December 14, 2012

In this issue

30th Annual Science Open house

Attending the GPRC Science Open house has long been a tradition at Chetwynd school, according to teacher Brea Caron. Caron and 30 students in grades 11 and 12 had to meet at their school at 5:45 am in order to arrive in time for registration and the keynote address. “I am new to this position, but quickly found out that this trip was an expectation. We are a small school – not on the regular route of recruiters, so our students don’t get exposed to a lot of this information without this kind of road trip. My kids are probably more excited about this than most of the others here.”

Brea and her students were among the over 600 who took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the study of Science at the university level, and to get a glimpse of the post-secondary experience. They were among the 14 schools from throughout northwestern Alberta and the Peace Block of BC who filled the theatre to capacity, and enlivened the hallways of GPRC on December 7.

“For our kids, coming from smaller high schools, just meeting one person who they can relate to makes them think ‘maybe this is possible for me’.”

Two of the three science teachers who accompanied students from Spirit River Regional Academy (SRA) are alumnae of GPRC, and passionate about the advantage it could represent for their students. “We want our students to understand what university is like,” says teacher Samantha Edgar. “We have lots of first generation post-secondary learners in schools in the region. They know they need post-secondary education, but they don’t know much about it. Many of them don’t understand how it works – they don’t know your education can evolve a bit as you go along, as you learn what is possible, what is of greatest interest to you.”

Ali Lario, vice-principal and biology teacher at SRA, went straight from her hometown of 120 people to the UofA. She is eager for her students to understand about the culture shock. “Suddenly there were more students in one class than in my whole town. GPRC is a good stepping stone for students like me. After a visit like this, students might realize “oh, yeah, I like the way that teacher talks. I could imagine myself taking a class from him.” – and then when they get here, that instructor is already a familiar face!”

The teachers are also very aware of the support their students will find here. “When I was a student here at GPRC I did badly on an exam,” one explains. “The instructor called me in, we discussed where I was having problems, and once he was convinced that I understood, the instructor raised my mark!”
Information and awareness is the biggest takeaway the schools want their students to gain from their day at GPRC. “A lot of our kids don’t even know what’s out there,” says Cassie Rosher of SRA. “Coming here today they will get their eyes opened, talk to some profs – learn about dozens of fields of study beyond the few professionals they might have met so far: doctor, lawyer, teacher nurse. . . Lots of our students are on the fence – they are smart enough, but not necessarily motivated to go on after high school.’’

“So many of the kids in our school are farm kids,” says Carol Sapergia, science teacher at South Peace Senior Secondary in Dawson Creek. “This is a very important opportunity. It is very cool for students to go into a class, meet the instructor, experience a little of how it’s going to be. We just went to a Bio mini-talk on forensics – they loved it!”

GPRC Science Open House: a regional tradition, opening minds to possibilities in further education.
~ Submitted by Lynne Ness

~ Photos by Rick Scott

Christmas Spirit at Regional Learning Centres

GPRC Regional Learning Centres in Hinton, Jasper, Grande Cache, and Edson participated in local fundraising events by decorating a Christmas Tree in their respective communities.

Jasper: Festival of Trees, Fundraiser for Museum & Community Dinners decorated by Janice Yeamen

(left to right) Edson: Red Brick Society Festival of Trees, Fundraiser for the Red Brick decorated by Debbie Ceelen; Hinton: Hinton Foothills Festival of Trees, Hinton Resident Care Foundation decorated by Shelly Cardiff, Renée LaBoucane, Bonnie Hart, Lynn Seabrook & Julie Neale; Grande Cache: Festival of Trees decorated by Kim Hamon.

Community Info Session

GPRC hosted a Community Info Session regarding the new regional hospital (Grande Prairie Regional Hospital) on November 29th. The Alberta Infrastucture project team, architects, construction manager, and representatives from GPRC and AHS were there to answer any questions from the public and present the architectural drawings. To view a live streaming of the  presentation please visit our website

Marketing Students Give Back

The students of Cibylla Rakestraw's Marketing Strategies Class recently presented a cheque to the Swan City Rotary Club in the amount of $9,235! This amount represents half of the money raised through their annual class project - organizing and producing the popular Peace Country Idol competition. The other half of the funds raised will be used for the students to visit various businesses and organizations in San Francisco during reading week.

This year marked the 10th anniversary of Peace Country Idol. Cibylla has been working with Swan City Rotary for 6 years and over that period of time, her classes have donated over $65,000 to the Club in support of their educational and health projects in southern Ethiopia.

Swan City Rotary members Chris & Kathy Andersen (left) and Holly Sorgen (right)
expressed their sincere gratitude to Cibylla (centre) and her students.

Santa Claus Parade Float in Fairview

When the call went out to have the college enter a float in the Santa Claus parade, Garry Candy (aka Claus) mused aloud, "Surely we must have a float for this event."

And from the corners of the kingdoms of Tradesland and Recruitmentville at GPRC Fairview campus, inspired by Head Elf, Annike Watts’ design, many elves stepped up to the plate and created a beautiful float for the annual Santa Claus parade held in Fairview on Friday, November 30.

Pulled by the shiny red 1977 Kenworth with Gaylord Toews at the helm, the 45’ long gooseneck trailer (built and lent by Gaylord Toews for this occasion) featured no other than Santa Bear (originally the mascot for “Numbum” – an annual 24 hr. motorcycle race held in wintertime on a frozen lake hosted by then Fairview College).

The trades shop hummed with activity as the elves transformed the trailer into Santa’s sleigh, wrapped presents and decorated trees. The elves dressed Santa Bear and settled him, reins in hand, at the head of the sleigh in which were piled the Christmas trees and a huge bag of presents.

Little ones, Dael & Norah Ponto, Marcus & Kaylee Shmyruk, Logan & Shaun Woronuk, Darrien, Elijah & Mataya Bellerive along with their parents Emanuel and Pamela climbed in behind Santa and settled cosily on comfy straw bales. A ride through the downtown winding parade route and then a happy ending with hot chocolate for all.

Many thanks to the good folk in the trades and recruitment departments for the generous giving of their time, creativity and good cheer and also to AUPE for the donation of candy handed out along the trade route. In addition to those shown in the photos, many thanks to Brad Lockhart, Jenny Smeenk, Tony Shmyruk, Riley Buker, Richard Smith, Cheryl Frank, Shannon Ball and Gavin Winter for also being part of the work crew – guess they were too shy to have their pictures taken!  ~ Submitted by Beverley Candy

Annike Watts & Gord Ivy                                        Craig French

Garry Candy & Annike Watts                                    Patricia Woronuk


Rob Young                                   John Stiles                                   Steve Johnson

Kelly Rainer                                Dana Ponto, Chris Laue, Gaylord Toews


e-Campus Alberta 10th Anniversary

GPRC celebrated the 10th Anniversary of eCampus Alberta via webcast on November 28 along with16 other Alberta post-secondary institutions. The Honourable Stephen Khan, Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education, joined the webcast and offered his congratulations. “Congratulations to eCampusAlberta as it celebrates a decade of leadership and innovation in providing Albertans with access to online learning,” said  Khan. Special thanks to Anna Gillis and Darcie Coulter for organizing the "party" at the Grande Prairie Campus!

Gingerbread Contest

Congratulations to Annike Watts on winning the Gingerbread Contest at the Fairview Campus. Her 100% edible gingerbread train sold for a whopping $65.00!  Congratulations to all the other contestants as well - your creations were amazing!  The contest raised $203.00 for the Students’ Emergency Loan Fund.
~ Submitted by Shannon Ball and Cheryl Frank


Excellence in People

At each monthly Board of Governors meeting, staff and faculty recognitions are presented to the Board by Don Gnatiuk on behalf of the Executive Team.

• Appreciation to Shannon Glas, Fairview Campus Student Services, who received a special thank you letter from a perspective organization inquiring about welding education for young men within their group. By the content of the letter, Shannon provided above and beyond customer service.

• Congratulations to English Instructor, Dr. Anna Lapointe, whose 2006 novel “Stolen” has made the top 10 for the Prairie/North region for Canada Reads 2013. Canada Reads is an annual literary showdown on CBC Radio, wherein five advocates each argue for the fundamental greatness of their chosen book. The book is available on, and digitally on the Kobo e-reader

• Congratulations to Nursing Faculty Member Karen Oostra, for being selected to speak at the 2012 Early Childhood Conference in October. Karen will speak on Childhood Obesity and Health.

• Thanks to Dr. Connie Korpan and the Arts and Education Department for maintaining the training of the student Peer Counseling Services. The Peer Counsellors are prepared to help all students cope with a variety of issues.

• Huge congratulations to the Community Relations Team, President’s Ball Committee Chair Sharron Barr, her fabulous team of volunteers and the countless student volunteers who were responsible for creating yet another successful President’s Ball.

• Congratulations to Julie Babbitt-Byrne, Fairview Residence Manager, for hosting a very successful Thanksgiving dinner. Fifty students attended and enjoyed the 4 turkeys and 30 pounds of potatoes. Well done, Julie.

• The success of the Recording Studio is evident by the following: Local personality Tyler Wold has completed a voice over for an advertisement for a Vegas attraction at the MGM Grand; Emerson Drive has completed almost half of their vocals for an upcoming album; The Dandylionesses have purchased two large recording packages.

• Congratulations to Duff Crerar, who has been invited to Verdun, France to speak at a conference on Faith and the Sacred in World War 1. The presentation is called “Experience of the Soldiers”.

• Thank you to Louis Roy, Mitchell Welsh, Jay Field, Aurele Lemay and Charles Sanderson for their team work and collaboration to resolve the issue with achieving optimal temperature in the Solarium.

• Appreciation is extended to Bruce Rutley and Cheryl King and partners from Northern Lakes College for their development of ‘The Historic Grouard’ project for the community of Grouard. The community was very pleased with the presentation received by the Minister of Culture during his visit to the community of Grouard.

• Congratulations and thank you to the Staff in Financial Services for their dedication, and diligence to complete the Audited Financial Statements, and commitment to making the college a better place. Thank-you again for all that you do, and CONGRATULATIONS on a job well done!