Monday, June 28, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead Monday, June 28, 2010

Pacific Coast school celebrates its first graduation, UNBC and Northern Health forge stronger ties and the HST is but days away, some of the items of note from Monday's news files.

Daily News front page headline story 
PACIFIC COAST SCHOOL HONOURS ITS FIRST GRADUATES -- Details of the Pacific Coast School graduation ceremony of last week, which saw five students graduate from the program.

UNBC and Northern Health have moved forward the process of better co-ordination and delivery health services in Northern BC with the signing of a memorandum of Understanding to improve and expand their relationship.

With the arrival of the HST but days away now, the Daily begins a three part series examining the issues of the HST.

The Sports section features a review of the weekend action at the Prince Rupert Centennial Golf course which saw action with the Vic Marion Seniors tournament.

(Daily News archive for Monday June 28, 2010)

Pacific Coast School honours its first graduates
UNBC and Northern Health sign MOU
Cullen open to expenditure review
HST - It's about time or not so hot?
New book takes young readers across the country

The Northern View 
No new items were posted to the Northern View website on Monday

CFTK TV 7 News 
No new local items were posted to the CFTK TV 7 website for Monday. 

CBC News Northern BC
Daybreak North Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now.

The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

 Daily News, front page, headline story
Pacific Coast School honours its first graduates  
By George T. Baker 
Staff Writer
Prince Rupert Daily News
Monday, June 28, 2010

It’s not just a school - it’s home.

Pacific Coast School held its first graduation ceremony the evening of Thursday, June 24 and it accentuated everything that is different about the secondary school.

Dinner, family and friends – the sense of familiarity – heightened by the event’s close quarters in the penthouse of the Coast Hotel; a change from the usual pomp that surrounds the graduation ceremonies at Charles Hays Secondary School and Prince Rupert Secondary School. It’s not better, according to local educators. It’s different.

Five grads were sent on their way to the next stage of their lives armed with a secondary education, a reality the students felt they may have never realized had it not been for PCS.

“I think it an important point to remember that the world is made up of many small villages. This is an education village,” said PCS principal Steve Riley.

Riley is leaving School District 52 at the end of the school year to take on a new challenge in Gitwinsilk in the Nass Valley.

Still it was his vision along with founding teachers Doug Brown and Miguel Borges that saw this first class through to graduation.

Unfortunately Borges, who has also taken on a principal role in the Nass, could not attend Thursday’s ceremony. But he was acknowledged along with Brown and current teachers Tannis Calder and Janilee Olsen for their work in seeing the first batch of graduates through.

Valedictorian Kyle Bolton, speaking for fellow graduates Rodney Bolton. Sabrina Alexcee, Tanya Cahoose and Sharon Nelson, thanked the teaching staff for all their hard work in making sure their successes were tangible and not just dreams.

“I would like to thank them all for the past couple of years that I attended alternate school,” a grateful Bolton said.

However, Bolton said there was one person who deserved a great deal of gratitude for her aptitude in keeping them on track in the morning and making sure they arrived at school on time.

 “There is one person that I deeply appreciate. [School secretary] Jan Currie. She was the one who was pushing me, and all of graduates here, too, to get to school. If any of us weren’t there by 9:30 am then guess who was calling for us? So Jan, from the bottom of my heart I thank you.”

A special bouquet of flowers was handed to retiring Assistant Superintendent Leah Robinson, who was credited with driving the PCS initiative at the School District office.

Proud families along with delegates from the school board, the City and North Coast MLA Gary Coons were on hand to help celebrate the momentous evening.

For a school that faced many challenges from the public and the City as to where it would open, Thursday also marked the greatest benchmark for not only the students but also for Prince Rupert in moving on from what was a troubling time in the community’s history.

“You are needed here. You are wanted here. We need you to carry our community forward. In whatever your definition of success is. Know that you are in charge and accountable for your success. And don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve it. You have proven so much today. On behalf of City council and I’m sure for everyone in this room, we are honoured to be in your presence. Good luck for the next 20, 30, 40 and 100 years,” said acting Mayor Kathy Bedard.

Coons, who taught at the Prince Rupert Alternate School in the early 80s, said he realized the importance of programs for young adults who find the regular school system incompatible with those needs.

“I really want to acknowledge the staff at the school for the work they put in. And acknowledge how proud all the families must be of the graduates,” said Coons.

Superintendent Lynn Hauptman also recognized the magnitude of the event for the little school that could.

“Well done. I wish you the vision and the ability to work hard and see and reach for your dreams. But please do so in a way that makes both you proud and your families proud. I know that your families are very proud,” saluted Hauptman.

Chair Tina Last, a former alternate school grad herself, said that this graduation was very special to her. 

“Just as parents aren’t supposed to have favourite children, I am not supposed to have favourite graduations. But I do. As a former alternate student myself, this is a favourite of mine and always has been. There are many reasons to attend PCS. But generally speaking it is the result of the mainstream system not meeting your individual needs or your style of learning. That’s where my bias lies. You have succeeded,” said Last.

The style of schooling at PCS is the very foundation the school was built on. A more inclusive style with principals, teachers, students, parents and community elders often found in the same room teaching and learning. That style has made the school so appealing that there are now 75 students enrolled at the school, 35 full-time. The numbers have blown away the school’s teaching staff, who were expecting perhaps 20 to 30 students at the maximum by this time in the school’s history.

Tsimshian elder Leonard Alexcee, who reminded the audience of the important stuff in life, accentuated that point. Alexcee along with his wife Mona are lovingly called “Grandpa” and “Grandma” for their positive roles in supporting the students as they attend classes.

“Grandpa” said there was a very special reason he liked going to school everyday – the fresh bowl of apples that sit in the centre of the school’s foyer each day.

 “Best apples in town,” said Alexcee.

But it was the students who mattered the most on this day. The five graduates symbolized all that is positive about the school.

Relieved that she was finally done with secondary school and had her high school diploma, Sabrina Alexcee was precise in what would have happened to her had PCS never existed.

“Without the school, I don’t think I would have graduated. They never gave up on us,” she said.

“It’s not just a school. It’s like a home.”

No comments: