Sunny Days

In this issue

CAS Celebrates Students!

GPRC's Circle of Aboriginal Students (CAS) celebrated the end of the 2015 school year on Friday, April 10, 2015. The festivities in honour of all GPRC students were held in the concourse and courtyard of the Grande Prairie campus. CAS members took turns introducing themselves, and were followed by dignitaries, Deputy Mayor Lorne Radbourne, Assistant Executive Director of the GP Friendship Centre Miranda Laroche, and GPRC VP Academics and Research Susan Bansgrove

GPRC students receive certificates and gifts from CAS members
Education Warrior Award recipient, Daniel Goodswimmer
Grandaughters of Elder Loretta Parenteau-English help with drumming

All students in attendance were asked to come forward and each was given a certificate and small gift in honour of having completed the past year of studies. Hugs and handshakes were followed with prayer and songs by GPRC Elder in Residence, Loretta Parenteau-English, who had a couple of little helpers by her side. The CAS then honoured student Daniel Goodswimmer with the Education Warrior Award. This award is given to a student based on his/her life story of how he/she got to where he/she is now, and the battles that were faced in doing so. 

Following a smudging and prayer, guests were treated to a barbecue with all the fixings, served up by Jean Nordin, Shawnna Boyd and Susan Bansgrove. Once everyone was fed, it was time to dance! In full regalia, Elder Loretta Parenteau-English led the way, along with her helpers, of course!

Congratulations to all students! 

Learning About Permaculture

The first 21st Century Homesteading - Permaculture in the Peace Country Conference was held at GPRC Fairview campus on Wed. April 1, 2015. The one day conference involved speakers from various regions around Alberta, who presented on different subjects surrounding permaculture. What is permaculture you ask? Permaculture is a concept surrounding sustainable living, involving soil, water management, plants and animals on a small farm, acreage or in an urban setting. Attendees were given information and tips on how to integrate the different principles into their lives, no matter if they have a city plot or many acres. 

Kevin Kossowan gives the keynote address

The day began with keynote speaker, Kevin Kossowan - writer, producer, and director of food/ag related films about growing, hunting, foraging, fishing, and preserving food, as well as connecting with local farmers. Kevin's opening remarks touched on root cellaring in Northern Alberta, and he had many tips on what works versus what doesn't, as he's realized through trial and error.

Claudia Bolli speaks about Permaculture design
Johanne Kemp is joined by Claudia at the beginning of her presentation

Claudia Bolli of Edmonton, and Johanne Kemp of Wembley joined up to talk about the various principles of permaculture. Claudia discussed the different ethics and principles that guide the philosophy, and how essential the concepts of reduce, reuse, and recycle are. She explained about sector and zone analysis surrounding permaculture design, which follow basic logic. Next Johanne introduced the audience to her story which began on a 4 acre plot of land in Wembley. As she tells it, the land was dry and cracked, with nothing on it, and she didn't have much hope that it would become anything. However, after a few years of mulching and planting, trial and error, the Kemps now have a lush property that continues to evolve!

After lunch, the group broke up into three sessions, based on each person's desired topic. One session remained in the conference room to hear Peace Region mushroom enthusiast, Ken Dies, speak about identifying edible mushrooms throughout the prairie provinces. Ken showed a powerpoint of the different identifying features for different fungai.

Participants measure ingredients with which to make hand cream

The second group trekked over to the Plant Sciences building, where GPRC Beekeeping Instructor, Eric Stromgren conducted a hands-on session of how to make hand cream from beeswax. Each participant measured and added the proper ingredients to a beaker, heating it in hot water until the contents blended. Once removed from heat, scented oil could be added to the mixture and each person took home a small container with their creation. Concurrently the third group met in the Atrium, where Wendy Smith of Heritage Farm and GPRC's NBDC, demonstrated how to plant Heirloom tomatoes and herbs. Each participant recieved a tray with planting pods and seeds to plant on site. At the end of the session, each participant had 18 newly planted tomatoes to take home. 

Wendy Smith leads the way in tomato and herb planting

The day finished with participants spliting into two groups for another round of concurrent sessions. Kevin Kossowan presented on plant and animal species, native to our region, and the importance they play in the future of our food. He showed some short videos he's created, on hunting less common animals for meat (eg bear, rabbit, pigeon) and discussed using all parts of an animal, giving recipes for some organs that people don't always use. Kevin also talked about natural weeds and mushrooms and how they can play a role in our daily diet.  

Catherine Newhook of Beaverlodge spoke on the topic of watershed and the value of water management for small farms and acreages. She stressed the importance of working with local watershed programs to increase awareness and knowledge of local watershed issues. Cathy also discussed adopting practices that benefit our local watershed and improving environmental conditions for water dwelling creatures. One example given was to avoid over farming your boundaries along ditches or creeks as those boundaries will protect your land in times of high water.

Overall, the conference was a huge success! The initial goal of 70 participants was surpassed, which bodes well for future events of this nature. Funding for the conference was made available through the GPRC Alumni/Foundation and the CRI. Many thanks to Kamie Currie, Bruce Rutley, Shari Johnston, Patricia Woronuk, Marie Coristine, student-Lucas Peddle, Lisa Hollis, Lynne Ness, Joanne Ballance and Lin Roy for your time and energy put into hosting the conference!

Presenters Kevin Kossowan, Claudia Bolli and Johanne Kemp
Presenter Ken Dies
Presenter Cathy Newhook
Presenters Wendy Smith and Eric Stromgren


Read FV Post News Article >

Thanks For Helping Out!

Big thanks to the folks from 2DayFM who donated their free evening on Monday to clean some of the spring mess the weekend wind blew in to the ball diamonds and soccer pitch at the College. "In just about an hour and a half we cleared away 7 hefty bags worth of litter from the ball diamonds and field!" reports news director Erica Fisher. "We had a great time and were even joined by two young ladies who were on the same mission!"

Kangaroo Math Contest

GPRC held Grande Prairie's first ever, Kangaroo Math Contest, on Sunday April 5, 2015. The one day, international math contest involves over 6 million grade 2 - 11 students worldwide, with approximately 4,500 Canadian students having written the test that day. On campus we hosted 35 local students, writing 6 levels of exams, each level differing in time length. Current and former GPRC faculty/staff volunteered their time to proctor exams and talk to parents while they waited for their children to finish. 

Special thanks to Joelle Reynolds, Brian Redmond, Tom Lakusta, Susan Picard, Eric Chislet, Reddy Ganta, Les Rawluk and Tom Kaip for making this day a great success for students of our region!

Business Plan Trade Show

GPRC Business students held their annual Business Plan Trade Show on Wed. April 8, 2015, at Pillars cafeteria, Grande Prairie campus. Students enrolled in the Business program are tasked with creating a business plan and presenting it to visitors at the trade show. This event is a great opportunity for students to network with Alumni and friends of the college, while learning how to present themselves in the business world.  

Business Case Team

Team members Jordan Kardos, Doris Hoveland (Advisor), Durai Haakstad, Sarah Sauchenko, Mona Grace, Dustin Plant and Charles Backman (Advisor)

The Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition, now in its 10th year, welcomes teams of business students from across the province to test their management, human resources, finance, accounting, and marketing skills against each other. Students challenge themselves to their personal best performance. Each team of students is provided with a business case that has not been previously published, and in a grueling 13 hour period prepares a succinct presentation to deliver before a panel of judges.

The experience is real, not just realistic. And this competition, just possibly, could be the most challenging and rewarding experience of a student’s college career. The personal growth in self-confidence by trying new things must not be understated. Self-confidence is based on one’s knowledge of one’s own capabilities. The more you do, the more you know you can do, and the greater your ease in doing things. That’s one of the reasons this competition is such a valuable experience. 

It is also a great opportunity for business students to increase their network by getting to know the students from other schools, to learn from their peers, and to push themselves farther than they ever thought possible. Only three teams are named to the winner's circle at the end of the weekend, but everyone leaves with the thrill of the competition and valued experience from the challenge. 

Teams have from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Friday of the competition to analyze the case and to prepare their PowerPoint presentation. Teams then have from 6:00 PM on Friday, into the wee hours of Saturday morning of the competition to work on the oral presentation that will accompany the PowerPoint slides.

With only 12 minutes to present their findings and solutions, the focus of the presentation is on communicating how and why the group’s proposal will solve the most important or urgent problems discovered in the case material. Students must convince a panel of judges of their solution’s ethicalness, suitability and chances of success.

Each year in the fall, a case competition team is selected to represent the GPRC Business Department in the annual case competition.  The team is made up of four to six students and a faculty advisor. 

GPRC Instructors volunteer to help the team hone their management, human resources, finance, accounting and marketing skills, and outside professional coaches are secured to work with the students on specific skills such as oral and presentation skills and dressing for success. Funding for the GPRC Case Competition Team comes from the GPRC Alumni/Foundation.

The team along with Dean of Health, Wellness & Career Studies, Shirley Pasieka, relax at the competition dinner
Keeping it fun!


~ Submitted by Joanne Ballance and Charles Backman

A Celebration of Library Collaboration!

Hi, I’m Neo the bear! Did you see me on my visit to the GP campus last week? I’m helping members of the NEOS Library Consortium celebrate 20 years of library cooperation and collaboration. Here are some pictures of my visit to the GP campus. I even got to meet your President!


Kat Ormay then took me on a road trip so I could get to my next destination – the Fairview Campus Library. I’m making myself quite at home here. They even have a cat!

Just so you know - I represent all the great services membership in the Consortium brings to you:

  • access to millions of books from over 20 libraries
  • books you want sent to you with just a click of a button
  • the opportunity to check out books from the University of Alberta, Red Deer College, Olds, MacEwan and more when visiting their campuses
  • $$$$ savings – no need for the College to purchase expensive hardware and software


Thanks for letting me visit! 


~ Submitted by Ann Gish

Bookstore Opening for Convocation!

The Bookstore will be open from 10:00am - 5:00pm, on May 2 for Convocation at Grande Prairie campus so that friends and family will be able to purchase keepsakes and gifts!

  • Wolves plushies 
  • Graduation cards
  • Books appropriate for students graduating from college
  • Parchment Frames
  • Gift bags
  • Class of 2015 Hoodies with opportunity to customize order one with your program

The date is quickly approaching and we still need many volunteers to help make it happen smoothly. Please contact Shawnna if you can spare some time on Saturday May 2.

The Awards Keep On Coming!

GPRC not only has award winning athletes, but coaches and developers as well! Alberta Sport Connection has issued a release announcing the 2015 Alberta Sport Recognition Award winners and our own Leigh Goldie was honored.

Leigh was awarded with the Don Watts Coach Developer, in Multi-Sport. The Coaching Development award acknowledges the tremendous impact the National Coach Certification Program Multi-sport and Sport Learning Facilitators and Evaluators have on the sport delivery system. The Awards recognize significant achievement in developing Alberta’s coaches. The presentation will be made to Leigh at the Alberta Sport Recognition Awards evening held in conjunction with the ASC Sport Leadership Conference in Banff on Friday April 24, 2015.

~ Excerpts taken from Alberta Sport Connection newsrelease April 8, 2015

Thank You For Your Support!


Ryan Pomeroy, President of the Pomeroy Group, presents Don Gnatiuk, GPRC President & CEO and François Fournier, GPRC Athletic Director, with a cheque in the amount of $164,000. The cheque represents a multi-year commitment in support of GPRC Wolves Athletics, events, and awards.


CNRL representative Lori Pollock, presents Carmen Haakstad, VP External Relations, with a cheque for student financial aid.


Donna Coulter from the GP Lions Club presents GPRC Director of Development, Joanne Ballance with a cheque in the amount of $1,500 for student bursaries.


Minute To Win It, GPRC Style!

April 1, was a busy day at GPRC. A group of seven Grade 11 students from St. Patrick's School in Yellowknife, NT arrived for a comprehensive campus tour. This is the first time that any high school from Yellowknife has travelled to Grande Prairie to specifically visit the college. Their day was filled with on campus activities designed to showcase what college can be. Stops at the On Campus Friendship Centre, the Library, as well as sitting in on a variety of classes made the day a special one for our visiting students. They all left with GPRC shirts - excited to return home and consider a future of studies at GPRC.
Over the lunch hour GPRC Education Ambassadors hosted their first ever college event! This fun series of Minute to Win It games was organized by the Ambassadors. The inaugural event was a great success. Not only were GPRC students enjoying a break from studies, but our visiting grade elevens also got involved. 
The GPRC Education Ambassadors are part of the ongoing College Town initiative. The mandate of the group is the development of leadership skills. Student led, college facilitated. Right now there are six active Education Ambassadors and we hope to have twenty by the fall. For more details check it out online. Please share the link with any students you think may be interested. 
Special thanks to Ashley Walker, Kylie Halwa, Matt Bain, Joan Jacobsen, Lana Bennett, David Greg, Charles Sanderson, Aaron Anderson, Amanda Nelson, Devon Almond, Becky Minor, Brenda Lindquist, Glori Palmer, Lesley Spencer, for helping to make the St. Patrick's visit a success, and to Ambassadors Gianfranco, Mona, April, Emma, Corralynn and Clay-Ce for hosting a really fun time with Minute to Win It!
~ Submitted by Megan Ryan-Walsh

Congratulations Grads!

Convocation at GPRC Fairview was celebrated on Saturday, March 14, 2015. The event was so well attended that the Theatre couldn't hold everyone and the 'overflow room' had to be opened up for use. In total, there were 67 convocates from the Transitional Vocational, Animal Health Technology, ThinkBIG Service Technician, Parts and Materials Technician, Harley Davidson, and Power Engineering programs, as well as Carpentry, Motorcycle and Steamfitter/Pipefitter from the Apprenticeships Programs.


This year's ceremony included guest speaker, Carl Kuster, a former student of the Motorcycle Mechanics program. In 1998, his studies were cut short to pursue a professional Snowcross racing career with Arctic Cat, and then Ski-Doo, where he spent about five years. He has competed in at least 7 winter “X”-games with 4 medals to his credit and is referred to as “one of sled racings toughest competitors”. Carl was awarded GPRC's first honourary certificate in Motorcyle Mechanics.


Many thanks to everyone who helped make this day memorable for our students! Faye Ewing, Dianne Lund, Stacey Basnett, Shannon Ball, Carole Arkinstall, Lynnette Tye, Jennie Smeenk, Katey Johnston, Patricia Woronuk, Facilities, Melanie Kirby, Carl Ball, Samantha Campbell, Jean Nordin, Bill Antonello, Lyla Helle, Brian Carreau, Chris Laue, Thomas Petersen, Pete Merlo, Susan Bansgrove, John Rowe, Robin Smith-Wilson, with students Lucas Peddle, Bailey Nadeau and Karim Pringle.


Festival Of Gold

Mirelle Martens, GPRC Female Athlete of the Year, with Don Gnatiuk, GPRC President and CEO Andrew Burstion, GPRC Male Athlete of the Year, with Don Gnatiuk, GPRC President and CEO

The 2015 GPRC Wolves Festival of Gold awards banquet was held Thursday April 2, at the Pomeroy Hotel and Conference Centre. The annual ceremony honours Wolves' athletes and their accomplishments over the past year. Top awards were given to Mirelle Martens, Female Athlete of the Year, and Andrew Burston, Male Athlete of the Year. Other nominees for the females were Danica Blasius (soccer), Haley England (basketball) and Jordan Forrest-Drezet (volleyball). Male nominees were Ezra Jeffery-Comeau (soccer) and Dylan Smith (volleyball).

Awards given out by team are:

Jamie Wigmore receives the Gurevitch Burnham Award from James Bird
Michael Cepuch receives the Tim Pomeroy Award from Marjorie Brent

Cross-Country: Kirsten Manz, Roland Esposito Award – All Around Team; Brandon Wladyko, Penny Thompson Most Outstanding Male Cross-Country Runner; Mirelle Martens, Penny Thompson Most Outstanding Female Cross-Country Runner; Jamie Wigmore, Most Outstanding Track & Field Award and Gurevitch Burnham Cross-Country Running Award.

Men’s Basketball: Derek McKnight, Most Improved Player; Robert Myles and Tysen Pushor, co-recipients Team Player Award; Andrew Burston, Heart and Hustle Award; Michael Clemons, MVP; Jamison Plett, Darryl Nicoll Memorial Basketball Award.

Men’s Soccer: Sean Douglas, Rookie of the Year; Hassan Yusuf, Most Improved Award; Munya Mkumba, Most Dedicated Award; David Rojas and Ezra Jeffrey-Comeau, co-recipients Most Valuable Player Award.

Women’s Soccer: Kennedy Hall, Rookie of the Year; Brooklyn Robert, Most Improved Award; Regan Clarke and Amanda Krishka, Most Dedicated Award; Jessica Winterford, Coaches' Choice; Danica Blasius, MVP.

Curling: Robyn Simoneau, Most Dedicated; Bailey Clarke, Most Improved; Janais DeJong, MVP Female; Darby Sherrard, MVP Male.

Women’s Basketball: Kelly-Ann Sawatzky, Rookie of the Year; Gillian Stauffer, Most Improved Award; Linnaea VanderZwan and Brooke Padlewski, Heart and Hustle Award; Leah Sidoryk, Coaches' Choice Award; Haley England, MVP.

Men’s Volleyball: Dylan Tarbett, Rookie of the Year; Dylan Smith, Coaches' Choice Award; Sam Halliday, MVP; Michael Cepuch, Tim Pomeroy Memorial Volleyball Award; Tristan Simmonds, Gary Kostiuk Volleyball Award.

Women’s Volleyball: Emily Groenenboom, Rookie of the Year; Jordan Forrest-Drezet, Coaches' Choice Award; Danika Kettles, Most Improved; Kaitlyn Cordingley and Amy Norman, MVP; Michelle Gauthier, Arthur Dunn Memorial Volleyball Award; Linnaea VanderZwan, Louis Lamoureux Memorial Award; Jamie Strauss, Gary Kostiuk Volleyball Award.

Fifth-Year Athletes: Amada Krishka (soccer), Jordan-Forrest Drezet (volleyball) and CiCi St. Goddard (soccer).

CCAA Academic All-Canadians: Amy Norman (volleyball) and Amanda Patteson (cross-country).

Thank you to our award donors!
Wolves 2014-15 XCountry Team
Wolves 2014-15 Men's Volleyball Team


GPRC Goes Primetime on CTV!

Have you heard? GPRC has hit the airwaves on primetime TV!! Over the course of the past year, CTV has been filming commercials on location at Grande Prairie and Fairview Campuses, featuring different programs offered by GPRC. Campus Connector videos have been created for Office Administration, Power Engineering, French, Early Learning and Childcare, Animal Health Technology, Interactive Digital Design and Fitness Leadership. Currently, there are videos underway about the TEN program, Computing Science and Athletics. In fact, the crew was just at the GP campus last week - some of you may have noticed the CTV van hanging around. This next round of videos should be ready in about 6 weeks. 

All of the videos are housed on our YouTube channel, which can be accessed via the Future Students page of the GPRC website.

View All Videos >

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Hug A Sister!

Cindy Gladue was remembered on Thursday April 2, 2015, at a vigil held in the GPRC Grande Prairie courtyard. Prayers, a smudge and a moment of silence were observed for Cindy and her family, followed by soup and bannock, provided by the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, in the On-Campus Friendship Centre. This vigil was organized by Hug-a-sister creatorsGPRC student Jackie Benning and Delaine Lambert-English of the GP and on campus Friendship Centres.

Jackie and Delaine met in 2008 through the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre. The #hugasister campaign began in September 2014, fueled by the duo's desire to create positive conversation within not only the community, but the nation. The movement was created to raise awareness, offer support, and create change surrounding violence against women. It was created so the missing and murdered sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, nieces, and friends will not be forgotten. Delaine and Jackie strongly believe that each of us is a leader in our own life and that we truly can make a difference. Together, we are stronger.

#hugasister launched on September 9, 2014 with a video challenge and the creation of People are being asked to join the hugasister movement, by honouring women through hugs and making change by promoting healthy relationships. Through this philosophy, they hope to ignite conversations leading to positive change within the community among residents, politicians and service providers. T-shirts have been created in support of this cause, which can be purchased at the On Campus Friendship Centre, or online

Delaine Lambert-English is a 31 year old Métis - First Nation mother of three.  Originally from Fort Vermilion, Alberta, Delaine has travelled internationally to South America and England, enrolling in volunteer programs which allowed her to work with young people. Since moving to Grande Prairie in 2005, Delaine has worked in various roles with the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, often in conjunction with GPRC's on campus Friendship Centre. For the past 8 years, Delaine has been an essential part of organizing the annual Spirit Seekers Youth Conference. 

Jackie is a 24 year old Métis woman from Grande Prairie. In 2012, she graduated from GPRC's Teacher Education North program, a collaborative degree with the University of Alberta. During her first year of teaching, Jackie received an Edwin Parr Award which is given annually to six first year teachers in Albera, as recognition of exceptional service. This past fall, Jackie went back to GPRC to finish a Psychology degree, in collaboration with Athabasca University. Her hopes are to embark on a career incorporating classroom teaching and counseling. Jackie promotes healthy living and is a GPRC X-Country Running and Track athlete. 
~ Submitted by Delaine Lambert-English

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.

• Huge appreciation is extended to the faculty and staff of the Animal Health Technology department. The following note was received by Dr. Chris Mizzi: 

My name is Heather Martland. I am the lead AHT and clinic supervisor at Panorama Hills Animal Hospital. Currently we have a GPRC student here for her AHT practicum. I wanted to just express how AMAZING she is. Your school has done an incredible job teaching your students. She is highly skilled, already doing surgeries and blood collections by herself. The staff all love her and she already is an instant fit! We will be definitely offering her a position long term. I just wanted to send you an update and let you know how great she is doing. I've hosted students for over 9 years, and this is the first from Fairview. She is by far the best student I have ever had.

• Thank you to Cari Foster and the organizing committee of the 2015 President's Awards Luncheon for a fantastic event!

• Congratulations to Leigh Goldie, who was honoured with Alberta Sport Connections' 2015 Don Watts Coach Developer Award, in Multi-Sport.

• Many thanks to Jean Nordin, Shawnna Boyd, Suzanne Dunn, Jennifer McLean, Tina Strasbourg, Cheryl Head, Robin Smith-Wilson, Brenda Lindquist, Glori Palmer, Lynne Ness and Lisa Hollis for their hard work on the 2015-16 Academic Calendar

• Congratulations and thank you to Kamie Currie, Bruce Rutley, Shari Johnston, Patricia Woronuk, Marie Coristine, student-Lucas Peddle, Lisa Hollis, Lynne Ness, Joanne Ballance and Lin Roy for your time and energy that was put in to hosting a very successful 21st Century Homesteading Conference, held at GPRC Fairview on April 1, 2015. 

• Special thanks to Joelle Reynolds, Brian Redmond, Tom Lakusta, Susan Picard, Eric Chislet, Reddy Ganta, Les Rawluk and Tom Kaip for making Grande Prairie's first Kangaroo Math Contest a great success for students of our region!