A Peerless Lake School teacher is this year’s Alberta School Boards Association Zone 1 Edwin Parr Teacher Award winner.
“As soon as they announced [Northland School Division] it didn’t really register at first; but then Lois [Official Trustee Lois Byers] looked at me and said, ‘That’s you, get up there,’” said Chelsea Cattroll.
Cattroll, who teaches Physical Education, becomes the second Northland educator to win the award, which recognizes first-year teachers who demonstrate exemplary dedication and commitment in the field of education. The announcement was made during the ASBA Zone 1 fall awards ceremony in Peace River Sept. 14.
“It didn’t seem real to walk up to the stage and receive the award, but in reality, it felt like my hard work was being appreciated in that moment,” says Cattroll.
“I was thinking about the staff and community members who made me feel so welcome after moving away from home. I wish they were here to celebrate with me,” she adds.
Peerless Lake School principal Connie Molcak witnessed the big announcement. She says Cattroll was the teacher the school needed in Peerless Lake.
“Chelsea has been an asset to the community and to the school,” says Molcak. “As a first-year teacher, she has increased student physical activity, and has embraced the culture of the community.
“She was the teacher we needed at the school to improve physical education. She’s an inspiration for students and other educators. It was an honour to witness the announcement in person.”
Byers is also proud of Cattroll, adding there are opportunities at NSD for educators you can’t find anywhere else.
“Chelsea has taken advantage of the opportunities and is making a difference for students and the entire community of Peerless Lake.”
Northland Supt. Gord Atkinson says the entire division is proud of Cattroll.
“She has gained the respect of students, school staff, parents and community members in Peerless Lake. Chelsea’s relationship with the students is helping them feel strong in identity, healthy and successful. We are grateful she is part of Northland.”
Cattroll is a huge advocate for teaching in a smaller community.
“I have had such a positive experience, but then again you have to come into these communities with a positive outlook,” she says. “I didn’t want to stay in an urban centre because I felt the relationships that you would have with students would be limited and not be as personal. You don’t get to know your students in the way you would in a Northland community.”
She adds Northland also provide more opportunities for new teachers.
“You are given more chances to stretch your wings, participate in more professional development and learn things outside of your current expertise.
“For myself, I had the chance to go to culture camps. Even though I was teaching, I was equally receiving as much education in return.”
Cattroll will be recognized with other Edwin Parr nominees from Zones 2-6 on Nov. 19 at the ASBA fall general meeting in Edmonton.