Overlooked in roundup of local schools

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I wanted to take a moment to highlight that in your coverage of schools in Olds in the Sept. 26 edition of the Olds Albertan, you mistakenly forgot to include our school.

I am a teacher at Olds Career High School, a part of Chinook’s Edge School Division, and an amazing alternative high school in our community.

We have more than 100 registered students attending high school classes, all working towards achieving their Alberta High School diploma.

It is interesting; many of our students have expressed a feeling of marginalization and alienation from their community high school, and, at times, their community at large. The failure of the Olds Albertan to recognize their school in the school roundup serves to perpetuate that feeling.

Let me tell you about our students. We have students who are participating in overwhelming medical treatment that requires frequent absences from school.

We have students who are working full-time to help their family gripped by poverty.

We have students who are elite level athletes, training and travelling, making attendance at a traditional school impossible.

We have students recovering from addiction.

We have high school students upgrading to make their dreams of post-secondary attendance a reality.

We have students who blend their program between us and their community school, when that school is not able to meet their needs, for whatever reason.

We have young moms.

We have adults, many laid off in the recent economic downturn, returning to school at the age of 40 or 50 to achieve their high school diploma to make themselves more marketable.

Most importantly, all of these students are attending school.

Our students are often stereotyped as going to “that school” that is “way easier” than a traditional high school. I can attest, the complete opposite is true.

Our students complete the Alberta High School Program of Studies completed by all Alberta students. However, our students take on an incredible amount of responsibility for completing that program.

Students must take the initiative to plan their course completion, and access support from teachers when they need it. They do much of it on their own.

Ultimately, our students complete the same diploma examinations as all other Grade 12 students in the province.

Our students demonstrate, over and over again, that academic rigour is an important part of programming at Olds Career High School.

Our students achieve results on par with all other Chinook’s Edge Schools, and often, students experience a success they had not known at their community school.

I invite you to visit us. We would love the opportunity to share with you what we do, as an opportunity for you to share with our community at large.

Youth in Olds and surrounding area are blessed to have a place to turn to complete their education when a traditional school environment is not meeting their needs. We feel it is extremely important to highlight that.

Our students are resilient, important, and accomplishing amazing things. We would love for you to meet them.

Sharon Collin

Olds

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