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Celebrating Five Decades of Education


Five decades of education is a milestone worth celebrating and the Swan Valley School Division (SVSD) did just that on Thursday (May 31) when approximately 200 guests attended a gathering at the Swan Valley Regional Secondary School gymnasium.
Community members joined current and former teachers and board members to mark the occasion which began with a Safe Grad Fundraising Barbecue and featured musical entertainment by the Elbert Chartrand Friendship Centre (ECFC) Fiddle and Guitar program, MaJicaL (Maclyn, Jessica and Layna Burghart) and Martyn Snell.
“Our theme is ‘Celebrating the past; Shaping the future’ and the celebration began last summer when we participated in the parade, asking former staff to join us,” said 50th Anniversary Committee Chair Gary Wowchuk as the program began.
“In addition to the celebration tonight, the video we are about to show and the newspaper supplement that was published May 22, we also restored two buses from the Swan Valley Historical Museum which will be displayed there in the future.”
Board Chair Kelli Riehl then took to the podium to say a few words on behalf of the current board members, including speaking of the female trustees that paved the way before her.
“This division is known to be innovative in so many ways,” she added, noting that she wanted to pay tribute to an area of the division that hadn’t been covered in the commemorative video or published newspaper supplement.
“In the last 50 years SVSD has developed a provincial reputation for introducing and ensuring special education programming delivered by committed and knowledgeable staff. And, special education programming will continue to be a focus.”
After inviting attendees to tour the SVRSS and appreciate the facilities available for the Valley’s Youth, former trustee Ed Hart, who served on the original board, shared some of his memories of the division’s formation.
“I’m the only member left from the original board of 11,” he said.
“One of the first things we did when we came together was to decide what to do with the one-room schools and how to qualify to receive a regional secondary school. These were difficult decisions, no doubt.
“I want to pay tribute to John Kastrukoff and staff as they were the people on the front lines having to put everything into place when we made decisions,” Hart continued.
“I want to congratulate the current board for your insight, foresight and for putting this all together to celebrate the occasion.
A large time capsule, prepared by the Ecole Swan River South School Industrial Arts program, was brought out and representatives from all nine Valley schools as well as the board of trustees, four local municipalities and the ECFC placed items of significance into the box, which will be sealed and opened on the division’s 100th anniversary in 2067.
Some of the items included were school T-shirts, tests, mementos and photos as well as cultural items like sweetgrass.
Following a ceremonial sealing of the capsule by Hart and longtime board members Gwen Palmer and Dave Brown a video marking the 50th Anniversary was debuted.
The video and Star and Times newspaper supplement are posted below.

Swan Valley School Division 50th Anniversary Supplement