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Valedictorian Message from Gateway Christian School

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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.

Alberta

Red Deer Polytechnic Means More for Students, Industry and Communities across Alberta

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Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) is highlighting its unique programs, hands-on training and applied research through a new “Polytechnic Means More” campaign. With more ways to learn and more industry connections, Red Deer Polytechnic provides its students with more opportunities to attain rewarding careers.

“Within a polytechnic model, our students receive outstanding learning experiences, focused on where industry is going, and the innovations required to get there. Through this campaign, our learners share their experiences about Red Deer Polytechnic’s impact,” says Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic.

Brett Lower, a current Bachelor of Science Nursing student and member of the Kings Volleyball team, is one of the students profiled in the campaign. When he was considering post-secondary education after graduating from Lindsay Thurber High School in Red Deer, he wanted to attend an innovative institution that offered program excellence, technology integration, experiential learning opportunities, positive connections, and a strong athletics program. That led him to Red Deer Polytechnic.

The “Polytechnic Means More” campaign also highlights how applied research benefits students. By collaborating to solve complex social, technical and business challenges with industry, community partners, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, RDP students are gaining the skills and competencies needed for their success in work and life.

“The ‘Polytechnic Means More’ campaign will be shared in a variety of ways across Alberta during the next six months. We’re excited for this opportunity to engage with people across the province as we share more about our institution’s impact,” says Richard Longtin, Vice President, External Relations.

Red Deer Polytechnic is proudly rooted in central Alberta, while making an impact across the province and around the world.

“As a polytechnic institution, we will continue to leverage our regional strengths to create a bigger and broader impact across the province, nationally and around the world. We are strongly positioned to respond to the needs of learners, industry and communities to align with the economic and social priorities of Alberta,” says Cullum.

Additional information about the “Polytechnic Means More” campaign is available online.

About Red Deer Polytechnic: This post-secondary institution’s story began in 1964, as Red Deer College. Focused on the economic and social interests of Alberta, Red Deer Polytechnic proudly serves a community of learners through a diverse and growing number of industry relevant programs across a breadth of credentials.

These credentials include degrees, diplomas, certificates, apprenticeship training, micro-credentials, camps and workshops, and more, to thousands of youth and adult learners across our region. With modern teaching and learning spaces, and state-of-the-art research and innovation centres in advanced manufacturing and energy innovation, the Polytechnic provides applied research opportunities, leadership in the social, economic and cultural development of Alberta, and myriad lifelong learning opportunities.

Red Deer Polytechnic estimates that about 6,300 full-and part-time credit, collaborative and apprenticeships students will enroll for the 2022/2023 academic year, in addition to more than 3,000 learners within Extended Education programming. Red Deer Polytechnic’s main campus is located on Treaty 7, Treaty 6 and Métis ancestral lands. This is where we will strive to honour and transform our relationships with one another.

For more information, please visit: rdpolytech.ca | twitter | facebook | instagram

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Alberta

Alberta premier defends new rules on in-person learning, no mask mandates in schools

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By Dean Bennett and Colette Derworiz

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is defending new rules ordering schools to provide in-person learning during the current wave of viral illnesses, saying a clear, measured response is crucial for students and parents.

“We need a normal school environment for our children, and we need to make sure that the classrooms stay open to be able to support our parents,” Smith said at a news conference in Medicine Hat on Friday.

“That’s why we made the decision that we did — to give that clear direction.”

Her comments came a day after she announced regulatory changes saying school boards must provide in-person learning. Schools also can’t require students to wear masks in school or be forced to take classes online.

The changes take effect immediately.

“Anyone is welcome to wear a mask if they feel that that is the right choice for them, but we should not be forcing parents to mask their kids, and we shouldn’t be denying education to kids who turn up without a mask,” Smith said.

She has said mask rules and toggling from online to in-person learning adversely affected the mental health, development and education of students during the COVID-19 pandemic and strained parents scrambling to make child-care arrangements when schools shut down.

That’s over, Smith said.

“We’re just not going to normalize these kind of extreme measures every single respiratory virus season,” she said.

School boards have been asking for more direction as a slew of seasonal respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses, along with some COVID-19 cases, have led to high classroom absentee rates and have jammed children’s hospitals.

In Edmonton, Trisha Estabrooks, board chair for Edmonton Public Schools, said the decision provided the clarity that the board was seeking.

“All Albertans now understand that it’s not within the jurisdiction, and nor should it ever have been within the jurisdiction of individual school boards, to make decisions that belong to health officials,” said Estabrooks.

She said the province has made it clear that any future public health order would supersede the new rules.

The in-person learning change applies to grades 1-12 in all school settings, including public, separate, francophone, public charter and independent schools.

The masking change applies to those same grades and schools, but also to early childhood services.

The Opposition NDP criticized the new rules, saying it’s unrealistic to force schools to be all things to all students while also handling a wave of viral illnesses and not providing additional supports to do it.

Jason Schilling, head of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said the government needs to work with school boards to figure out how to make this work.

“You have schools that are struggling to staff the building, (they) can’t get substitute teachers, teachers are sick, they’re covering each other’s classes, principals are covering the classes,” Schilling said in an interview.

“And then to say if you go online, you are to still offer the same programming in person — we just don’t have the people to do that.”

Wing Li, communications director for public education advocacy organization, Support our Students, said it will be difficult for schools to offer hybrid learning without any additional resources.

“There are no teachers,” Li said in an interview. “Pivoting online was mostly due to staffing shortages, which is worse now three years in.”

Li said online learning is challenging for students but, when temporary and supported, can keep schools and communities safe from spreading illness.

“This is a quite aggressive use of the Education Act to enshrine an ideology,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2022

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december, 2022

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