St. Catherine teacher nominated for Edwin Parr Award -- Award recognizes first-year teachers

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Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools announced a St. Catherine’s teacher would be its nominee for a provincial award, recognizing teachers on the threshold of their career.

The district’s board of trustees nominated Nicole Dube for the Edwin Parr Award for District 1 for the Alberta School Board Association’s work in her first year as a teacher.

“I was very excited,” Dube said. “It is even more exciting because you are nominated by your principal and your administration. To know that they know how hard I have been working and that they think I’ve been doing well, I think that was probably the most exciting part, to have that validation from superiors.”

Dube began in her temporary Grade 2 teaching position at St. Catherine’s in September 2021.

“It definitely has been an adventure,” Dube said of starting in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. “There have been lots of obstacles, but I have a really awesome group of kids that make my days (good). They are pretty great kids.”

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Dube, who recently graduated from Grande Prairie Regional College’s Teacher Education North program, went to high school in Red Deer and received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Calgary while at Red Deer College.

During her time at GPRC, Dube completed her practicum at Roy Bickell School in 2019, and then her second last spring at Derek Taylor School, the placement cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We were supposed to have nine weeks, but we only got five,” Dube said. “We were just starting to get into our groove and begin teaching at 100 per cent during our practicum, and then it got cut short. That was a real emotional week for everyone.”

Dube has always wanted to work with children. When she moved back to Grande Prairie in 2017, she worked during the summer at GPRC running camps, which solidified her desire to work with children.

That year it was too late to register for the college’s education program, so she worked one year at Isabel Campbell as a kindergarten educational assistant before returning to school at GPRC to get her education degree.

“It (working as an educational assistant) was fantastic,” Dube said. “We had such a great team there. That is where I fell in love with it, and it was like I need to do this but do the teaching part. It was that year that really solidified for me that I wanted to work with kids for the rest of my life.”

In the novice Grade 2 teacher’s nomination announcement, Superintendent Karl Germann praised Dube and her first-year colleagues during a challenging year.

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“Our review panel was very impressed with Nicole,” Germann said in the statement. “This past year was challenging for all teachers, especially first-year teachers, having to juggle both in-person and online learning. This nomination is an opportunity for our division to celebrate and to spotlight an individual who is representative of all our first-year teachers in Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools.”

While she went to high school and college in Red Deer, Dube is no stranger to Grande Prairie and the area.

“I grew up in the Grande Prairie area before my family relocated to Red Deer when I was 14,” said Dube in her staff biography. “Life brought me back to the Peace Country where I finished my Bachelor of Education through GPRC. I love Grande Prairie and all it has to offer. It is truly a city with a small-town feel, which is why I love it so much.”

While Dube’s position at St. Catherine’s is a temporary one, she will be moving into a permanent contract position as a second-grade teacher at St. Gerard’s this coming September.

The provincial ASBA Edwin Parr Teacher Awards will be presented to each of the six Edwin Parr Teacher Award recipients at the ASBA Fall General Meeting, November 14-16 of this year.

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