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Principal Don Yavis retiring from Morrin School

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Students at Morrin School received a brand new school at the beginning of the year, and come next school year, they will have a new principal.
After 42 years at Morrin School including 13 as principal, Don Yavis will be retiring from teaching.
“I spent my entire career here. I started in 1981-82 as a Phys ed teacher,” Yavis told the Mail.
As a young man, Yavis graduated from high school and said he had a choice to work in the oilfield like his brother or work in the family business at the restaurant.
“Being almost 18 years old, work didn’t sound so good, but university sounded good,” he said. “I took Phys ed because, in my mind, I was going to have fun, and I had zero intention of ever being a teacher.”
Yavis married his junior high sweetheart in his second year at the University of Calgary, finished his third year of the Physical Education Program and received his degree.
“My buddies were all going into education, so I followed them over there to have another year. I came home from the first day we did a practical course, and I told my wife, “They’re going to pay me to play with kids, and now, I know what I want to do,” he said.
“I never thought I would be a teacher, it was never planned until that day I came home from school.”
Growing up in a big family, working with kids wasn’t a stretch for him and in 1981 he graduated from the Education program. He immediately began sending out resumes but didn’t get a response immediately.
Only a few weeks later he was back home working at the restaurant.
“I was waiting on a table at the restaurant, and the deputy superintendent was having lunch with a guy that worked at Excelsior Motors. I was waiting on their table, and he called me over and asked me if I wanted to teach in Morrin or Delia. That was my interview,” he said.
He picked Morrin and never looked back. He exclusively taught Phys ed for about 24 years and then began teaching Biology. In 2011 he became principal, succeeding Nick Thornton, who served for four years after Dr. Schielke retired.
“I picked Morrin basically for the location. I couldn’t have ended up in a better school. The community is fantastic, and the kids are amazing. I have graduating kids, who are the kids of people I taught, it has really been an amazing, wonderful career.”
His style has always been inclusive and student-centric.
“The key to my success is I always remember what it is like to be at that age and some of the things they have to deal with. We’re not a disciplinary school, we don’t punish kids for making bad decisions. We talk them through it and hope they change the way they are thinking or their thought process. Our goal is to create good human beings here… so when they walk out of here they are going to fit in wherever they go.”
He says the toughest part of retiring is not working with the students, but he may be back subbing.
“I really don’t think I can leave the kids. That’s what what I am going to miss the most; the kids in the hall, getting them off the bus, saying goodbye to them at the end of the day and all that other stuff. I warned the teachers if you get me to sub the elementary, they’re not going to get a lot of work done,” he said.
He is confident the school is in good hands and has a strong culture.
“Becky Webster has been hired to come in as principal, and she’s very much in tune with how we run things, and I think it will be a smooth transition. She’ll easily be able to work her philosophy into it.”


Motor sports resort ask Kneehill for road funding support

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At Kneehill County’s Tuesday, April 23, Council Meeting, Manager of Planning and Development, Barb Hazelton, presented Council with a Request for Decision from Badlands Recreation Development Corp. (BRDC) regarding Bylaw/Policy Badlands Motorsport Resort Area Structure Plan.

Hazelton asked Council to authorize Kneehill County’s Reeve, Ken King, to send a letter to Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors, Devin Dreeshan, to confirm funding required to build an access road from Highway 9 to the resort.

Developer, James Zelazo, has been working hard on the proposed project, that is within the approved Area Structure Plan, but has found it difficult to obtain funding for the construction of the road.

The cost of the road is estimated to be $15 million, so the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP) through the Local Municipal Initiatives (LMI) would be the most appropriate avenue to obtain funding of this magnitude.

Through the STIP - LMI program, 75 per cent of the cost, $11.25 million, would be funded by the province, with the remaining 25 per cent, $3.75 million, funded by the Municipality.

Zelazo has asked Council to write the letter on his behalf in order to proceed with the next steps, such as geotechnical and engineering work needed to begin the construction process of the road.

“The Municipality agrees to submit an application for this funding on behalf of Badlands (BRDC). Administration was of the opinion that a letter from the Reeve to the Minister confirming this potential funding source, as well as assurance that it will not impact the Municipality’s ability to obtain grant funding through the normal process for municipal projects,” says Hazelton.

If funds are granted, and the road is constructed, the County will own the road and will be responsible for it after it is built.

Rosedale raffle tops $17k

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The Rosedale Recreational Society has made great progress on the first phase of its Revitalization Project, and is gearing up for its second phase.
On Tuesday, April 30, the Rosedale Recreational Society met to draw the winning ticket for its 4-day/3-night guided trip on horseback into the Willmore Wilderness Area near Grande Cache, AB. The package includes 6 people, meals and camping. The trip is through Indian Trail Adventures and was donated by some generous donors.
The prize winner was close to home as Keith Hodgson of Rosedale was selected. In fact, Ticket #001 was drawn. Hodgson chuckles and admits it has been about 55 years since he has been on a horse.
The $17,460 raised by the raffle will go towards Phase 2 of the revitalization project. Secretary Cate Samuel explains Phase One has been a great success as last summer the Miner statue was refurbished. Inside the hall, the flooring was replaced, as well, the ceiling was replaced and textured. The lighting has been replaced with high-efficiency LEDs, and the entire hall has a fresh coat of paint. There are plans to install new windows.
“We received a CFEP grant at the end of last year. It was a matching grant for $25,000, so we did a $51, 000 renovation of the hall in the last couple of months,” she said.
“The proceeds from this draw will go to the next phase, and that will either be washrooms or the kitchen.”
They are also planning to refurbish the skating rink and shack. They received a grant from Old Man Wind Farms which operates the Wintering Hills Power Project, and have applied for support in kind from the Community Assistance Grant to use asphalt millings to resurface the rink base.
“We want it to be used year-round,” said Samuel.
The work endeavoured by the society has injected vitality into the hall and in turn, the community.
“Last weekend we had a volunteer appreciation dinner and we had about 60 people in here. We provided dinner and refreshments. It was a really good community night and everyone enjoyed themselves.”


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