If You Look To The West The STARS Shine!

Being able to have sports teams is a challenge facing schools in rural locations. The schools that are located on the west end of Parkland County have come up with a solution to this challenge. The solution is to join together and combine our children and resources. This allows our children to experience the joy of being on a sports team. The schools involved are Wabamun, Entwistle, Seba Beach, and Tomahawk, and it’s just a coincidence that the when abbreviated the school names spell WEST.

This fall the principle of these schools met and decided that it was definitely a win-win situation for everyone involved to make a combined team. The students that want to play on a school sports team will get the opportunity to do just that. This takes a little more dedication from the students and parents because it is not as easy as staying after school for practise. Some students on the team must now travel to the practices  depending on which school is the host school. So far, Seba Beach has been the host school. This was a challenge that most students and parents were willing to take so that they can play the sports they love.

This school year there were two West End teams for volleyball, with students coming from Wabamun, Seba Beach and Tomahawk. The teams formed were a junior girls’ team, coached by Katherine Kindrat (Seba Teacher) and a senior girls’ team coached by Stephanie Khondowe-Wong (Seba Teacher). It was a season of growth and learning for the players, coaches and parents. It was a season of success for the junior and senior girls. Both teams overcame obstacles and developed friendships that will continue to grow throughout the school years.

The junior girls WEST STARS were able to reach a high level of success this season. They had their shares of wins and losses throughout the regular season. The team attended two tournaments. The first tournament at Living Waters helped these girls to see that they were just as good as all the other teams. The second tournament closer to the end of the season at Spruce Grove Composite High school was where these STARS really began to shine brightly. The girls played hard and came together as a team should and made it to the Association finals. The final match was very close and the girls came home with Second place, beating out many schools in Parkland County that have not had to face the challenges of combining students from different schools to make a team. It was wonderful to see!

When the tryouts were held for basketball, the turnout was awesome. There were enough boys and girls from the four schools that three teams will be made for the basketball season. From this turnout there was a developmental team formed with grade 5 and 6 students coached by Mr. Ferzli (Seba Teacher), a senior girls’ team coached by Katherine Kindrat (Seba Teacher) and a senior boy’s team also coached by Mr. Ferzli.

The season has already started and although the outcomes of the games have not been in the WEST STARS favor so far, we just need a little while to get the team polished up so we can really shine out there! It looks to be a busy season for all those involved. A four-School basket-ball team is another first for Parkland County West End Schools and is another exciting first for the WEST STARS sports team.

The game schedule has been made with games being held on Tuesdays after 4pm start, the tournament dates set with the Memorial Tournament on February 15th and 16th and the Championship Basketball tournament will be held March 5,6,7,8,9 & 11th in Stony Plain or Spruce Grove. The players are excited for this opportunity to come together and shine.


Musicians in the WEST

There are many advantages to living and working in rural Alberta. The small community feel, the atmosphere and the being connected is wonderful. It sometimes reminds me of the atmosphere that was presented in the television series CHEERS, the place where everyone knows your name.

This being said there are some disadvantages to living this peaceful, less hectic, less busy life style. The largest disadvantage is the difficulty in accessing some of the amenities that exist within the urban centers. One of these such elements is the ability to access and participate in cultural/musical events that for the most part do not play in towns or villages where the population is less that 1000.

To help facilitate this, the Resiliency Coordinator at our division office worked diligently to create and implement a Music/Artist in house program at Seba Beach, that would benefit not just Seba Beach but also the other three schools in the area, Tomahawk, Entwistle and Wabamun.

The music integration began at Seba Beach on Thursday, October 4th with The arrival and mini-concert put on by The J.D. Edwards Band. This event was sponsored by The Stony Plain Reporter and made available with a lot of work by Parkland School Divisions Resiliency Coordinator.

The JD Edwards Band is a 6 piece Winnipeg based group with a fascinating history and a brand
new story to tell. Together since 2006, this ever evolving group is driven by the uniquely infectious,
engaging and heartfelt songwriting of band leader JD Edwards. With a truly original voice and a
knack for crafting amazing songs, JD is able to capture every listener with an honest and uniquely
personal touch. From gentle and melodic to fierce and powerful JD’s voice has a sound that
embraces diversity as a strength. JD’s eclectic songwriting style draws from a wide variety of
musical experiences, honing a loud and gritty repertoire heavily influenced by Country, Blues,
R & B, and Soul. Delivered with a contagious optimism and energy, each performance JD is able
to draw in audiences with a real sense of musical purity. Offering a full pallet of textures and
sounds the JD Edwards Band always manages to musically acknowledge their influences without
compromising their ingenuity or principle. As a full group the band delivers time and time again
with the subtlety and power required to capture their original and highly appealing signature
sound. Now with a self titled first release, a live acoustic record and the proud release of their third
disc (Roads & Roads 2011) the JD Edwards Band is geared to hit the road and deliver its own brand
of infectious Canadian music tailored to appeal to all.

Here is a little Video that was created to capture the event – Enjoy

Lee from the Stony Plain reporter also came out to join us on this exciting day, and we appreciated him coming out and more importantly for The Stony Plain Reporter for sponsoring the event. It gave the students of the three schools some insight to choosing music as a methods of expression and provided the students with an experience that many of them may not have had.


Starting off the 2012-2013 with Flying Bob

Every year, I am sure that Principals and School staff diligently plan and organize the first day of school activities. These activities are to not only start off the year on a positive note, but also to welcome and inspire the students and teachers about the upcoming year. Some schools hold prep rallies, some have huge meetings, some only have a welcome in the morning and it is off to class.

This year at Seba Beach, we thought we would try something that had not been done in some time. The students went to their classes in the morning to meet with their peers and with their teachers, to get important information about their classes and share their adventures over the summer.

In the afternoon, as always we planned to have cake (Chocolate and Vanilla) and hot dogs. As an additive this year we invited Flying Bob – a motivational speaker and entertainer to finish off the school day.

I would love to explain the amount of fun that the students had, however my literary skills would not do the experience justice. Therefore please enjoy our quick trailer video and please share what your school does for the first day of classes.