News Archives: Reading University: A partnership for our Future
Released: Thursday, July 7th, 2011
Reading University: A partnership for our Future
College may be out for the summer, but Reading University is going strong! Record numbers of grade three students are busy in classrooms and computer labs at GPRC, and by their graduation ceremony on July 22, these 80 children will be confident readers and ready to enter grade four as strong learners.
GPRC has partnered with dedicated parents and the three local school boards for the past three years to provide this opportunity for children in our community. The College provides the required classrooms and computer labs for the three weeks of the Reading University program, and the DJ Cardinal Performing Arts Centre for the graduation ceremony. In addition, the GPRC Foundation this year provided $1,000 which purchased a refrigerator for the nutritious snacks and lunches which are part of the program.
"For me this is personal," says Susan Bansgrove, Vice-President Academics and Research. "The future of our society is these children. We want them to be successful and to love reading and learning. GPRC is a natural partner in this initiative - nothing is more valuable than educating the youngest people in our community."
Bansgrove makes it a priority to meet the children at the beginning of the program, welcoming them to "university," and is delighted by the change in confidence level she observes from the beginning to the end of the program. "These children are gaining skills and tools to create a new future for all of us. I really believe in the goals and efficacy of this initiative, and admire the parents whose passion has made it possible."
The Reading University project, launched in 2009, was the brainchild of concerned parents, patterned after a similar initiative in Camrose. The initiative has been strongly supported by Grande Prairie Public School District Foundation, and hosted at GPRC. In 2010 Grande Prairie Catholic School District and Peace Wapiti School District also became involved.
This is a community-driven program and there is no Alberta Education funding for this initiative. Organizers have been working diligently to secure ongoing funding from organizations and individuals to stabilize the future of the program. At present some 20 businesses and individuals have endowed the project, and gift-in-kind donations from numerous others have helped to defray costs.
GPRC is proud to partner with parents and educators to provide Reading University to the children of our community.