By Sharon Fischer
Principal, Stettler Elementary
June is a busy and exciting month in any school, and Stettler Elementary School was certainly no different. The students worked hard and played hard during this very busy and fast moving month. There were several assessments that needed to be completed before the end of the school year including our Grade 6 Provincial Achievement Tests. Congratulations to all of the students who worked hard to do a great job on these exams. The month was also very busy with track meets, fun days, class and school celebrations, and of course field trips.
Each of the grade groups had the opportunity to visit different areas around Central Alberta, and all reported having had a wonderful time. It is so much fun to see students in a different environment and to hear the excited chatter and giggles coming from our students. On June 18 our Grade 3 students travelled to Circle Square Ranch where they were able to ride horses, climb the ropes, play various games and activities, and enjoy an amazing lunch.
The following day our Grade 2 and 3 students enjoyed their track meet, while our Grade 5 students visited the Atlas Coal Mine in Drumheller.
June 20 was a particularly busy day as it was one of the days that our grade 6 students wrote Provincial Achievement Tests, our kindergarten and Grade 1 students participated in their fun day at the school, we fed 600 students hamburgers and watermelon, and our Grade 5 and 6 students displayed their musical talents at the annual Night of the Bands concert. The following day was also busy as our Grade 4-6 students participated in an awards day presentation, celebrating their track meet successes, we celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day, and we held out final assembly of the school year. Then on June 22 the kindergarten students celebrated their final day of kindergarten by travelling to Red Deer to play at the Tree House. That was also the day that we celebrated our Grade 6 students’ DARE graduation and Legacy Lunch. Each year our Grade 6 students select a book that will carry their nameplate and remain in the school library as their legacy to our school, and then they are treated to lunch. This, like so very many things that take place at our school, could not happen without the support of our parents.
Although much of what is written above sounds extremely busy, it truly only touches the surface of all that has taken place at the school. Other activities include Grade 6 camp, which took place June 25 through 28, and yet more field trips for our students. On June 26 and 27 our Grade 4 students travelled to Camrose where they participated in a hands-on program called “A Day in the Life of the Railway” at the Camrose Heritage Railway Station and Park.
The program focused on the social studies curriculum, teamwork and cooperation. Students dressed in period costumes (from early 1900’s), and took on roles such as conductors, station agents and brakemen. They learned about how the railway influenced Alberta’s development, and discussed their own ancestors’ journeys to Alberta. Students also played outdoor games that children from the early 1900’s would have played, such as tag and sack races. The highlight of the day was the delicious meal of homemade soup, baking powder biscuits, and oatmeal coconut cookies that the student groups made for each other.
Our Grade 2 students also participated in a blast from the past type of field trip on June 26, when they travelled to Markerville and learned what it was like to live and attend school “in the olden days.” The students had a great time, thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and returned thankful to live in the 21st century. Our Grade 1 students also enjoyed their field trip as they travelled to Drumheller to take in the Tyrell Museum and dinosaur spray-park on June 27. Many giggles were heard from these youngsters and they returned to the school quite exhausted. Following the fieldtrips, several classes chose to take students swimming, 5SN organized and hosted a “food truck” event where money raised was donated to our Makerspace, and there were many year-end class celebrations to round out the school year.
As we break for the summer a few of the highlights from the school year come to mind.
In September we held our annual Terry Fox Run and the students again raised an incredible amount of money. In fact we later learned that we are the second leading school in all of Alberta for the amount of money that has been raised for cancer research.
We also reflect back on the reading that our grandparents and community leaders participated in with our students during literacy week held in October. In November our students packed over 400 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child – allowing underprivileged children in our world to receive a Christmas present and allowing our students to learn that it feels great to give. December was filled with Christmas Concert rehearsals and our now famous Christmas Concerts. The New Year brought with it basketball, ski trips, and our Grade 2 igloo tour.
We celebrated our third annual Leadership Day with parents and community members in March, and with spring came Camp McE basketball, the introduction of our new We Reads reading program, and the Rocks and Rings curling program, also new to our school this year. Then before we knew it, we found ourselves entering the fastest month of the year – April, May, June and just like that it is over.
The end of the school year is always a bittersweet time. We get to reminisce all of the successes from the school year and celebrate the great things that have happened throughout the year, but it is also a time of farewells. We bid farewell and best wishes to our grade 6 students heading off to the secondary campus in the fall.
As well we celebrate with Mr. Howell as he heads off into retirement. We send best wishes to the staff members who are leaving to teach elsewhere next year, and we congratulate Mrs. Kate Syson who is heading to Botha to take on the principal position there next year. We wish her the very best, but will most certainly miss her uplifting smile, great sense of humour, and outstanding work ethic. Our loss is definitely Botha’s gain and we truly do wish her the very best in this new endeavour.
We also wish all of you a very relaxing and enjoyable summer break filled with great adventures and fun activities, and I am already looking ahead to the 2018-19 school year with great anticipation and excitement. Thank you to everyone who has helped to make the 2017-18 school year at Stettler Elementary School such a success.