The Board of Trustees of Red Deer Public Schools reaffirms its unequivocal support and commitment to LGBTQ+ students, staff and families.
Last month the Board voted against having a Division-wide Pride Week and voted in favour of having a Diversity Week understanding we are “Open to All”, recognizing our Division must be respectful and supportive of each diverse group and individual. The decision arrived at by the Board on Diversity Week is now in the hands of the Superintendent of Schools to move forward on implementation, working closely with our schools and the community to make this valued and meaningful.
Since then, the Board has received and appreciated many and a wide range of comments and opinions on the decisions. The decisions have also been part of discussions at School Council and City Wide School Council meetings.
During the Board’s meeting March 10, Trustees and Senior Administration heard four presentations from individuals requesting to share perspectives. As provided within policy, the Board chose to hear those presentations during its private meeting.
Following those presentations and discussion among Trustees, the Board reaffirmed its commitment to have a Diversity Week. The Board will not reconsider its decision on Pride Week.
Following their deliberations, all Trustees support the following motion to review the Board’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Policy, which has already received strong endorsement from champions of the LGBTQ+ community:
● The Board of Trustees directs the Superintendent of Schools to undertake a review of Board Policy 19 – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and report to the Board.
Throughout all deliberations on these motions, Trustees, both individually and collectively showed genuine care, understanding and full support for LGBTQ+ students, staff and community. The Board of Trustees fully expects that our schools are safe and respected places for all students and staff. We recognize the true challenges faced by the LBGTQ+ community and that Red Deer Public must continue to prioritize this work.
Included within the current SOGI Policy is the provision for schools to have events and activities to support members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. This already includes the ability for schools to host Pride weeks and events. Some schools, in response to this opportunity, are undertaking plans to do so this year.
The Board’s intention in approving the review of an already strong policy is to ensure the policy is highly responsive to the challenges and opportunities of the LGBTQ+ community within school communities.
Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics refreshes brand for 2022/2023 season
Updated logo honours the past and embraces the future
The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings and Queens will have a familiar, but modern look as they enter the 2022/2023 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) season. Feedback from two virtual Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics Engagement Sessions, along with responses from a public online survey during Winter 2022 Term were used to help shape the creation of the updated logo, which remains a Crown.
“Our student-athletes, coaches, donors, sponsors, alumni, Athletics stakeholders, and central Albertans expressed their affinity for the Kings and Queens to continue wearing the Crown as a way of honouring the legacy of excellence within Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics,” says Jim Brinkhurst, Interim President, Red Deer Polytechnic. “With a history of 25 national titles and 182 ACAC gold medals from individual student-athletes and teams, Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics has cemented itself as a premier program in the ACAC and across the nation, and the Crown has become an identifiable symbol of that success.”
Over the years, the brands of the institution and Athletics have been updated, including different logos and colour schemes.
“The new Red Deer Polytechnic brand was unveiled on October 1, 2021, and this included a new logo,” says Kristine Plastow, Dean of Students. “As a result of the changes, the brands of the Polytechnic and Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics were not aligned, so we engaged with stakeholders to better connect the two. With the bold and modern features of the updated Crown, along with the single green colour, the relationship between the two brands is now strongly correlated.”
The refreshed Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics brand will be visible on campus and on new uniforms when the Kings and Queens compete in the 2022/2023 season.
“We are very excited for the 15 Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics teams to proudly showcase the modern visual identity this year, as they train, compete and volunteer in the community,” says Randy Stewart, Manager, Athletics and Student Life. “The Kings and Queens will have a unique and recognizable look as they continually strive for excellence in all facets of being a student-athlete at Red Deer Polytechnic. We are very proud of our student-athletes, and we can’t wait for the new season to begin in front of our donors, supporters, alumni, and fans in central Alberta.”
Valedictorian Message from Gateway Christian School
Gateway Valedictorian thankful for close knit school community
Having grown up in the Gateway Christian School community since Kindergarten, Caleb Marquart, has been named Valedictorian for the Class of 2022.
“It’s an honour to be named Valedictorian,” he said, adding the recognition is a testament to his hard work and dedication over his high school career. “It’s always been a goal of mine to do the best that I can.”
As Caleb looks back on his high school career, there are many moments he will remember.
“Some of the highlights for me were some of the events that we had at Gateway. When I was in Grade 9 we had Chill Fest and the Student Council planned a 12 hour event – that was the first real moment in high school when I realized the community at Gateway is very special,” he said. “We also do worship together as a school, and we have an opportunity to collaborate with younger students through the Buddy Program, which is really cool.”
He added the Buddy Program is a mentorship program within Gateway and includes students in older and younger grades being paired up and spending time together. This year, Grade 12 students were paired up with students in Grade 5. “Having that buddy experience and being able to connect and be a mentor for them is really great and definitely a highlight,” he said. “Having a buddy gives you perspective of what it is like to go through school and just connect with them. It’s not stressful and you can just share your experiences.”
Something unique to Gateway high school students is that they attend Gateway for their core classes, and Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School for their options. They are fondly known as ‘Gurber’ students. For Caleb, this has been a great experience.
“I like the fact of being at a bigger school like Thurber because there are a lot of opportunities with options and sports,” he said. “But then I also enjoy the smaller community that Gateway offers. It is a perfect balance.”
As for his speech to his classmates on graduation day, Caleb said he plans to talk about the value of the community that Gateway offers. “Every person in my graduating class has really contributed to that experience,” he said. “When you’re in a bigger school there is a chance that you are graduating with people that you may not really know. I’ve had the opportunity to have a full conversation with every single one of my classmates. I want to highlight that relationship between us in the Gateway community.”
This fall, Caleb will head to Red Deer Polytechnic in the Bachelor of Engineering program. He will eventually transfer to the University of Alberta.
Geannette Lehman, Principal at Gateway Christian School, said Caleb’s honour is well deserved.
“Caleb is a caring and compassionate young man, who is well respected among his classmates and peers. He has a natural ability to make others feel accepted, and is conscientious to not leave others out,” she said. “Caleb’s diligent work ethic and humble demeanor make him a worthy recipient of the honour of being Gateway’s 2022 Valedictorian! We are incredibly proud of Caleb and wish him all the best!”
Gateway will hold their graduation ceremonies on June 28 at New Life Fellowship Christian Reformed Church.
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