Olivia Abram: Back on her Home Court!

Olivia Abram: Back on her Home Court!

The Wolves Volleyball Camp that took place this last week was a huge success. With over 30 kids participating, the gym was abuzz with activity. We caught up with coach, alumnus Olivia Abram who amassed 653 digs in her two seasons as libero with the Wolves from 2012-14.

Here’s what she had to say;

GPRC Alumnus, Olivia Abram.

What are you doing since you graduated?

I’m teaching Junior and Senior High English Language Arts with the Edmonton Public School District and have coached the Jasper, Sylvan Lake, and Harry Ainlay Volleyball Camps this summer.

What was the highlight of your College playing career?

In 2014, we earned silver medals at both ACAC Championships at home, and CCAA Championships in Toronto. We came together as a team and it was exciting to see how we matched up against teams from all over the country.

What’s the most special memory you have from your time with the Wolves?

Going to Cuba with the team was an incredible experience. All of my most important memories have to do with building relationships with my teammates and coaches – they’ve made me who I am.

Any funny memories?

So many! Ron Thomson booting the ball out of a player’s hands; Ron screaming at the top of his lungs in a pitch you’d expect from a teenage girl after a player attacked the ball out of the court, and of course Larry’s announcing and howling at the beginning of every home game.

Is there a favourite coach saying you use as a guide when you’re coaching, and have you used it your coaching style?

Ron often said to me “don’t do too much”. I think this is very important for the hyper active overzealous athlete who wants to be perfect. Focus on one thing at a time, then move on a tend to your own “garden”. Jeff Smith focused on “we before me” which is another saying I like to use to this day with my teams. Selflessness is important if a team is to be successful. I will always strive to challenge and push my athletes to stretch themselves the way Ron did to me. He always explained the reasoning behind technical feedback and that is something I pride myself in, as well. His passion and energy that I mirror have also helped with my motivating of athletes.

As a coach, how would you coach the younger you?

I would focus on energy and emotional control. I lost my focus a lot because of frustration and expectations I put on myself. I don’t think mental training, like the training we did with Matt Bain in college can ever be taught too soon.

From the Road to the Classroom: GPRC Instructors Share their Experiences with Professional Leave

From the Road to the Classroom: GPRC Instructors Share their Experiences with Professional Leave

Two GPRC instructors shared their Professional Leave experiences with staff and faculty on Friday. Business Administration instructor Cibylla Rakestraw and Electrical instructor Charles Sanderson have both returned from twelve months of sabbatical leave, time that was mostly dedicated to research, travel, and rejuvenation.

Business Administration instructor Cibylla Rakestraw and Electrical instructor Charles Sanderson spoke at GPRC on Friday on their research done during their Professional Leaves last year.

Sanderson’s leave was spent researching solar power optimization. He has been interested in the topic ever since he began working with Dr. Weixing Tan on his Pollutants to Products research initiative more than a decade ago. “The whole premise of my sabbatical was to see if we could do this research [carbon capture with microalgae]—all the pumps, the refrigeration, the computer work—using solar energy, so that we were carbon neutral in our research for GPRC,” he explained. “The sun gives us about 1000 watts per square metre, but our best solar panels are only about 18–22 per cent efficient. So if we could harness the thermal energy for all of our heating loads, that may be more efficient.”

GPRC Electrical instructor Charles Sanderson presenting his research.

According to Sanderson, training electricians in today’s world may mean preparing them for a career in solar energy. “Because of this economy, we’re seeing some individuals who have steady jobs in oil and gas looking to see if they can move into [solar],” he said. Sanderson believes research he has done over the past year will inform his teaching and help him prepare his students for the future of the energy industry.

While Sanderson studied the efficiency of solar panels, Cibylla Rakestraw spent her leave in part developing a co-op internship opportunity for Business Administration students. Participants in the new course will complete a 420-hour internship between May and August where they will learn on-the-job skills while earning a pay cheque. “I think it will do lots of wonderful things for the students,” said Rakestraw. “It will help them to really get clear in terms of their career objectives. And then when they are finished with their studies, they go to the employer with some relevant experience – they’re not coming in totally green.” The program will pilot next summer.

Rakestraw has also been developing an optional study tour course, where students in the business administration program will have the opportunity to travel to places like New York, Panama, and China as part of their coursework. Her other two projects involved transitioning one business entrepreneurship course to an online format and making improvements to another online course.

Rakestraw and Sanderson both say that their Professional Leave has made them better instructors. Rakestraw valued the time she had to rest and rejuvenate while she studied.  “I’m feeling like I’ve got a lot more to contribute,” she said, adding that she will now be able to bring “a lot of richness” to her courses. Sanderson agreed, and added that his leave has given him the opportunity to become a part of something bigger. “For renewable energy, the door is opening,” he said. “It’s going to be happening, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

GPRC Business Administration instructor Cibylla Rakestraw presenting her research.
Meet your 2017/2018 SAGPRC

Meet your 2017/2018 SAGPRC

Another new school year is upon us which means it’s time to get to know, or re-introduce yourself to your new Students’ Association.

The GPRC Students’ Association exists to represent and advocate for students and have the goal of wanting to make your GPRC experience memorable and successful.

The SA is committed to understanding the demographic of GPRC students and eager to reach all students through guest speakers, awareness weeks, family events and parties!

So, what does the Students Association do for you?

They provide a number of services to make your life as a student as easy and stress free as possible.

SA Services

  • Student Health and Dental Plan
  • Student Handbook
  • Student Discount List
  • Photocoping – B&W & Color Copies
  • Fax Service
  • Microwaves
  • Lost & Found
  • Awards & Bursaries
  • Board Room Bookings
  • Student Grievances
Howlers Lounge

  • Entertainment
  • Pool Tables and Video Games
  • TV’s
Campus Activities

  • Alcohol Awareness Program
  • Student Volunteer Centre
  • Recreational Events – Ski Trip, etc
  • Clubs

So now, let’s meet your 2017 Students’ Association representatives.

Blaine Badiuk – President.

Blaine Badiuk is proud to have been born and raised in Grande Prairie, the youngest city in Alberta. Blaine started his studies at GPRC as a Dual Credit student in Fall 2015. Following graduation from Charles Spencer High School, Blaine enrolled full-time at GPRC, and will be continuing studies for the next few years. Studying Mathematics Education, Blaine hopes to one day inspire students to open their minds to the power and beauty of math.

As President of the Students’ Association of Grande Prairie Regional College, Blaine is continuing his passion of representing students. As a member of the Minister’s Student Advisory Council with Alberta Education, student representative on School Council, and as a member of the City of Grande Prairie’s Youth Council, Blaine has advocated for students to nearly every level of government.

Grande Prairie’s music community is where Blaine spends his spare time, by being a member of Grande Prairie’s Community Symphony Orchestra and being involved with Musical Theatre productions.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.

Blaine looks forward to build off the legacy from last year’s executive, and to ensure all students are being served by the association.


Lindsey Comeau- Vice President External.

My name is Lindsey Comeau and I was born and raised in Clairmont just outside of Grande Prairie. I went to Peace Wapiti Academy in GP for all of high school. I am taking the university transfer Bachelor of Arts program at GPRC and am majoring in political science. Peace Wapiti has a small amount of students and I loved the close and personal atmosphere it had. GPRC being a smaller college offers the same kind of personal feel and that is why I chose to start my degree here. Student leadership to me is above all else, learning how to be a peer. We as student leaders have to listen to our peers and hear their concerns and then apply them to solutions. This means we have to be conscious of everyone’s concerns and always have them in mind when making decisions and that we always have to be student focused. I am also apart of the Model UN club at GPRC, which has taught me a lot when it comes to being peer focused and considerate of other people’s concerns. I believe being apart of this club will help me always make my decisions based on the students’ needs and wants.


Brent Nordhagen – Vice President Internal.

Brent Nordhagen was born in Calgary, Alberta. He lived there until the age of five before moving to Grande Prairie, Alberta. Growing up in Grande Prairie, Brent attended the Grande Prairie Composite High School, and proceeded to graduate from there. Unsure of what program to pursue, Brent enrolled himself as a full-time student taking Open Studies at GPRC in 2015/2016. Now after completing his first year of Business Administration, he feels this program is a promising one.

Considering Brent was raised in a family orientated environment, he chose GPRC because it is accessible and an institution where he can get an education while being close to his whole family. Student leadership to Brent is acting as the backbone for students creating a unified voice to make a difference. Whether you are on campus or off, students come first. Ironically, during Brent’s first year at GPRC, he thought the Students’ Association was a part of the bookstore. He now knows the SA plays a huge role in student life and the political side of the spectrum. After taking a marketing course, Brent understands the fundamentals and wants to bring awareness to the SA from the inside of the organization to the student eye. His goal is that no student will ever think the SA is a part of the bookstore again. The last year student executives have created a solid foundation for this upcoming year, and Brent plans to build on the momentum to solidify that legacy.


Dravjot Minhas – Vice President Social.

Dravjot Minhas was born in Edmonton and lived there until the age of 3 before moving to Grande Prairie. He graduated from the Composite High School in the year of 2012. He is currently enrolled in the Business Administration Program looking to specialize in Human Resources. Dravjot choose to go to GPRC because it is local to him and as he said “Hey, tuition is pretty good”. What does student leadership mean to Dravjot? To him it means being there for his fellow students in terms of making them laugh, make them feel included or involved, and being a shoulder to vent on.

In the 2016 fall semester Dravjot had no intention or idea that he would be working so close to the Students’ Association until he was recruited to join the Student Council by the past Vice President Internal, Ryan Sivorot. Throughout the school year, Dravjot got first hand experience at how the Students’ Association operated through being involved in the By-law Review Committee. In the winter 2017 semester when it came time to advertise the upcoming student election, Dravjot was asked by the Executive Council team if he had any plans of running. After being convinced, Dravjot decided Vice President Social was the best fit for him and soon took to focusing his attention to campaigning.

During his time in office, Dravjot wants to focus on creating and advertising a large variety of events that will appeal to the different groups of his fellow student body.


Remember your SAGPRC is here for you, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them.

Blaine Badiuk
Lindsey Comeau
Vice President External
Brent Nordhagen
Vice President Internal
Dravjot Minhas
Vice President Social
Left to Right: Vice President External, Lindsey Comeau; Vice President Social, Dravjot Minhas; Vice President Internal Brent Nordhagen, President Blaine Badiuk.
GPRC Fine Arts Student Performs in Grande Prairie Opera

GPRC Fine Arts Student Performs in Grande Prairie Opera

Meet Mark Woodman.

Mark is a second year Bachelor of Music University Transfer at GPRC who performs with the College’s very own Concert Choir – but not this weekend, this weekend Mark is performing with the Grande Prairie Opera.

We caught up with him before opening night to see how his experience at GPRC has played a significant role in pursuing his dreams and passion.

Check it out!

  1. Hey Mark, where are you from?
    I grew up in Dawson Creek but definitely think Grande Prairie feels like home.
  2. What has been your experience so far at GPRC and in your program?
    It’s been great. GPRC has excellent instructors and a thriving fine arts community.
  3. When did you become a member of our GPRC Concert Choir?
    I became a member of the GPRC concert choir in 2015 when I was a tenor soloist in John Murray’s presentation of Handel’s Messiah.
  4. What is your favourite part about being in Concert Choir?
    I enjoy singing tenor harmony, and I especially enjoy the camaraderie and friendships we develop.
  5. How has your experience at GPRC helped you in your performance with the Opera?
    My classical training at GPRC has given me necessary technical skills and also confidence.
  6. How and when did you get involved with the Opera?
    Chelsie Pall was a soprano soloist in our production of Messiah.  I heard she was spearheading a new opera last summer and seized the opportunity to audition with one of my Messiah solos.  She gave me the role of Mordecai, and we have been working together ever since.  I am excited and delighted that she has officially begun a company called Grande Prairie Opera.
  7. What is your favourite part about performing with the Opera?
    My favourite part of being in the opera is the music itself.  Handel is a veritable master of the Baroque Era; his music is so pleasant, especially performed live.
  8. When and where can we catch your performance? 
    We have three shows this weekend: August 25, 26, and 27 at the Christian Fellowship Assembly here in Grande Prairie.
  9. What is some advice that you’d give to upcoming and new music students?
    Enthusiasm and energy are important qualities to bring to the table for any ensemble as well as a good attitude and an open mind.

If you’re someone looking for a dynamic environment where creativity and exploration are the cornerstones of the educational experience, then check out our GPRC Fine Arts Department.

Through our Music, Visual Art programs and Drama courses, we tap into your creative spirit while developing fundamental skills in your specific area of study. Our focus is on your success as both a student and an artist. We will provide you with in-depth learning opportunities and one-on-one instructor time not often found at other institutions.

We can’t wait to catch Mark’s performance this weekend and hope to see you there!

Event details here.

GPRC Wolves Rookie Plays in Jeux Canadienne

GPRC Wolves Rookie Plays in Jeux Canadienne

One of the new recruits for our GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball team – Tradyn Erickson from Peace River recently attended Jeux Canadienne.

Jeux Canadienne is a national multi-sport event with Francophone Teams from each province competing.  It only happens every 3 years and it is a pretty big deal to be selected. This year the games took place in Moncton, New Brunswick.

We caught up with Tradyn before school starts to hear about her experience.

Check it out…

What was it like competing with some of the country’s best basketball players?

It was a great experience, you get to meet new people from all around the country. This is my second time competing in the games I was at the 2014 games in Gatineau, Quebec. The competition is awesome. And the atmosphere is great.

What did you learn from your experience in Moncton?

I mostly learnt what is means to be a francophone in Canada and how to be proud of it, I don’t get to speak French much anywhere else but school so I really improved my French!

Has that experience impacted the way you play/train?

Playing three on three, I don’t always get to play against bigs so you learn to be more of an all round player.

What are you most looking forward to in your rookie season with the Wolves?

I’m looking forward to learning lots from my coach and teammates! Also just meeting new people and making new relationships with new teammates and coaches!

Tradyn Erickson with her teammates at the Jeux Canadienne Games this year in Moncton, New Brunswick.