We’ve said many times that being a journalist is the most rewarding and inspiring job in the world. Particularly when you’re working in a small town.
This week was no different as we were able to marvel at the talents of people in our community, join in celebrations and write about future leaders.
Variety is the spice of a journalist’s life with the types of events, interviews, fact checking and investigating changing day-to-day.
It’s also a hectic life. Hours stretch on as you sit through meetings — particularly when there are tens of items on the agenda — or the times of events conflict, especially as the community grows and we strive to do the more with the same resources.
This week was a perfect example of the diversity that compels our passion for the job.
Bibles for Grads is a celebration we look forward to every year for the festive atmosphere, the dedication of volunteers and our business community, and the enthusiasm of Grade 12 students who attend. In its 18th year, we remember a speaker several years ago remarking that this is a truly unique event, an event that hasn’t been undertaken in very many other communities. We wonder why.
With seven schools in town and three on the periphery, we’re always trekking to one or the other to see what students are doing, how they’re learning, the special events they’re celebrating and the teachers, support staff and parents who make a difference every day. It’s amazing, when you step back and think, that there are over 2,500 students in Sylvan’s schools.
This week our news coverage includes stories about three teachers who are semi-finalists in the provincial Excellence in Teaching awards. Each tells a remarkable story about their passions.
Still with the schools, we attended the Art & Soul benefit concert at École H. J. Cody High School on Saturday afternoon.
The talented work of visual art students (and of course their teacher Bruce Thompson) were beautifully displayed and appreciated. It’s too bad we can’t do more to encourage these budding young people to pursue this passion.
Then there were the musical talents of teachers Jacqui Renwick and Kerry Heisler along with guest performers Rick Simon, Shawn Kingston and Tanya Ryan who enchanted with their musical talents. This is the fifth year for this major fundraising event for the school’s fine arts program and for the first time they welcomed to the stage several students.
There were a few chairs still available in the audience, indicating this is one of the events yet to be discovered and appreciated by a wider group of people.
Again contributing to the success of this event was our business community. We’re so fortunate to have so many people supporting the future of Sylvan Lake.
Sunday morning we visited the two-day Sylvan Lake Youth Leadership Conference. Fifty-two young people gathered to learn about and discuss solutions to prevent injury in teens. Speaking to a few of them, it was enlightening the impact of the weekend and the plans they formulated to take back to their schools for action.
Then Monday night we had another chance to learn about the region’s water and wastewater situation as we sat through discussions among town councillors on these and other topics (more in next week’s paper).
At Poplar Ridge School we heard more about the humanitarian organization, A Better World, when students presented co-founder Eric Rajah with a cheque for $1,100 which was raised through a garage sale for irrigation pumps in Africa.
Also taking place this week is adjudication at the Sylvan Celebration of Music Festival. Their awards concert takes place at Red Deer Memorial Centre on Sunday afternoon. One more showcase for our young people.
Then, of course, we had several interviews through the week as we worked feverishly to conclude the editorial part of the 30th edition of Discover Sylvan Lake which will be available next month.
Through all of this we see our community full of volunteers helping in so many facets of life. We see businesses ready and willing to support. We see the passions of people contributed for the benefit of others. And we see a vibrant, engaging community which is just waiting to be explored by more of our residents.