School Notes: trustee forums; PK grad wins scholarship

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Trustee forums

St. Albert voters will get to see their trustee candidates in action next week at two public forums.

St. Albert’s public and Greater St. Albert Catholic trustee candidates will debate the latest questions in education at public forums this Tuesday and Friday.

All seven St. Albert Public candidates have been invited to the public board forum Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at Bellerose Composite, said Janvier Rousseau, who organized the event on behalf of the St. Albert Public Teachers’ Local 73. The event is meant to help residents learn more about their candidates, and is scheduled so as to not overlap with the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce forum later that night.

Moderator and past union president Bernie Poulin will ask the trustees various questions written by union members during the hour-long event and take questions from the floor.

The Catholic forum is Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. in the basement of the St. Albert Catholic Parish hall, and is a joint venture of the parish and Holy Family Parish, said moderator Mark Guevarra. All six St. Albert ward candidates have been invited.

Guevarra said he would ask the candidates three questions: one on the Catholicity of schools, a second on being a Catholic teacher, and a third on sexual diversity and inclusion. Candidates have been told the topics in advance but not the wording of the questions. After that, there will be questions from the floor and a meet-and-greet session.

Email Rousseau at jaarousseau@gmail.com to ask about the public board forum and Guevarra at mark.guevarra@caedm.ca for the Catholic one.

STAR scholarship

A Paul Kane graduate has received an international scholarship for her work in helping others overcome cyberbullying.

Paul Kane graduate Sydney Parkinson received a $2,500 STAR scholarship from the PEO Sisterhood – an international philanthropic group based in the U.S. that aims to help women get into post-secondary – Tuesday at the Arden Theatre as part of the school’s annual awards ceremony. (The award was a symbolic certificate, as she’d received the actual money back in September.)

Parkinson was one of about 500 people who received this scholarship this year, which goes to those who are “shining stars” in their community in terms of leadership, extracurricular activities, community service, academics and potential future success, said Diane Charles, vice-president of the PEO Sisterhood’s St. Albert branch. Parkinson is also the first person nominated by the St. Albert branch to actually get the award.

Parkinson, 18, has given many public talks on cyberbullying as a member of St. Albert’s Building Assets and Memories (BAM) team. In 2014, she gave a talk at the St. Albert Public Library about how she was blackmailed by another student over Instagram, and how parents could help teens in similar situations.

“Sydney took a really unfortunate situation in her life and she turned it around,” Charles said, using it to help others.

“She’s an incredibly mature young lady.”

Parkinson said she was thrilled when she got the news about the award last August.

“It’s a huge honour to be recognized.”

Parkinson said she’d spoken to many junior high classes about cyberbullying and last year helped plan a conference on youth issues in St. Albert. She’s now studying psychology at MacEwan University.

“I find huge joy in being able to help people,” she said, when asked why, and she wanted to help others through their life struggles.

“If I can have an impact on one person, that’s enough for me.”

Any Grade 12 girls interested in the STAR scholarship should call Charles at 780-717-4168 or visit peointernational.org. The deadline for applications is Nov. 1.

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Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.