Maddison Canning accepts an award during the Education Centre’s 2019 graduation and awards ceremony on Thursday at Central Community Church. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress)

Banner year for Chilliwack’s Education Centre comes to a close

Graduating Class of 2019 celebrated as alternate ed school looks back on successes

It’s been a banner year for the Education Centre, with students excelling along a number of chosen paths.

The most talked about is probably the hard work the Outdoor Education class put in up at the Chilliwack Community Trails, helping create and maintain the city’s newest green space. But a recent open house and tour of the school showcased all of the other things they’ve been up to, from important milestones to major changes.

READ MORE: Clearing a path to outdoor learning in a Chilliwack forest

The alternate school invited the first official class of Grade 9s into the fold this school year, giving them a taste of what alt education is like, and likewise, getting to know the students better. The homerooms at the Education Centre are divided into students’ needs, interests and strengths. Each homeroom works intently on their main focus, while also breaking off for students to work on their other high school requirements.

The Trades Discovery students, for example, created benches for students to enjoy for years to come, while the Creative Tech homeroom documented all the highlights for the school’s year book.

In the school’s kitchen, the culinary program not only taught students the basics of cooking. It was also where a partner program with Bowls of Hope focused on slow-cooker meals, sending prepared meals and information home to families.

Their Sustainable Resource students work in the school’s garden, raise chickens and coho salmon, participate in a variety of science experiments, and enjoy guest visits from a variety of farm animals including pigs, turkeys, and a yearly visit from a calf. Field trips include visits to the EcoDairy, the Pacific Dairy Expo, Kilby Historic Site, the Chilliwack River Fish Hatchery, a variety of chicken farms, and the Chilliwack Community Forest.

And all of this and more was celebrated on June 20, when the 2019 class of 35 students accepted their diplomas in front of family, friends and dignitaries.

Led by their valedictorian Madison Canning, the class earned a total of $8,900 in scholarships and bursaries.

They heard messages from teachers, counsellors, Trustee David Swankey, and Acting Superintendent Rohan Arul-Pragasam.

“Don’t let the noise of others drown out your inner voice,” Arul-Pragasam told them.

The Education Centre is a constantly changing school, adapting to the needs of its students. Next year, they will expand to include using the former CHANCE site for their Sustainable Resource program, among others. They may add more homerooms with new focuses, and have plans to shift classrooms around to accomodate its own growth.

One thing that doesn’t change at the Education Centre, though, is its strength in partnerships with community. Central Community Church, where the graduation ceremony was held, is a major partner who provides a hot meal to the students every single Monday throughout the school year.

As a neighbour to the school, they also provide hampers to families at Christmas, a year-end barbecue and other supports. The Knights of Columbus and the Lions Club also partner with the school in various ways.


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Kelly Short flicks his mortarboard tassel out of his face before having his picture taken with principal Sean Wicker during the Education Centre’s 2019 graduation and awards ceremony on Thursday at Central Community Church. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress)

Education Centre’s 2019 graduation and awards ceremony was held Thursday at Central Community Church. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress)

Cam Phillips accepts an award during the Education Centre’s 2019 graduation and awards ceremony on Thursday at Central Community Church. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress)

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