Celebrating students' success in the Kamloops-Thompson School District

Students' winning ways

Celebrating and supporting learning opportunities that inspire students to thrive is the core mission of the Kamloops-Thompson School District’s Strategic Plan priorities, and the following student successes are just a few examples of the way in which our students are thriving.

The past month was filled with numerous events celebrating the hard work and dedication of Kamloops-Thompson School District students and staff. Students throughout our district showcased artistic talents, creative writing skills, Indigenous student leadership, trades and technology learning, historical research and award-winning ethical debate knowledge.

The 37th annual Kamloops-Thompson Young Artists’ Conference

On April 30, we celebrated creative young artists during the Young Artists’ Conference gallery at the Old Courthouse on Seymour Street. Student artists, in Grades 4 through 7 from every school across the district shared their remarkable talent for drawing, painting, sculpting, weaving and creating mixed media—with stories connected to each art piece that spoke to the heart of each student’s passion and inspiration.

When asked what it meant to have their art featured in the gallery, several young artists expressed feeling proud and having a goal of creating one of the featured art pieces next year. As one young artist named Emma expressed: “It means a lot because I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, and this kind of is a sign. It makes me really happy that people get to see what I did. It is very important to be able to express yourself.”

The Kamloops-Thompson Young Authors’ Conference 45th anniversary

On May 3, 320 students in Grades 4 through 12, representing 37 schools, participated in the Young Authors’ Conference at Thompson Rivers University.

Students attended three writing workshops, each facilitated by a highly regarded author as organized by the committee. Read more.

It was a day about writing, learning and sharing the power of words with students who are truly passionate about language and storytelling. The conference culminated in a closing ceremony that highlighted exceptional writing. A select number of students were recognized for their creative compositions, including this year’s Marg Van Dusen Award winners—elementary student Sydnie Westran and secondary student Ashlee Crawford.

“It’s a good environment. I like the authors who present,” said Lloyd George Elementary student Siena Vincenzi. “I liked my workshop with Emily Seo because we got to create the character. My character’s name was Emily. She had orange hair and was shy.”

The second regional Indigenous Student Summit

On May 7, the Okanagan Mainline Regional Indigenous Education Council (OMRIE) came together in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Child Care, the Kamloops-Thompson School District and Thompson Rivers University to host 11 school districts at the Brown Family House of Learning at Thompson Rivers University.

At this year’s summit, students gathered to share their experiences and thoughts around the topics of personal and interpersonal racism and structural and institutional Racism. At the end of a day filled with open dialogue and important discussions, students shared their final thoughts and feedback for their school districts and the Ministry of Education that included, incorporating Indigenous teachings into everyday classes, the need and want for more cultural events, and open minded and inclusive education opportunities.

The Kamloops-Thompson region Heritage Fair

This year’s Kamloops-Thompson region Heritage Fair took place May 9 and 10 at the Henry Grube Education Centre. The multi-media, multi-discipline annual event has been supported by the school district since 1994 and aims to inspire students to learn the history of their families, their communities and their cultures.

This year, 50 participants from Grades 4 through 7 were selected from 200 entries to present their Heritage Fair projects for judging—with the top three entrants winning an all-expense paid trip to Victoria to participate in the B.C. Provincial Heritage Fair in July.

Student presentations featured topics on Canadian historical events and people, including the Canadian Gold Rush, prospector Billy Barker, universal health care, civil rights activist Viola Desmond, Japanese internment camps and Olympic skier Nancy Green-Raine, to name a few.

There were also several projects that highlighted Indigenous history.

“I chose residential schools and the mission of reconciliation because this is a history that happened to kids our age” said one student named Clover.

When asked about her experience at the Heritage Fair, she added: “I learned a lot about Indigenous people, so it also helped me understand my project better.”

South Kamloops Secondary students win the 2024 national Ethics Bowl

Finally, a huge congratulations to South Kamloops Secondary School (SKSS) students, who won the Canadian national Ethics Bowl in Winnipeg on May 4.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights hosted 12 finalists, from approximately 150 teams that entered across the country in a competition over an intense two days. Among the winning SKSS team were Grade 10 and 11 students Jorden Atherton-Wyatt, Maeve Belomon, Izumi Heyland, Ava Rieger, and Yusra Rahman.

SKSS teachers, Graeme Hallett and Don Wilson supported students by being mentors, coaches, and key supporters during the challenging moments. The depth of the team’s philosophical knowledge put into practice, their ability to support each other’s statements and their unflappable demeanour were some of the key facets that made the difference over the course of the competition.

“They worked hard for this,” said Hallet, “They’re amazing.”

An Ethics Bowl is both a collaborative and competitive event, where teams discuss current ethical dilemmas of social, political, economic, scientific or cultural nature. Students were evaluated on communication, use of relevant information, critical thinking and collaboration, among other academic skill sets. Some examples of the issues SKSS competitively discussed were progressive fines, privatization of health care, prison reform and systems in place for Canadian wildfires.

The Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education is extremely proud of all the students who participated in these wonderful events and the staff who bring out the best in our students every day.

Kathleen Karpuk is a board member on the Kamloops-ThompsonBoard of Eduction.

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