Tips for Managing Reading Week

Tips for Managing Reading Week

It is almost that time of year! The time that students everywhere look forward to… Reading Week!

I have been attending GPRC for the past four years. The first two years, I was taking just a class or two, but the past two years I have been a full-time student.  As a student I have very mixed feelings about Reading Week. It’s hard to not love the break, but truth be told, I have a really hard time getting back into the swing of things after Reading Week ends.  With that in mind, if anyone else feels the same struggles as I do, I have compiled a list of a few tips to help you with managing and staying on track during your Reading Week.

  1. Take the time at the beginning of the Reading Week break to make a list of what you want to accomplish over the week. Make a list, and plan the things that you want to do with your time.
  2. Get some rest during the week.
    Our brains are so tired, we really do need some sleep. Treat yourself to some early bedtimes.
  3. During your week off give yourself some time to plan out your next two months of school. Make a schedule using your course outlines as a guide to what is coming up. There is going to be a lot to do, but with a plan in place, you are laying out the ground work for success.
  4. Use some of Reading Week to get caught up. Whether that means doing laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning your house, or maybe making some meals for the week ahead.
  5. Plan some “you-time”. For myself, this means catching up on texts and phone calls, doing some Netflix binging, and taking my dog, Richelieu (shown in picture), for some good walks. Whatever it is, do things that make you feel good, things that have been weighing on your mind when you are busy with school.

  1. Don’t stop doing school work for the whole week. This is a big one. It is so hard to get back at it once you have completely stopped. I give myself a few days totally off, but then I start slowly getting back into the school routine.
  1. Use the weekend before school starts as a regular weekend. Meaning, use your weekend as you normally would during the school year.
    For me, that means coming to the college to study for a few hours, especially on Saturday, because that is what I do most weekends.

It definitely would be easy to take the whole week off, and I have done that… but the fact is, I’m way more successful at handling the after break blues when I follow these tips.

Have a great Reading Week everyone!

Submitted by Jessica Fontaine Gwin, Student Ambassador

GPRC Thanks ELCC Educators for their Commitment and Dedication

GPRC Thanks ELCC Educators for their Commitment and Dedication

The College’s Early Childhood Education Awards has become an event looked forward to by the community for the past three years.

Last night, the 3rd Annual awards took place at GPRC where guests celebrated and recognized the outstanding contributions, positive impacts, commitment and dedication that educators working in childcare programs and facilities have on the community.







“Recognizing the dedicated work of early childhood educators and programs is something our department looks forward to every year,” said Theresa Suderman, GPRC Chair, Early Learning and Child Care. “I personally think these awards could be renamed ‘Celebrating our Superheros’. Raising awareness for the remarkable work being done in child care every day is wonderful to be a part of.”

Theresa Suderman, GPRC Chair, Early Learning and Child Care welcomes guests to the 3rd Annual Early Childhood Education Awards hosted last night at GPRC.

This year 45 early childhood educators were nominated by members of the community for the five awards presented last night with the top three for each category announced at the ceremony.

“I’m thrilled at the overwhelming response we have had from the northwest region.  Many see the work our educators do as just ‘babysitting’ but those who work in this field are trained professionals who care for our most valuable resource at their most vulnerable stage, our children. They definitely deserve this recognition,” added Suderman.

Of the three nominees for the Family Day Home Provider of the Year, the winner was Katarzyna Hoffman from Stepping Stones Day Home Program.

Katarzyna Hoffman from Stepping Stones Day Home Program wins Family Day Home Provider of the Year.

According to the nomination, Katarzyna is “incredibly kind, compassionate and caring.  Her and the children are always doing something fun and creative.  She prepares them yummy, nutritious snacks and meals. Overall she’s just a very sweet woman whose love for teaching and caring for children is so evident.  I feel very grateful having her a sour childcare provider, it makes leaving my children to go to work so much easier and stress free knowing they love being there with her.  I drop them off and have no hesitation or worries leaving them, I know she cares for them with so much love.  I can’t think of a more deserving lady for this award.”

Congratulations Katarzyna.

Of the three nominees for the Preschool Educator of the Year, the winner was Melissa Gast from the Grande Prairie Catholic School Division.

Melissa Gast from the Grande Prairie Catholic School Division wins Preschool Educator of the Year.

Melissa’s nomination stated, “She is a dedicated, innovative, kind, thoughtful, purposeful, driven and helpful educator.  She is the best of the best.  Her program shows versatility, planning, routine, structure, multi-sensory approach and most of all FUN!

She is always prepared for each day with a smile on her face.  She knows how important her presence is to the children and has hardly missed a moment with them.  She also is so well spoken and can make a parent feel at ease when leaving their child in someone else’s hands for the first time. 

She puts her heart and soul into her work.  She is dependable, kind and amazing at what she does.  She is truly a shining example of what every preschool program should be.”

Congratulations Melissa!

Of the three nominees for the Early Childhood Director of the Year, the winner was Venessa Soto from Valleyview Knowledge Tree.

Venessa Soto from Valleyview Knowledge Tree wins Early Childhood Director of the Year.

The nomination for Venessa, stated that “She has worked very hard to create a program which reflects a child-centered philosophy.  She is passionate about her work and is a firm believer in the importance of quality early childhood development and how that can make a difference in a child’s life. She has worked tirelessly and has put her entire heart into making the program amazing.”

Congratulations Venessa.

Of the three nominees for the Early Childhood Educator of the Year, the winner was Janelle Cunningham from Stepping Stones Daycare.

Janelle Cunningham from Stepping Stones Daycare wins Early Childhood Educator of the Year.

Janelle was portrayed by the nomination as someone who takes a “holistic approach with the children; her interactions are genuine and heartfelt. She models regulation for the children and is always by their side helping them through their emotions…letting the children know, it’s okay not to be okay.

She closely observes the children to ensure she is providing well planned experiences that reflect their interests and needs often incorporating nature and environmentally responsible practices.  When she plans experiences she gets very passionate and excited putting her ideas into motion. Providing a quality program is important for her, she always maintains professionalism.”

Congratulations Janelle.

Of the nominees for the Early Childhood Service of the Year, the winner was Lil Sprouts Preschool.

Lil Sprouts Preschool wins Early Childhood Service of the Year.

The nominations for Lil Sprouts Preschool stated that “This program is amazing!  My child learns so many wonderful things here.  It warms my heart to know he is safe, happy and most of all comfortable.

It is a happy place for children to learn and grow.

This program has taught my child to share, listen and demonstrate kindness to others. 

I am so comfortable leaving my child here knowing that they are in a fun, stimulating, learning environment.”

Congratulations Lil Sprouts Preschool.

Winners last night received a plaque and rose as a token of appreciation for their excellence.

All 2018 Early Childhood Education Awards winners.

Thank you to all our nominees for their commitment and dedication to the early childhood education profession.

More information about GPRC Early Learning and Child Care programs can be found here.

Check out more photos from last night’s event here.

Crackin’ Cases

Crackin’ Cases

This past weekend, your GPRC Deans of Business Case Team competed in the 13th annual Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition in Edmonton. This year’s competition was co-hosted by Grant MacEwan and Norquest, which took place between March 22 and 24. Every spring the top business and commerce students in the province gather to solve a case regarding a specific company and it’s potential problems, with the focus being on accounting, marketing, business strategy, and finance areas of the company. The teams only get 9 hours to read, analyze, crunch numbers, prepare a PowerPoint, and present a solution to the business’ problems. It’s a fast paced, high stakes day with a cash reward of $4,000 for the first-place team that creates the winning presentation – and if that doesn’t sound intense enough, the following day you must present your PowerPoint to a panel of judges. That’s right- it also includes public speaking (gasps of horror come from all the terrified students that public speaking claims victim to).

This year’s team consisted of (from left to right in the featured picture)

  • Riley Kjemhus– Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Mykel Lewsaw– Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Alexis Nellis (captain)- Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Brittney Commet– Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Kiersten Giesbrecht– Third year BBA SAIT collaboration, Accounting Major
  • Josh Hrushka– First year Business Admin., Marketing Major

Sound interesting? Well you’re in luck! If you read on, you’ll be walked through a summarized day-by-day play of how this weekends events unfolded, and at the end I’ll tell you how you can be a part of this prestigious event for 2019’s team.

On Thursday, the team met at GPRC and travelled to Edmonton in one of the college’s luxurious vans (thanks GPRC!). The team’s coaches rallied their husbands to be designated drivers for the weekend (thanks husbands!) and they got us there safe and sound with plenty of stops for Timmies on the way. Once in Edmonton, the first stop was the closest grocery store to gather provisions for the following day, tons of fruit and veggies were purchased to keep the team full and energized for the weekends activities. After the grocery store escapades, we made our way to the hotel where we got nice and festive for the opening ceremonies. The theme this year was Mardi Gras (interesting theme for a business competition) so on top of our business attire we donned the traditional green, purple, and gold beads and headed off to Norquest. The dinner was a delicious Cajun inspired dish of chicken, gumbo, and beignets for dessert. Following the dinner, the duo of Earth Group gave an inspiring presentation about their company and how they help children all over the world (google them, they’re amazing!) with the captains of each team picking presentation time slots to wrap up the evening. Ours was the lucky team to pick the first time slot at 7:30 a.m., which meant less time to practice and even less sleep- so back to the hotel we went to prepare for Friday’s war room.

Now the war-room is just as terrifying as it sounds. You are “locked” in a room from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with just your team, two school-provided laptops, writing utensils, food, and the case. No cellphones, no access to communications like email or Facebook, nothing but internet access for research and PowerPoint. This all took place on Friday, where the teams all gathered at MacEwan University to have a healthy, hearty breakfast and then escorted to their respected rooms by their hosts. Once in the room, the magic happens. You must identify the problem and essentially “solve” the case and have your PowerPoint presentation completed and handed in at 6 p.m. sharp- if you’re not done by 6, you must submit what you have- no extensions or exceptions! After we finished in the war room, we headed back to the hotel to start practicing the speeches for the presentation to the judges the next day. Full of Subway and adrenaline, we started preparing our speeches and presentations late into the night.

Saturday morning came far too early and fast, as we met in one of the hotel rooms at 4 a.m. for more practicing. And let met tell you- 4 a.m. is a hard time to sound excited and confident in your presentation, but our coaches kept us on our toes and eventually dragged the excitement out of us. Once we had a few more rounds of practice in, we went back to our rooms to get prim and proper in our best business attire to address the judges. 7:30 a.m. came, and your team did your College proud as we not only executed a flawless presentation but answered ALL of the judge’s questions to the point where they ran out! (did I mention the judges also have 5 minutes to ask you ANYTHING about the case, and you get marked on how you answer? Yeah, this just keeps getting better).

Feeling like kings and queens, we went straight to the closest Tim Horton’s for a victory coffee and to talk about the thrill and rush from achieving what we just did. 9-weeks of practise with nine different cases, on an average of 9-hours a week spent on these cases, and one final case being presented to the Business Department faculty the day before we left, had all lead up to this. Each one of us had poured our heart and souls into this team on-top of part time work and full course loads, and it was over in 15 minutes.

Although we didn’t place this year, the feelings we all had and the sense of family and devotion we developed towards each other made us feel like the true winners. We didn’t mind that we didn’t place, we knew that what we had just accomplished was more than most students got to experience, and we were thankful for every bit of the journey we got to participate in. We did some serious Storming, Forming, Norming this semester and although the team is officially done for another season, we realized friendships and bonds that will last much longer.

Try-outs for next years time will take place this upcoming November/December, and although you need to be nominated by faculty- I encourage all Business and Commerce students to inquire about the team and how you can go above and beyond to receive a nomination to try-out. I guarantee the extra time and effort you put out will reward you with skills, abilities, and friendships that will last a life time.

Submitted by Case Team Captain and Student Ambassador- Alexis Nellis