Congratulations to the CCSD Edwin Parr Teacher Award nominees (Jillian Colluney—Notre Dame, Morgan Lamontanga—St. Marguerite, Celia Niksic—St Marguerite and Maryse Pellerin—St. Cecilia), and Zone 5 winner Sarah Papke—St. Damien. The Alberta School Board Association’s annual Edwin Parr Teacher Award recognizes exceptional first-year teachers who display outstanding skills and performance in their initial year.
Papke is a Grade 5/6 teacher at St. Damien School whose kind and caring nature have made her a gift to students and teachers alike. “Mrs. Papke is a blessing to St. Damien School. She truly is an amazing person who cares for her students and goes to great lengths to help them succeed,” says principal Julia Solomon.
A Passion for Teaching
Papke’s enthusiasm and passion for teaching is always evident, but Solomon says it was recently exemplified when her students transitioned to online learning. Not only did she put together engaging schedules each day, she hand delivered packages of supplies for crafts and experiments. “This didn’t surprise me, but it warmed my heart to see Sarah continue to go above and beyond to meet her students’ needs,” says Solomon.
During her first year at St. Damien, Papke has built many positive relationships with students, parents and school staff. Her students say they feel welcome in her classroom and think of Papke as their champion (a trusted adult who advocates on behalf of a student). “I will remember that she understands me, and is helpful and kind,” says a student. Solomon says Papke’s words and actions reflect her respect of each person’s dignity and worth. Papke’s demeanor is also calm and her classroom is a safe and fun place to learn. This is obvious when you hear from Papke’s students: “Thank you for being so kind hearted, loving and caring,” says a student. And, “Mrs. Papke is a great teacher, and my favourite teacher this year. She’s also really kind and funny, and I’m really grateful for her,” says another.
“I will remember that she understands me, and is helpful and kind”
“Sarah is a dedicated professional who is enthusiastic and passionate about teaching and has swiftly become a valued member of the St. Damien School community. She is a hardworking, compassionate and dedicated teacher who will only continue to grow and change students’ lives every day,” says Solomon. And while there is much more that can be said about Papke’s skill, heart and dedication, it may be summed up best by one of her students: “Mrs. Papke, you are awesomely legendary.”