ERS receives $1,000 in Majesta Trees of Knowledge competition

School board: apprenticeship students awarded $20,000.

The North Okanagan – Shuswap school board extended congratulations on May 14 to the 20 grads who were recently awarded $1,000 Secondary Student Apprenticeship scholarships.

Superintendent Dave Witt commented that proportionate to the number of students province-wide, only four students in School District #83 should have received scholarships.

“The 20 scholarship winners are a testament to the fine work of our students, staff, career co-ordinators and our district career co-ordinator who promote this option and support the students in the program.”

The board also congratulated Eagle River, which has so far won $1,000 in a green competition through Majesta and are still in the running for further awards.



Outdoor ed

One of the challenges in a smaller high school is to be able to offer students unique options for personalized learning that engages the students. Eagle River Secondary School teachers Curtis Bellows and Rory Taber have tapped into their own passion for the outdoors and are taking their students on “backcountry travels” to achieve just that.

At the May 14 meeting of the North Okanagan-Shuswap school board, Eagle River principal Scott Anderson explained to trustees that by making some changes to the school’s master timetable, the school was able to offer Backcountry Travels, also referred to as Outdoor Education. Currently 28 students in grades nine to 12 are taking the course.

Bellows and Taber talked about how the course involves both classroom work (usually two afternoons a week) as well as activities outside of the school (usually two afternoons a week, as well as some weekends). The course helps students gain outdoor skills such as rope work, knot-tying, backpacking, wildlife awareness, environmental stewardship, compass use, and understanding and using maps, as well as providing activities such as biking, hiking, an overnight backpacking trip, paintball and dragonboat paddling. During the course students also have the opportunity to achieve certification, in courses such as basic first aid and swift-water rescue. The big trip of the course will be a four-day, three-night hiking trip to Mount Robson.

Anderson said one challenge is the cost of offering the course, especially transportation costs. It was noted that if the activity is within the Sicamous area the students in the program usually bicycle to it. If it is outside the region, they have had to pay for a mini bus.

There is a $50 fee to take the course and sometimes some additional fees for activities. The program has also held a car wash to raise money. However, said Anderson, the school is going to have to come up with a fundraising plan to make the outdoor education program sustainable.

After the presentation, director of instruction Wendy Woodhurst commented that two years ago, she and a group of Eagle River teachers went to the Kootenays to see personalized learning programs in smaller high schools.

“What you guys have done for students at Eagle River has been fantastic. It’s a great place to learn and to be.”

Chair Bobbi Johnson thanked the group for their presentation, stating the activities and skills being taught will be things students can do and enjoy throughout their lives.



SSA scholarships

Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA) scholarship winners, current students and employers were honoured at a recognition ceremony recently at Table 24 Restaurant in Salmon Arm.

A total of 20 local graduated SSA students were awarded secondary school apprenticeship scholarships valued at $1,000 each. This is well over the provincial average. In order to win these scholarships, students successfully completed their four secondary school apprenticeship courses, graduated with a C+ average on all Grade 12 numbered courses, and continued working on training full-time in the trade five months after secondary school graduation or have 1,100 hours registered with the Industry Training Authority (ITA).

Current SSA students and the employers who sponsor the students were also recognized and thanked at the reception.

On hand to help present the scholarships was Larry Espe, superintendant of trades and transitions from the Ministry of Education. Awarded scholarships were: Amanda Dunbar, Pleasant Valley Secondary (cosmetology); Jared Jontz, PVSS (carpentry); David Gau, Salmon Arm Secondary (Carpentry); Nicholas Harrison, SAS (carpentry); Kashtin Mair, SAS (carpentry); Jordan Carmichael, SAS (welding); Caleb LeComte, SAS (professional cook); Jared McLean, SAS (carpentry); Andrew Veerman, SAS (professional cook); Maitland Furneaux, SAS (carpentry); Joel Castle, AL Fortune Secondary (machining); Melissa Drydyk, ALF (dairy production technology); Colton DeBoer, ALF (heavy duty equipment technology); Kelson Turner, ALF (heavy equipment operator); Danielle Blades, ALF (dairy production Technology); Jonathan Eberle, Eagle River Secondary (bricklayer/mason); Joseph Reid, ERS (carpentry); Cole Marchtaler, ERS (automotive service technology); Christopher Gagel, ERS (professional cook); Kristin Sherlock, ERS (professional cook).

Secondary School Apprenticeships is a career program that provides students over the age of 15 with the opportunity to begin an apprenticeship while still in high school, and to earn high school credits for doing so.