On Friday, October 28, 2011, Parents, GVSD staff, government dignitaries and business representatives were treated to what Prairie Dale School (PDS) students experience on a daily basis: a brand-new state-of-the-art educational facility "swarming with energy and enthusiasm."
A Grand Opening event was held at Prairie Dale School in Schanzenfeld to mark the official opening of GVSD's and Manitoba's newest school. The newest middle school, designed for 450 students, will meet the needs of a growing community for years to come.
Following the singing of O Canada, the Invocation by Sam Berg, GVSD Board Chair and the recognition of guests by GVSD Superintendent Vern Reimer, the special ceremony began with presentations from numerous guests and stakeholders. "We did it," exclaimed the Honourable Nancy Allen, Minister of Education, as she invited the audience to join in a big cheer. "I know the students in this new school are going to succeed," stated Allen, who also highlighted the building's design for sustainable development. "The building itself can be used as an interactive learning tool to teach students about the importance of sustainable development," stated Allen. Commenting on its significance for citizenship, Allen stated that the new school "contributes to our government's vision of educating students to become informed and responsible citizens of Canada and the world, playing active roles as contributors to the social, environmental and economic well-being of all people, from now and into the future."
Sam Berg, GVSD Board Chair, noted that "education is influence" and that the school's entire community is involved in educating and influencing the children. "Today marks the completion of the vision, stated Berg, "and it's really just a beginning--the future is in the making." He also publicly thanked everyone--the local and provincial government, past board members, senior admin, and community for their support in making the new school a reality.
Special remarks were also made by Winkler Morden MLA Cameron Friesen, RM of Stanley Reeve, Art Petkau, and PDS principal, David Hoeppner. Friesen noted that GVSD has faced many challenges in the context of growth, and that it's "an extraordinary thing for a school division and administration to be involved concurrently in three building projects." David Hoeppner, principal of PDS, reiterated how truly thankful and blessed everyone felt on the occassion:
The new students at Prairie Dale played a key role in the celebration. PDS student council president, Travis Klassen, spoke about his decision to attend PDS. In addition to a strong sports program, Klassen said that he believes that "this school is so much more than a place to learn and have a good time. It's a place to learn to the best of your abilities and have fun doing it." PDS grade seven violinist, Liane Isaak, surprised the audience with a brilliant performance of a Concerto by Friedrich Seitz. This was followed by the PDS choir, under the direction of teacher Karen Lesser, singing "I believe" and "Because We Believe"--two songs that capture the essence of the new school.
Following the presentation of the key by Harv Thiessen from WBS Construction, Principal David Hoeppner and a group of students described the time capsule, and its contents, that would be placed in the building' cornerstone. (See below for a list of items placed into the PDS time capsule). With assistance from Abe Wiebe, GVSD Capital Projects Supervisor, the time capsule was ceremoniously carried outside by PDS Head Custodian Cornie Wall and placed into the brick wall.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was conducted by the Honourable Nancy Allen, Sam Berg, Vern Reimer, David Hoeppner, and the Prairie Dale Student Council (Travis Klassen, Gr. 8--President, Ryan Whitman, Gr. 8, Gina Giesbrecht, Gr. 7, Sara Nickel, Gr. 6, Daniel Wall, Gr. 6, Hannah Peters, Gr. 5, Melissa Heide, Gr. 4). Following the ceremony, the public was invited to enjoy refreshments and tours of the school.
See photos of the event below:
Time Capsule contents:
To commemorate the day, a time capsule was placed into the school building's cornerstone. Seven members of the PDS student council described the following 13 objects that were placed into the time capsule:
1. Copies of media announcements made at the time the new school capital project was announced
2. Copies of the announcement that Mr. David Hoeppner would become Prairie Dale's first principal
3. Clippings from the Sod Turning Ceremony held on May 14 2010
4. Photos of the 27 first staff members of PDS
5. A copy of the latest PDS newsletter
6. The Stingers logo
7. The motto "swarming with energy" and the energy comb image
8. A copy of the school handbook
9. Lyrics to the songs "Because We Believe" and "I Believe"
10. A PDS Stingers T-shirt
11. A list of the names of the first 309 students at PDS
12. Clippings of the Stingers boys soccer team winning the Zone Championship
13. The yearbook committee's collection of pictures showing the school's construction, first day of school, etc.