Students learn with Pet Partners
Students at RWZ love having the Pet Partner teams visit the school! The students read to their Pet Partners and the animals are extremely patient and kind as they put up with endless cuddles and petting, which helps the students (and staff) regulate. Thank you to Michelle and Polo, Teresa, Polo and Moose, Helen and Tatum, and Kiera and Rosie for stopping by RWZ!
Sacred Teaching of Love
Throughout February students and staff focused on the Sacred Teaching of Love. Using the Pink Shirt Day activities and assembly, they worked on loving each other and themselves. A group of Grade 6 students made a gigantic mirror for students to add positive affirmations to, and on March 1, World Compliments Day, students were challenged with giving three genuine compliments to three people, including themselves. Loving and caring for nature and the environment was also discussed.
Ms. Kimble's Kindergarten class spent time discussing what it means to be kind. They discussed different ways they could be kind and loving to animals. The students decided they would help the birds in the community by building heartfelt bird feeders to get them through the rest of winter.
Rare Diseases Day
February 28 was Rare Diseases Day, but students and staff acknowledged it a day early for Kindergarten student Addison. Addison has a very rare disease called NESCAV Syndrome, a KIF1A-related disease, which is both progressive and degenerative. Because there are only 400 diagnosed cases worldwide, funds for research are minimal.
The RWZ community wants to bring attention not only to Addison's disease, but to this amazing person they have come to know. She works extremely hard each and every day to do many things that others take for granted. She is loved by her school family, and they want to do what they can to support her and other kids just like her.
If you would like to donate to KIF1A research click here
. The superhero RWZ is supporting is Addison Brock.
Jump Rope for Heart
Throughout February students and staff were busy choosing easy goals to become healthier as part of the school's Jump Rope for Heart campaign. They could pledge to eat more fruits and vegetables, be more active every day, keep screen time to less than two hours a day, or say "yes" to water and "no" to sugary drinks. Several students chose more than one goal!
On March 2, RWZ held its Jump Rope for Heart Jump-Off to determine the Champion Jumper. The students had lots of practice, with over 500,000 jumps in the five days leading up to the contest. The goal was to see who could jump the most time in 30 seconds. Each contestant was chosen to represent their class, and was awarded a skipping rope and a snazzy new water bottle. The ultimate winner was Bennett Dika from Miss Rorem's 5B class. Way to go Bennett!
The school's Jump Rope for Heart campaign was very successful, and raised nearly $2000!
A Monster Surprise
Last month Mrs. Brown's 1B class worked with two Grade 9 classes from Sexsmith Secondary School on a collaboration project. The Grade 1 students read monster books and then drew their own monsters with their Grade 9 partners. What the Grade 1s didn't know was that their Grade 9 partner was going to created a stuffed version of their very own monster! Two weeks after their initial meeting, the SSS students arrived with their unique creations, and the younger students were thrilled!
Donations for RWZ Breakfast Program
Generous donations from Sundown Oilfield Services
and Tower Services Ltd.
have allowed RWZ to introduce a breakfast program! Headed up by Mrs. Draves and Mrs. Mullen, the program feeds anywhere from 50-100 students each morning. Students head to the flex space where they enjoy food and a little fellowship with other students before starting their day.
All students are welcome to participate in the breakfast program, and they eat together so there is never any judgement. Many of RWZ's families have offered to donate items for this valuable, popular program, and we appreciate everyone's generosity. We'd also like thank Liam Head and Olivia Jobson from SSS for helping set up the program as part of a citizenship project. Olivia still comes each Wednesday morning to help out! We love having former RWZ students in the building!
A visit with MP, Chris Warkentin
RWZ Grade 6 students and teachers enjoyed a visit from MP, Chris Warkentin! The students have been learning about how Canadians are governed and created a list of questions related to Mr. Warkentin's work and life (and social studies curriculum). Mr. Warkentin spoke of his passion for both the Peace Country and advocating for local residents. When he discovered that the students were celebrating Literacy Week he shared that he enjoys reading biographies about influential people and that his favourite book to read his children is When You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Thank you Mr. Warkentin for taking the time to visit RWZ!
The Breadwinner leads to community connections
After reading the book, The Breadwinner, 6C students learned that there are eight refugee families from Afghanistan living in Grande Prairie. Sexsmith resident Lucille Partington is a strong advocate for these women who faced danger from the Taliban. Adele, Rehane, Bibijan, and Nargis shared about their lives before fleeing their country and how they are adjusting here in Alberta.
The students also learned how they can help refugees by contacting our MP with questions or concerns. They brought food and grocery gift cards to help the women, and hope that next time they bring their children to play some games!
Thank you to Mrs. Ochoga for creating opportunities for the students to learn about the world and open their hearts to those around us. And thank you to Mrs. Partington for sharing your time, knowledge, and passion for helping others with our young population.
National Ribbon Skirt Day
On January 4, students and staff at RWZ celebrated the first ever National Ribbon Skirt Day
. Piper brought in her own beautiful ribbon skirt, that her Kookum made her when she was just eight years old, to share with her 6C class. Piper's Kookum made the ribbon skirt as she prayed for her own healing and shares, "I was working on my sobriety and getting back into my Cree way of life and identity. I focused on pink and purple to represent [Piper] and part of my helping [her] with traditional teachings."
Thank you Tracey McLean for sharing your knowledge and traditional teachings with the RWZ community. Ribbon skirts were exposed through lessons from the PWPSD Indigenous Education Services team, and we are grateful to Rachelle Bell and the rest of the team for continuing to teach our students and staff about Indigenous culture.
Our Wednesday Warrior
Kindergarten student Addison has been busy motoring through the school on her adaptive tricycle, on loan from another family who had one they were no longer using. The hallways, gym, and flex space provide the perfect spaces for Addison to ride her tricycle, and she always has a big smile on her face (and a little giggle) as she leaves Mrs. Trydal chasing behind her.
Addison was recently featured as a Wednesday Warrior on the KIF1A.org Facebook page. KIF1A.org
is a global community dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by KIF1A Associated Neurological Disorder and accelerating research to find a cure.
Before the Christmas break, Miss Lindsay and the 1C class had a wonderful time decorating their very own cupcakes at Crumbs Café and Pizzeria
. The children were very impressed with the gingerbread house and loved hearing how it was baked and decorated. "Our Community" is a huge part of the Grade 1 Social Studies curriculum, and the students loved exploring the awesome community of Sexsmith. Thank you Taylor and the staff at Crumbs for being so welcoming and patient with our Grade 1s, they were so excited!
RWZ and SSS learning together
Mrs. Brown's Grade 1 students had the opportunity to work with Mrs. Fedchuk and Mrs. Hartman's Grade 9 classes from Sexsmith Secondary School. They read monster books and drew their own monsters with a Grade 9 partner. The Grade 9 students are now using these drawings to create their final project, a surprise for their Grade 1 partner, which will be presented next month. All the students enjoyed their time together and the Grade 9s are looking forward to the big reveal!
Spreading Christmas cheer
Meghan and Rachelle from the PWPSD Indigenous Education Services
team spent some time at RWZ, spreading Christmas cheer with an Indigenous culture twist. The Grade 1-4 students had a wonderful time creating special decorations and delicious tipis! Meghan has been working hard to help RWZ indigenize the school's learning spaces, and her dedication to our school and students is very appreciated!
What if Christmas doesn't come from a store?
Students and staff have kicked off the holiday season with Grinch Day! Students have been challenged to participate in daily kindness activities to help grow their hearts three sizes, just like the Grinch!
Volleyball wraps up
The Grade 5/6 volleyball season came to an end with tournaments at Whispering Ridge Community School and St. Mary Catholic School. It was great to see the players use their newly acquired skills as they improved with each game. Thank you to Mr. Toews, Mrs. Ochoga, Mrs. Boivert, Miss Rorem, and Miss Christensen for their time, patience, and encouragement throughout the entire season. We would also like to say a big thank you to all the parents who came out to support the budding volleyball players. It was great to have the gym full of people and be able to visit other schools again!
Writer in Residence
On November 30, Canadian author and this year's RWZ Writer in Residence Sigmund Brouwer spent a fun-filled day with everyone! Students in Grade 2-6 participated in a Writer's Workshop, and the whole school spent time with Sigmund at the end of the day, learning about how to make their writing more interesting and exciting. The students left their workshops and the presentation very excited about writing!
Mr. Wilson and his 5C class have a special relationship with Sigmund, and they got the chance to help choose the name of his latest novel! He even promised to name one of his characters after someone in 5C; we can't wait to see who the lucky person will be!
RWZ says farewell to student teachers
Left to right: Miss Murphy, Miss Dolen, Miss Christensen
We love having student teachers at RWZ! Fourth year U of A students Miss Murphy and Miss Christensen are finishing up their practicums with Mrs. Girvan's 4B class and Mrs. Muggaberg's 3B class. Miss Dolan, who is in her third year of the TEN program, is completing her practicum with Mr. Hovdebo's 5A class. The kids love having these young teachers at the schools and we so appreciate the mentorship that our veteran teachers provide. We know these three will be great additions to the profession!
The Movember winner is...
Every student and staff member wore moustaches to their celebratory school-wide assembly.
Congratulations to everyone on a very successful Movember! The RWZ team exceeded its goal and raised over $3000 for men's physical and mental health! The team collected money online and the students and staff chipped in by paying to buy moustache-themed merchandise and vote for their favourite moustache.
The 2022 winner of the RWZ Movember movement is Mr. Hovdebo! Thank you to everyone for voting and helping spread awareness of the importance of talking about our physical and mental health.
Movember 2014 and 2015
Since 2014 Mr. Wilson has been convincing his male colleagues at RWZ to participate in the Movember movement. What started as a trickle of two has grown into a tsunami, with all six of the male staff members committing to grow moustaches to raise awareness and money for men's mental and physical health.
The students and rest of the staff get on board by buying fake moustaches and paying to cast a vote for their favourite stache. Since 2014 Team RWZ has raised over $12,000 for the Movember movement and, more importantly, made it okay for men to talk about their mental and physical health, which is the real goal.
If you would like to support Team RWZ and help them reach their goal click here
. You will also get a chance to vote for your favourite moustache on the school's Facebook page at the end of the month. Who will win this year's title? Will it be Mr. C, Mr. Hovdebo, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Toews, Mr. Warr, or Mr. Forney?
Aquatera to the rescue
On October 27 the Town of Sexsmith was put under a boil water advisory, which sent staff into a bit of a panic. However, there was no need for concern as Aquatera was at the school first thing the next morning with a pallet of water for students and staff, and returned the following Monday with even more.
During this time the school was hosting a food drive for the Sexsmith Food Bank. Not only were they able to collect over 1000 food items, but they were able to present a cheque of $178.20 from the water bottles they recycled. Students and staff were excited to be able to pass on the kindness!
Celebrating five cancer-free years
The entire RWZ community came together to not only blow their fundraising goal out of the water, but to set a new school record! To celebrate Mrs. Rorem's fifth year of being cancer-free, the school set an ambitious goal to raise $5555 for the Terry Fox Foundation. The students and staff worked hard and their efforts paid off with a grand total of $7877! Congratulations Robert W. Zahara students and staff, and a big congratulations to Mrs. Rorem!
1A earned themselves a pizza party as the top K-3 class, raising $795.
5C was the top 4-6 class with a total of $1531, thanks in large part to Evan Sellwood who raised over $1000 himself!
Top fundraiser Even Sellwood with his new Terry Fox t-shirt.
Building connection through food
Food has a way of bringing people together, and that has definitely been true at RWZ. The giant fruit bowl is back, and the students have been excited to be able to wander down to the flex space to get a healthy snack.
Veggie Share returns after a three year hiatus! Families send in vegetables and help create massive trays of colourful goodness for each class.
Mrs. Rose Shmyruk, former Administrative Assistant and Ukrainian egg decorator and translator, made fresh stone soup with the leftover vegetables!
RWZ excited to welcome Ukrainian family
At the end of September, students at RWZ will welcome a new friend all the way from Ukraine. The 1C class has been busy making a welcome poster and slideshow to greet their new classmate. The presentation includes a photo and introduction of each student, and is being translated into Ukrainian so their classmate's parents can help them feel welcomed into the RWZ family.
Connecting with the community
On September 15, the school hosted its Back to School barbeque. RWZ was thrilled to be able to host its families and connect with everyone after so long. A big thank you goes out to the event sponsor, Dynamic Energy, and to Jesse Morgan and Brett Kachmarski, who stood at the barbeque and cooked hundreds of hot dogs and hamburgers for the appreciative crowd!
Students are excited to be able to have Reading Buddies this year. The program is a great way to build relationships between the older and younger students, while boosting their confidence and reading skills.
On Fridays we wear red
September 16 was the school's first Red Shirt Day of the school year. Each Friday, students and staff are invited to show their school spirit and rock the school's colour. If you're walking through the halls on a Friday, you might even hear the school's song, "We've got spirit at RWZ. Show Gecko pride and wear your red!"