The Peace River School Division (PRSD) kicked off the 2023-24 school year with an event for school educators and administrators on Thursday, August 31 at the Mile Zero Regional Multiplex, in Grimshaw.
Event attendees were welcomed by Deputy Superintendent Jeff Thompson. Elder Dave Matilipi brought greetings and opened the days’ events with a land acknowledgement. This was followed by a recording of Matilipi’s granddaughter, singer-songwriter Kassidy Dachuk, singing “O Canada” in the Cree language. It was noted that this recording is also played every Wednesday morning at Grimshaw Public School.
The Kick-Off event was meant to encourage staff as they begin the new year.
“I believe anyone who chooses to work in public education is a leader and a role model for our youth. As a leader you must believe in yourself and model characteristics and virtues that are inspiring to the students and communities we serve. And, above all else, you must lead those you are responsible for to achieve success. You must be inspirational in your views and actions and your commitment to learning. For there is no greater gift one can give or receive than the gift of education,” said Superintendent Adam Murray.
Keynote speaker Martin Noskey expanded on Murray’s remarks by sharing his own personal experience as a former student at both the former Kennedy Elementary and Grimshaw Jr./Sr. High Schools in Grimshaw. Noskey said he was not a student who achieve high-academic success, but he was a student athlete.
Noskey recounted that during his senior high school years, his teacher and coaching mentor asked him what his plan was for life after high school. Noskey replied by explaining he hoped to play hockey in university. It wasn’t until that teacher told Noskey he couldn’t get into university with a 46 per cent academic average that Noskey said he knew something had to change.
“That was the first inspirational thing that he did for me as a mentor, as a coach and as an educator. He said if you want this, this is what you have got to do,” Noskey said. “Sometimes it’s just the littlest things that help.”
“You guys truly do have influence,” said Noskey to the educators present at the Kick-Off event. “If it wasn’t for them (Noskey’s teachers) – it wouldn’t be good.”
Noskey improved his grades and went on to graduate from the University of Alberta with a degree in kinesiology and exercise science and later from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology as a journeyman electrician. Most recently, Noskey is employed as a coaching facilitator at the National Coaching Certification Program.
He has travelled the world playing volleyball in Australia, Greece, Brazil, Spain and the United States. He was also a member of the Canadian Masters Team, earning two silver medals.