Before digging into two days of in-service to prepare for the upcoming school year, South Slave Divisional Education Council superintendent Curtis Brown stood before a full gymnasium at Princess Alexandra School last Thursday to pay homage to teachers and members of the community who had made celebrated contributions.
The SSDEC, along with honouring three teachers from the board including Diamond Jenness Secondary School teacher Chuck Lirette, honoured the Hay River Interagency at this year’s Excellence in Education awards ceremony.
Representatives from the Council noted that while many community-based interagency committees can emerge and recede, the Hay River Committee has endured steadily since 2008.
Brown recounted their formation. Since the death of Const. Chris Worden in 2007, the community grappled with how to take on the task of dealing with negative impact of drugs and alcohol in the community.
Among the components of the interagency committee are officials from the RCMP, Hay River schools, the K’atl’odeeche First Nation, the town, the District Education Authority, Community Counselling Services, the Recreation Board, the Youth Centre Board, the Ministerial and Lights On cultural programming.
Some of the programming, harm reduction, instilling leadership and several youth targeted campaigns, have gained notice as far as organizations down south who are looking to adopt the model.
“The Hay River Interagency has been very productive since 2008,” said Brown.
“They’re a model for communities and organizations.”
On behalf of the SSDEC, Brown also lauded Virginia English, Janice Fehr, and Lirette.
English, a teacher in Lutsel K’e, was recognized for her dedication to students and community and exemplary engagement with students for literacy initiatives.
Fehr was recognized with a standing ovation, and awarded for her extensive work and dedicated contribution to literacy and for implementing the Council’s Leadership for Literacy initiative.
And Hay River’s own Lirette was recognized for his ability to engage and teach all while entertaining his students.
While SSDEC Chairperson Ann Pischinger noted that it was unusual four awards in the same year, the endowment is not without some thought.
“It seemed unfair to reduce the recognition to just two of these very deserving recipients,” said Pischinger. “We are proud of all our staff and partners as they are continually raising the bar with their dedication and commitment to improvement.”