Airdrie City View's Community Newsmakers of the Year
| Posted: Thursday, Dec 26, 2013 06:00 am
Local Realtor Matt Carre created Airdrie Angels, a non-profit program that aims to provide help for those struggling with life-threatening diseases in January. Carre and his wife Michelle were inspired by the Make A Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. The program had assisted 12 people by the middle of December.
Stephenís Backpacks Society started off 2013 on a high note. In July, the groupís annual Canada Day barbecue collected more than 100 new pairs of childrenís shoes and monetary donations for the organizationís Footprints campaign. For the 2013 Christmas backpacks campaign, the organization teamed up with 200 Starbucks coffee stores across Alberta to collect money and items for backpacks from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15. In November, TransCanada Pipelineís Rocky Mountain Region announced they had a toy drive for the charity, collecting hundred of toys for the cause.
Bert Church High School The school had a big year. Principal Pam Davidson was on hand to celebrate the schoolís victory in the Under Armour Finding Undeniable contest in January. The $100,000 prize was used to purchase new uniforms for the schoolís sports teams. The online contest required the schoolsí students to complete challenges that were determined by Under Armour and included everything from sending in photos of the schoolís trophy case to videotaping chants and cheers. In May, Bert Church High School students Mel Boccabella, Sami Stockwood and Rachel McCarvill wrote an essay that won the school a visit from local Olympian Mellisa Hollingsworth. BCHS teachers were also honoured this year with an Excellence in Teaching Award for teacher Jennifer Williams in May. Lindsay Rous won a 2013 Teacher Award complete with a $2,000 prize from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta. Phyllis McCallum-Hunter, a Bert Church parent and school council member, won the Parent of Distinction Award from the Alberta School Councilsí Association in May.
Local businessman and partner of Hassett & Reid received the Airdrie Business Leader Award in October. During his acceptance speech, Hassett encouraged business owners to write a community plan, similar to writing a business plan, to outline how they can give back to the community. Hassett is heavily involved in Airdrie Housing Limited (AHL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the City of Airdrie, that offers clean, safe homes at affordable rents, as well as a rent supplement program.
Students at Bert Church High School had the unique opportunity to speak into space on March 11, as Letís Talk Science and the Canadian Space Agency held a downlink, connecting Commander Chris Hadfield to Airdrie. Before the connection was established with the Space Station, former astronaut Bob Thirsk spoke to students about the space station, which he called home in 2009.
The young singer from Airdrie competed in the Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts held this year March 18 to 23 and was selected to attend the Provincial Music Festival in Edmonton May 29. Low competed in the girls voice competition against 21 girls and also performed in the musical theatre category against 25 competitors. This is the second year in a row Low was chosen to move on to provincials, and the second time she placed second. Besides playing the piano, French horn and she is also taking private voice lessons.
She was nominated for the 2013 Amazing Airdrie Women - Amazing Determination Awards, an award for a woman who has confronted challenges with perseverance and resolve in April. AIRScares, the Boys and Girls Club annual haunted house fundraiser was once again a huge success. The event, that was held for a number of nights near Halloween in the old RCMP building on Edmonton Trail, raised $26,613 for B&G Club programming.
Ushakov was the senior organizer for George McDougall High Schoolís Rise of the Mustangs two-day bike-a-thon fundraiser that raised $132,852 for Alberta Childrenís Hosptial Foundation from April 24 to 26. The money was raised by 65 teams who biked for 48 hours in the George McDougall gymnasium for the Alberta Childrenís Hospital Foundation and the Oncology Unit.
Country music star and former Airdrie resident Paul Brandt was on hand to kick off George McDougall High Schoolís Rise of the Mustangs bike-a-thon fundraiser that raised $132,852 for Alberta Childrenís Hospital Foundation. He said he was excited to visit his former school and see the efforts of the student body. Brandt also received a Diamond Jubilee medal from Prime Minister Stephen Harper in June.
The Grade 6 Ralph McCall teacher had quite the year. In May, the Airdrie Space Science Club (ASSC), founded by Jackson, launched the ABE 3 air balloon at the Beiseker Airport. A five-foot helium-filled balloon was sent into space with a video camera and a photo of the schoolís Grade 6 class so when the balloon landed, children got to see their faces in space. The involved educator received the Certificate of Excellence from Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa on Nov. 19 for his passion and innovation in teaching.
These accolades follow Jackson receiving the Prime Ministers Teaching Awards, Certificate of Achievement by Richards in a ceremony at Ralph McCall on Nov. 14, 2012 and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) Teacherís Award, one of 20 given in the province in June 27 of last year.