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Jessica Snyder honoured as 2021 Gateway Christian School Valedictorian

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Gateway Valedictorian to become a teacher to make a difference

Following in her mother’s footsteps after seeing the difference she has made in the lives of students is Jessica Snyder’s goal in becoming a teacher after she graduates from Gateway Christian School this month.

Jessica has been named the Gateway’s valedictorian this year. Graduation ceremonies will take place June 29 at Canyon Ski Resort.

“I was so excited to learn I was named valedictorian. I was so happy!” said Jessica. “It’s such a huge honour that I get to address my class and congratulate them.”

She added being named valedictorian has been a goal of hers since middle school.

“It took a lot of hard work and I had to be very dedicated to my work. It took a lot of strength especially through COVID,” said Jessica. “My family and friends really helped me to keep going and keep learning. It’s all a learning experience, so that was a motivator to me – the more I devoted myself to my work, the more I learned.”

Completing high school in a global pandemic has presented a number of challenges, but Jessica didn’t let that stop her from achieving her goals.

“It has been hard. The biggest thing that has helped me this year has been the support of my family and the Lord too – just praying for the strength to get through it and find the best path for me and my family to navigate this,” she said. “Having that steady anchor of my family and the Lord has definitely helped me keep committed and keep going.”

Looking back at her time in school, Jessica said there were many highlights, but it’s the small moments that stand out to her the most.

“Most people like to remember the big things that happen like school trips, which were so much fun. But I think the real moments where I bonded with my class were the small moments like sitting and playing Uno at lunch, and if it’s a hot day outside, we go and play at the park. It’s those small moments which meant the most to me.”

As for her future, Jessica will attend Red Deer College next year as she has been accepted to the Bachelor of Education program.

“I am going to go with the secondary route, which means I will be teaching in the higher grades,” she said. “My mom is a teacher, so I have taken after that just seeing the impact she has had on students’ lives. Growing up in a family with a teacher has definitely helped shape my life, so I think it would be great for me to follow in her path and make it my own.”

Jessica added she is excited to address her fellow classmates during graduation.

“Over the past couple of years we’ve had to show a steadfast character – being loyal and committed, devoted and dedicated whether that’s with our relationships or working towards finding a job,” she said. “I want to encourage my class to keep going with that because it helps us get to great goals like achieving our graduation.”

Chris Kooman, Vice Principal at Gateway Christian School, said he is extremely proud of Jessica.

“Jessica is a hard working student with attention to detail and a love of learning. She takes her studies seriously, working diligently to excel in every area,” he said. “She cares about her classmates, is fun and energetic, and works on relationships as much as her studies. Jessica’s willingness to help others, improve herself, and constantly improve are qualities that will take her far in life!”

Community

We’ve got THOUSANDS of reasons to SMILE!

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It took us a while to count ALL the money raised from the Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Campaign…and it’s very impressive!

Today, we celebrated the presentation of two cheques – one from the 2020 Smile Cookie campaign, and one from this year’s campaign. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to hold last year’s cheque presentation.

Over the last two years, Red Deerians ate 74,650 cookies, which means $35,979 was raised in 2020 and $38,671 was raised in 2021 to help struggling readers become readers of potential through Reading College, a project of the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools.

Reading College, held in the month of July, provides students who already have reading gaps, an amazing summer experience that will not only develop their reading skills but more importantly, their interest and motivation in reading. Students leave the program with increased reading and writing abilities, and a solid foundation for future success in school and life.

“The Smile Cookie Campaign is a great opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of literacy, it really does create life chances for students. Reading College is made possible through great support from our community and Tim Hortons – we could not operate it without this support,” said Kristine Plastow, Foundation Board Chair. “We are so grateful to the community for buying Smile Cookies and supporting this fantastic program.”

From September 13 – 19, Tim Hortons restaurant owners in Red Deer generously donated all proceeds from sales of a special smiling chocolate chunk cookie to support the Reading College program through The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools. The $1 treat helps community programs across Canada in the cities where they are sold.

“On behalf of all restaurant owners and team members in Red Deer, I would like to thank our loyal guests for their generosity and support of the Smile Cookie campaign,” said Tanya Doucette, Tim Hortons Restaurant Owner in Red Deer. “Tim Hortons is thrilled to support The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools and Reading College with the funds raised and bring smiles to so many people’s faces.”

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Alberta

The King’s University receives $20-million donation for new state-of-the-art Science Centre

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Construction of a new 40,000 square foot Centre for Excellence in the Sciences at The King’s University will move forward thanks to a gift of $20-million from an anonymous donor. The landmark donation, the largest gift in King’s 42-year history, allows the institution to build on its strong academic reputation in the natural, health and social sciences.

The Centre will include beautiful common spaces, purpose-built teaching facilities, leading technology and laboratories that enable the university to further place student research at the heart of its academic programming.

“I have always been proud of our legacy of research and education,” King’s President Dr. Melanie Humphreys says. “It’s really quite impressive—especially for a university of our size. This incredible, humbling gift is going to propel these programs forward in a significant way and provide new opportunities to branch out into the health sciences.”

Student-faculty research teams at The King’s University are currently involved in projects such as antibiotic resistance, animal-assisted therapy in mental health, endangered trees in Canada’s mountains and foothills, and diseases that devastate honeybee populations. King’s Community Engaged Research program collaborates with local non-profits to help provide data-driven solutions for their organizations.

The Centre for Excellence in the Sciences will be a hub for sustainability research. With a newly granted Transitions to Sustainability Canada Research Chair, the Centre will enhance support and coordination for sustainability work happening across disciplines and at King’s Centre for Visualization in Science (KCVS).

KCVS alone has partnered with more than 40 organizations worldwide, such as UNESCO, and has contributed important resources to three United Nations International Years: Chemistry (2011), Periodic Table (2019), and the upcoming International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (2022–23). Another KCVS resource contributed to the education and outreach work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.

“Building a more humane, just and sustainable world is right there in our vision statement,” says Dr. Peter Mahaffy, professor of chemistry and co-founder of KCVS. “These words continue to move off the page of aspirational statements to shape and ground what happens here each day.”

ABOUT KING’S
The King’s University has been building a more humane, just and sustainable world for more than 40 years. King’s offers fully accredited programs in the humanities, sciences, business, and education, and ranks at the top of national surveys for quality of teaching, sense of belonging, and intellectual engagement. Award-winning faculty mentor students in their studies and publish leading research in their fields. As Edmonton’s Christian University, King’s empowers graduates to bring renewal to every walk of life.

 

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