like to sincerely thank everyone for their tireless efforts on behalf of our students and their families.

The Board of Trustees approved the Annual Education Results Report for the 2021-2022 school year, as presented. To view the Annual Education Results Report, please click here.

Middle School Program Change Proposal:

The Associate Superintendent of Inclusive Learning presented the Program Change Proposal: Moving Foundations and Blended Programs from St. Francis of Assisi Middle School to St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School Report to the Board of Trustees. The proposal outlined a relocation of the Foundations and Blended programs from St. Francis of Assisi Middle School to St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School.

The purpose of the relocation is to maximize programming space which will result in optimal learning opportunities for RDCRS students. Another key factor in the relocation is the current high student enrollment at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School as a result of our grandfathering guidelines.

The Board of Trustees approved moving forward with the relocation of the Foundations and Blended Programming at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School to St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School, effective for the 2023-2024 school year.

Preparation to Open St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School Report:

The Superintendent shared with the Board of Trustees the Preparation to Open St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School Report and provided an update of the progress to date. As RDCRS continues to prepare for the Division’s new middle school, the Superintendent informed the Board of Trustees that a core team of
educators, transportation department representatives and senior leadership personnel have been assembled to start preparations for St. Lorenzo Ruiz. This team will be undergoing extensive work over the next six months as communication with RDCRS stakeholders is pivotal. The core team met on January 18 and will continue to meet regularly for ongoing discussion, collaboration and preparation.

The Superintendent also highlighted transportation and grandfathering guidelines that are currently in effect for the Division. To view the full Preparation to Open St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School Report, please click here.

The next Board Meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 5:30 p.m.

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