Award Winners

Gail Edwards Memorial Award

Vicki White, Martin King

Martin King has been an outstanding parent volunteer at Tillicum Community School over the last 11 years. Whether it's the 'Welcome Back' Com Roast, Christmas Craft Fair, Family Bingo Night, Family Movie Night or other such family event, Martin is actively involved. Whenever there is an event you can count on Martin having a critical role in making sure it all happens with gusto He never says no and goes above and beyond to ensue all goes well.

Mr. King works tirelessly to provide extra services to make the daily life of students better at Tillicum school. He has been involved in many different areas ranging from organizing the playground project to the person who picks up juice boxes. He has organized the Food for Fun program which allows children to have a hot lunch once a month with money earned going towards the children's field trips. This is an integral part of the school as it gives the children extra opportunities to try new things and have a different experience that they may not get without the support of the monies earned.

In addition to his direct involvement at the school, Martin has been an active member of the PAC, as both VCPAC Rep and Treasurer. When working with the parent group, they always know that Martin can be counted on to follow through with what he says he will do. "He's just always there when you need him". And he's often the one the ''new'' volunteers turn to for advice and answers. He is the kind of person that is always willing to help you out and give you informative information about what may and may not work, based on his years of experience and continual quest to gain new information. Martin maintains a positive attitude, always offering encouragement to both children and adults. He maintains a sense of humor and is easy to work with. Everyone knows Martin because of his presence and involvement at the school.

Arkell Award

Terrance Berscheid, Kathie Cross

Terrance Berscheid has given selflessly and unconditionally to the students of Central Middle School for the past 6 years offering an enrichment program in amateur radio. Terrance and Kathie Cross, a Youth and Family Counselor at Central, worked together to come up with a program to help a select group of children. Terrance welcomes all students into this enrichment course but is particularly welcoming of students who struggle socially, emotionally or academically. He recognizes that amateur radio offers these students a forum in which to experience social connections and success they may otherwise not experience. When they start talking over the radio, young people give answers that are mostly monosyllabic. By the end of the school term they are talking in whole sentences and are actually making conversation with an adult.

During his class, Terrance includes the larger WARA (Westcoast Amateur Radio Association) by giving other radio operators the forum to offer their assistance, as well as invites them to give guest presentations to the students. Terrence gets the students interested in science by exposing them to the magic of radio. They see how a radiating antenna can light up a fluorescent tube. They see how putting too much current through a resistor causes it to smoke. Terrance and his group also get the students interested in Morse Code. It is amazing how a modern child, who has grown up with a cell phone, will be interested. They seem to love the competition of reading simple words and phrases. This gets them interacting with each other.

Terrance hopes to teach them responsibility to their peers and to the community. He tells them about how Hams are closely involved in emergency response. He tells them of the communications practice and the exercises that they go through. Through his example and his stories he lets them know that it is all right for someone to care about their community and to help make it a good place to live. He gives of his time and expertise because it is the right thing to do and models his core value of "give if it’s in you to give".

As if that were not enough Terrance is the Western representative for Radio Amateurs Canada in Youth Education and has started up a new Canadian society called YEARS -Youth Education thru Amateur Radio Society.

"I have had the privilege of watching Terrance create relationship with youth and mentoring them in gaining competency in a skill that they would otherwise not have exposure to within the school setting. Terrance makes a positive difference in the lives of these students."

Parents Choice Award

Wendy Cox, Tarj Mann, Deirdre Potter, Marka Beckett

This year's Parent Choice Award recipient is Mrs. Deirdre Potter of Braefoot Elementary School. Mrs. Potter is an incredible teacher with an innate ability to motivate and encourage learning. She teaches the children about their responsibilities in their role as students and the importance of respect and consideration of others. She does this in a very soft-spoken, positive, even-tempered manner. She is a creative teacher with over 40 years of experience who challenges her grade one class to work hard in all their subjects.

Most days her car is still in the parking lot after 5 pm and she is in her classroom working. She makes herself available to parents to discuss any issues/concerns that they may have regarding their children. Parents always feel that their child is important. She understands and acknowledges all individual personalities within the classroom and meets the needs of each of the children.

Mrs. Potter is not only a grade one teacher but also teaches drama at Braefoot. This year at the Christmas Concert, Mrs. Potter had 36-40 students who wanted to be a part of Drama. At the spring performance, she had almost 60 students. She writes the scripts for each performance and chooses appropriate roles for every child to participate.

A unique quality that stands out about Mrs Potter is that within a classroom, she can create so many individual rules, expectations and considerations for each of her children, and yet at the same time have "common" expectations for the class as a whole. She demonstrates true dedication, enthusiasm and passion on a daily basis. Her commitment and devotion to the children is consistently evident.

Inspirational PAC Award

Ted Weick, Jason Easton

As a director on the VCPAC board and an ex South Park Parent, it was my honour to present the PAC from South Park Family school the Inspirational PAC award. This award was presented to South Park for the example it provides to the district and other PACs for parent participation at all levels in the education program at that school.

Respect for the parent voice is strong at South Park School and builds a firm model for how issues are present and discussed. In the past 10 years there have been many contentious and divisive issues brought to the PAC - acceptance of Gaming Funds, seismic upgrades, appropriate fundraising schemes name just a few that South Park has dealt with. Discussion is always lively, honest, heartfelt and respected. People on either sides of the discussion are passionate about their beliefs and support of the students in the school. Discussion always centers back to the core values defined in the PACs Constitution.

There are always parents in the school as the parents, teachers and admin staff have a strong belief that it is a community that educates the students and everyone has a role to play whether it be in the classroom helping a teacher, out on the school grounds, on a field trip, in the PAC Board meetings or in the bigger world - it all impacts how we as parents and members of an educational community model behaviour to the students at that and other schools. Parents from South Park are often highly involve community supporters and activists.

At most PAC Board meetings, attendance at the meetings rival that of most VCPAC meetings as there is representation from each of the divisions as well as all the chairs are in attendance. At general meetings, quorum is always exceeded and people are given the chance to be heard - especially if the issue is contentious. The high level of parent participation and activism in this school makes it a logical choice as the recipient of the Inspirational PAC award for 2008/09.