Surrey Schools has been named one of Canada's Greenest Employers – again.
This is the second consecutive year the school district has been selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc. for the recognition, which honoured 69 employers nationally.
The environmental awareness award comes on the heels of the district being named one of B.C.'s Top Employers for 2017.
"Sustainability and environmental sensitivity is an ongoing priority in our district, so this 'green' honour makes us particularly proud and serves to remind us of the importance of maintaining and creating eco-friendly workplaces," says Surrey Board of Education chairperson Shawn Wilson.
Employers are evaluated for:
"We have consistently made our environmental footprint smaller and smaller by setting strategic and long-term energy management goals," says Wilson. "But perhaps more importantly, we have displayed leadership and set an example for our students, who in turn work daily to implement environmental initiatives and lead the way as the sustainability champions of the future."
Detailed reasons for Surrey School District's selection are here.
Check here for a list of all the 2017 winners.
"When we started this competition a decade ago, the programs we wrote about were largely informal and incidental to an employer's principal business," says Richard Yerema, Managing Editor of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project at Mediacorp. "Over the years, we've seen a shift towards more formal programs and strategic sustainability policies, which reflect a long-term commitment on the part of employers. This year's winners aren't afraid to address the adverse impacts of their operations and are charting the course for others in their industry."
Eight Surrey students from various elementary and secondary schools won gold at the recent South Fraser Regional Science Fair, earning them a trip to Regina for the Canada-Wide Science Fair in May.
Eight Surrey students have advanced to the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Saskatchewan after winning gold at the South Fraser Regional Science Fair.
More than 100 Surrey and Delta students in Grades 7 through 12 competed in the South Fraser fair, which took place over two days at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
The event culminated with an awards ceremony with B.C. Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon.
The eight finalists chosen to proceed to the national competition in Regina are:
The 2017 Canada Wide Science Fair takes place May 14-20.
More photos from the South Fraser Regional Science Fair are available here.
The first year working with the Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (HEROS) has been a win for Surrey Schools. After wrapping up a successful season, students, coaches, volunteers and families have nothing but praise for the program.
Thirty-six Surrey School District students were selected to participate in the after-school program. Our team of co-ed students came from diverse backgrounds, ranging from Grades 5 to 7. Each student's hockey journey began with the opportunity to go to Sport Chek, where they received brand new hockey gear.
The HEROS kids practiced hard at North Surrey Arena from October to March. Throughout the sessions, each players' growth was apparent. Every Monday, they not only practiced hockey, but also demonstrated their understanding of the "4 HERO behaviours": Listening, Respect, Discipline and Having Fun.
"These values have deeply connected our students to the program and it is evident they carry the pride of being a HERO everywhere they go," said Kaitlin Rai, program facilitator.
The coaches work hard to emphasize what it means to be a HERO on and off the ice, how to be a leader in school, at sports and in their personal lives.
The first day the students set foot on the ice, many of them were slipping, falling and trying their best not to give up. For some, this was their first opportunity to put on skates. Since then, they have all come such a long way. By the end, they improved their skills, worked as a team and supported one another. When two students received awards at the end of the season, every single player on the team was cheering, patted them on the back, and chanted their name. With a group of 10-12 year olds, you might imagine that you would see a few sad faces among kids who thought they might have won the HEROS award, but there was nothing like that in Surrey this year. A sense of community developed.
After practices, families were encouraged and welcomed to take part in a pizza dinner for all of the families. It was an opportunity for staff, coaches and families to break bread together and celebrate the kids' hard work.
"The pizza after the program has a very noticeable impact; the families know all the volunteers and interact with them in such a great way," said Kevin Hodgson, Director of Operations for HEROS. "We seem to have captured lightning in a bottle here."
The HEROS players built a strong culture in a positive sports environment and began to develop strong life-skills such as persistence, commitment and sportsmanship. Surrey Schools looks forward to continuing with the HEROS program, as the organization will follow this group of students and continue to support them into high school, and for some, even into post-secondary school.
~ by Kaitlin Rai
North Surrey Secondary's robotics team, Hephaestus, under the mentorship of teacher and lead coach Scott Smith, is the first B.C. robotics team to win the coveted Rookie All-Star award and advance to the World Championships.
Four robotics teams represented Surrey Schools well at the Western Canadian Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Calgary.
The event hosted 50 teams from seven countries and was held at Calgary's Olympic Oval, where the Surrey teams had the honour of being invited to perform the national anthem in the opening ceremonies.
The four teams – L.A. Matheson Secondary, Semiahmoo Secondary, Princess Margaret Secondary and North Surrey Secondary – advanced to the quarter-finals together, as an all-Surrey alliance.
To top off a successful three days of competition, the L.A. Matheson team took home the Judges Award, while Princess Margaret earned the Industrial Design award.
The North Surrey team, Hephaestus, won the prestigious Rookie All-Star award, thereby qualifying to compete at the World Championships in Houston Texas, April 19-23.
North Surrey's achievements not only mark the first time a B.C. robotics team has won the Rookie All-Star award, but the first time a team in B.C. has advanced to the worlds.
The team was mentored by Scott Smith (NSS teacher and lead coach/mentor), Julie Occleshaw (teacher and administrative coach/mentor), John Pinto (teacher and pit mentor) and Richard Smith (community mentor).
Amarasekera, a student from Fraser Heights Secondary, won a bronze at the SkillsBC Provincial Competition.
Surrey students brought home 14 medals from the 23rd-annual SkillsBC Provincial Competition.
The contest, held at the Tradex in Abbotsford April 5, involved hundreds of secondary students from across B.C. competing in a variety of skilled trades and applied technologies. Most competitors were invited to the provincial competition after winning at the regional level.
Surrey students picked up six gold, two silver and six bronze. Medal winners included:
Alayna Yan, Fraser Heights Secondary – Gold
Jessie Shi, Fraser Heights Secondary – Gold
Joan Bang, Clayton Heights Secondary – Bronze
Chiara Cortez, Clayton Heights Secondary – Bronze
Anurada Amarasekera, Fraser Heights Secondary – Bronze
Geoffrey Edrozo, North Surrey Secondary/VCC - Gold
Debora Mindrut, Enver Creek Secondary – Bronze
Kalith Nanayakkara, Johnston Heights Secondary – Bronze
Kitty Cheung, Johnston Heights Secondary – Gold
Wayne YanMuk, Johnston Heights Secondary – Silver
Wesley Chang, Earl Marriott Secondary – Gold
Jaeden Wildenboer, Fraser Heights Secondary – Gold
Workplace Safety (Sec)
Nitish Mallavarpu, Johnston Heights Secondary – Silver
Danika Borrel, Johnston Heights Secondary – Bronze
The six gold medallists have now qualified to compete at the Skills Canada National Competition, being held in Winnipeg May 31-June 3.
Full results from the provincial contest are available here.
Jessie Shi and Alayna Yan, Fraser Heights Secondary students, won a gold medal in the 2D Computer Animation Category at the SkillsBC compeition April 5.
Several Second World War veterans attended a special ceremony at L.A. Matheson Secondary to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. B.C. Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon (pictured below with L.A. Matheson Secondary Principal Rex Hayes) also attended the ceremony.
The Honourable Judith Guichon, B.C.'s 29th Lieutenant Governor, spoke at a Vimy Centennial Commemoration at L.A. Matheson Secondary school that was attended by many other VIPs and media.
The special ceremony marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War and also focused on the contributions and military heritage of Indian soldiers, and their shared history with Canada's war efforts.
The event was organized by L.A. Matheson teachers Annie Ohana and Gurpreet Bains, along with Indus Media Foundation managing director Steven Purewal.
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Linda Reid, also spoke at the commemoration, along with ministers Peter Fassbender and Amrik Virk and Surrey Board of Education Trustee Garry Thind. Trustee Laurae McNally and Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston attended as well.
Thind spoke of the importance of remembering the sacrifices and dreams of peace by our veterans and noted the ceremony helped Indo-Canadian students to be aware of their special heritage and connection with the world wars so they can take pride and be inspired.
Several Second World War Indo-Canadian and Indian war veterans, as well as family members of First World War Sikh veterans, also attended the event and, in a touching moment, were recognized and honoured as part of the ceremony.
Panorama Ridge Secondary student Jae Ho Kim's video entry has earned him a trip to Montreal in the Experiences Canada 150&Me competition. He is one of 29 Surrey students selected to attend regional forums across the country. Just 150 youth were chosen Canada-wide.
Twenty-nine of the 43 B.C. youth to win a national competition celebrating Canada's future and 150th birthday are from Surrey schools.
Experiences Canada hosted a contest called 150&Me asking 14- to 19-year-olds to answer the question:
What is the greatest opportunity or challenge facing Canada for your generation?
Participants from coast to coast were invited to express themselves through virtually any medium, including video, writing and visual arts.
From the submitted projects, 150 young people from across the country were selected to participate in regional forums in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal and Halifax, with the forum topic varying from city to city. The themes include the environment, human rights, education and innovation, immigration, relationship with indigenous communities and Canadian identity.
Nearly 20 per cent of the winners selected from across Canada are Surrey students.
Nine attend Johnston Heights Secondary, while Panorama Ridge and Sullivan Heights each had seven students chosen. Lord Tweedsmuir had three student projects selected, and Fleetwood Park, Fraser Heights and SAIL (Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning) had one winner apiece. Each student's destination was dependent on the topic they chose to address in their submission.
The first of the four week-long forums began in Vancouver on April 2, with winning youth from other provinces billeted with students from Panorama Ridge, Sullivan and Fleetwood Park Secondary schools.
The Surrey students had the opportunity to accompany the visiting teens as they toured the Lower Mainland and attended events and sites throughout the week.
The Montreal forum begins April 11, Halifax on May 16 and Winnipeg begins May 25. For more information, visit
Surrey winners of Experiences Canada 150&Me (and their destinations):
Kitty Cheung – Winnipeg
Oliver Shen – Winnipeg
Madeline Bourke – Halifax
Jasmine Calcitas – Winnipeg
Nathalie Estrera – Montreal
Lindsay Lampa - Halifax
Nazaha Muntafi – Halifax
Leah Rosehill – Winnipeg
Aiesha Mae Trivino – Halifax
Julie Astley – Halifax
Danaca McCaffrey – Winnipeg
Trisha Guarin - Montreal
Linda Xia - Montreal
Sophia Pilcher – Montreal
Rida Fatima – Halifax
Jae Ho Kim – Montreal
Hiram Lo – Winnipeg
Carley Cheung – Montreal
Likhita Kosuri – Winnipeg
Trevor Stone – Winnipeg
Restum Shakiri – Montreal
Barath Venkiteswaran – Montreal
Abby Contreras – Winnipeg
Pallvi Sehijpaul – Halifax
Shawn Gochan – Winnipeg
Nicole Nisperos – Halifax
Roya Pishvaei – Halifax
Chris Samudio – Halifax
Alexis Lewis – Winnipeg
Two music videos featuring 22 indigenous Surrey students representing 19 Nations have been released, with student-written lyrics and compelling visuals that shed light on some of the challenges facing indigenous youth in an urban setting.
Done through the project Our Story, Our Future, the videos were created in partnership with Aboriginal Learning and N'we Jinan, a non-profit production company that seeks to capture the voices of indigenous youth, empowering them to share what they feel is an important message. N'we Jinan brings a mobile recording studio and professional music producer into schools across North America to provide students a creative outlet to express themselves.
The videos, called "Hide & Seek" and "Show Us The Way," both centre on young indigenous people embracing and acknowledging their heritage.
Hide & Seek features nine secondary students. The message is conveyed through melodies and rap rhymes.
"The closer you look the more that you see;
the wisdom of elders come back to me.
Once taken from home, but now we are free,
we won't forget where we are meant to be."
Show Us The Way, was created with 13 Grade 4-7 students. It is about standing tall, coming together, learning from the elders and passing on tradition.
"See who I am, I've got something to say;
I'll show you again, don't want to be afraid;
I'll be learning for the rest of my days;
So I'll stand tall if you teach me the ways;
As we look to the future will you see me the same?"
The songs are available for purchase on iTunes.
The Honorouable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of B.C. visited George Greenaway Elementary on March 29, in addition to Fleetwood Park Secondary, Strawberry Hill Elementary and Panorama Ridge Secondary.
As a music lover, the Honourable Judith Guichon, 29th Lieutenant Governor of B.C., was thrilled by the greeting she received during a visit to Surrey's George Greenaway Elementary.
Students, who recently staged a production of Oliver, pulled out an appropriate tune to welcome the Queen's representative, belting out the lyrics to "Consider Yourself Part of the Family."
"Consider yourself at home. Consider yourself part of the family.
We've taken to you so strong. It's clear, we're, going to get along."
Principal Margaret Geddes highlighted some of the unique programs at George Greenaway, and made Guichon an honourary Rugged Canadian – a title typically bestowed upon completion of a patriotic obstacle course challenge designed at the school.
Greenaway was the 67th school attended by Guichon so far this year. To mark Canada's 150th birthday, she has pledged to engage in conversation with youth by visiting 150 B.C. schools
"This one stands out," she said after an assembly in George Greenaway's gym.
Guichon also visited Panorama Ridge Secondary, Strawberry Hill Elementary and Fleetwood Park Secondary on March 29.
She spoke to students about her roles representing the Crown and about Canada being a nation of conversation, not confrontation. Guichon shared her love of living on a cattle ranch and the value of learning about the land.
In honour of Canada's birthday, she also joked that all Canadians ought learn to pronounce – and perhaps even spell – the word sesquicentennial.
Guichon fielded questions from children, including a primary student from Syria, whose English she complimented while welcoming her to Canada. Two Grade 7 Syrian refugee students at Strawberry Hill Elementary (left) shared their moving story about their journey to Canada and they and their mother received a pin from Guichon. She also took time to shake some students' hands at each school.
Greenaway gave Guichon flowers and a basket of school-specific goodies, but while she appreciated the presents, she said she had already received the best gift from them: song.
So the students gave her more, sending her off with "You Can Go But Be Back Soon."
B.C. Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon and guests were treated to a band performance during her visit to Fleetwood Park Secondary.
Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon with students from George Greenaway Elementary.
(Left to right) Fleetwood Park Secondary principal Cory McLaughlin, Assistant Supt. Catherine Sereda, Daniel To, principal of Education
Services, the Honourable B.C. Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon and Captain Taius Yoo (HADC and also a Surrey teacher).
For the second consecutive year, Surrey Schools has been selected as one of B.C.'s Top Employers by Mediacorp Canada editors.
The annual competition recognizes employers "that lead their industries offering exceptional places to work" in British Columbia.
"Being named one of the province's top employers makes trustees extremely proud," said Board of Education chairperson Shawn Wilson. "We greatly value our employees and strive to provide workplaces that are not only welcoming and supportive, but foster a sense of fulfilment and engagement as we pursue our common goal of supporting children and improving student learning."
Winners are selected using eight criteria:
"Employees who feel valued and inspired are, in turn, empowered to learn, grow and innovate, helping to further establish the Surrey School District as a leader in education," said Wilson.
The list of B.C.'s Top Employers for 2017 has been published in a special magazine supplement in the Vancouver Sun. See the Detailed Reasons for selection.