Four Winds Public School holds sod-turning ceremony.

Above: Sod Turning Ceremony took place at Fable Gardens Hall, Superintendent Dr.Michele Dick, Mayor Barry Turner, Debbie Coulter, Sharon Morin, Donna Hunter,Apollo Kowalyk and Ward 5 Morinville Trustee Misty Featherley

by Morinville News Staff
Photos by Lucie Roy

Heavy winds moved Four Winds Public School’s sod-turning ceremony indoors Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday’s ceremony officially launched construction of Four Winds Public School, scheduled to open in September of 2019 in Morinville. The school, announced by the PC government a few years ago will offer English and French immersion programming for students in grades 5 to 9.

The two-story school will have a capacity of up to 600 students and also has the potential for a phase 2 that would accommodate up to 400 high school students.

Morinville Public School Grade 4, 5, 6 and 7 students who sang the bilingual version of O Canada.

“We’re very excited to break ground on Four Winds Public School for the division and the community,” said Sturgeon Public School Division Board Chair Terry Jewell. “Morinville Public School is full with a projected 900 students next year and many modular classrooms. Because Four Winds will meet such a large need, we’re thrilled to see construction launch.”

The Four in Four Winds represents four seasons and four elements on the medicine wheel. The Winds represents four directions of the world.

Design plans for the school include studios for dance and drama instruction, in addition to classroom pods for robotics and technology. The Division says several large indoor garage doors reinforce the open plan theme and is intended to help provide expansive learning. Teachers and students will be able to free flow so they can use the open space as well as the classrooms.

Four Winds will have special areas to honour individual women who were lifelong advocates in education. In addition to the Thelma Chalifoux Learning Garden (named after the late Senator), the Audri Kowalyk Science Labs, the school will have the Donna Hunter Learning Commons, the latter named after the former Morinville resident who fought for a non-Catholic-based public school in Morinville seven years ago.

Hunter was at Tuesday’s sod-turning.

“This is amazing. For me this is wonderful. What I love is what a way to recognize the town people that it took to get this far,” she said. ” I couldn’t be happier for the community to see all those kids sitting there knowing they are all going to walk through those doors. That is pretty incredible. To know that the momentum started and kept going because some parents asked a question. They asked why and then continued it. It took a lot of people to make something this big happen. It is really humbling to be recognized and I am in very good company with the other two people that will have a room named after them, so I couldn’t be prouder and more pleased.”

Donna Hunter will have the Learning Commons named after her formerly referred to as the library said Terry Jewell.

Sharon Morin, Debbie Coulter and Sharon’s son Josh with the photo of Dr. Thelma Chalifoux in the background.

Two daughters of the late Dr. Thelma J. Chalifoux were in attendance. Sharon Morin her son Josh and her sister Debbie Coulter were at the ceremony which included the announcement of the Thelma Chalifoux Learning Garden.

Morin said, “She’d love it. She loved the bushy, loved being outside. When I grew up we were out for berries, fishing along Slave Lake River, Slave River, so I think it is pretty fitting for Mother was a huge gardener. It was how they maintained their life in the depression era. My Grandma’s garden was always very important, they used the land and appreciated what it gave to them.”

Children and husband of the late Audri Kowalyk, Gavin, Grace and Apollo Kowalyk with the picture of Audri Kowalyk in the background.

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