The BCPVPA Partnership Awards recognize and honour the valuable support provided to Principals, Vice-Principals, teachers and students by individuals and groups who have, over an extended period of time, shared their time, energy and expertise to support schools.

Partners are nominated by the BCPVPA’s local Chapters: our thanks go to all our nominating Chapters and to every nominee.

2020 Partnership Award Nomination Form

The 2020 nomination deadline is April 1.

The Award itself is a beautiful framed print by Haida Gwaii artist Bill Bedard. The Partnership Award print features an owl and eagle. Bill has told us that the eagle travels between the physical world and spiritual world and signifies focus, strength, peace, leadership, and prestige. The Owl, he says, reflects the wisdom and the world of educators and their supporters because “the work does not end when the students go home, but requires many nights of hard work and reflection as we strive to prepare our students for a better tomorrow.”

The 2019 BCPVPA Partnership Award recipients were honoured on Friday May 3 at Chapter Council.
Read the media release

Kamloops Food Bank, nominated by Kamloops Thompson Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association (School District #73)

The Kamloops Food Bank, in collaboration with the Rotary Club, the United Way and School District #73, has supported the Starfish Backpack program from the original 10 weekly backpacks to the current 122, and from one elementary school to ten schools in the district. Conceived by Christopher Seguin, the program ensures that hungry students are provided with snacks and easy-to-prepare meals throughout each weekend of the school year.

(Pictured: BCPVPA Director Sally Zryd, Melissa Seguin, the Honourable Rob Fleming, BC Minister of Education)

Jannette Loosdrecht, nominated by Chilliwack Principal Vice Principal Association (School District #33)

Jannette, in conjunction with City Life Church, started an afterschool program – Afternoon Adventures – at Bernard Elementary in Chilliwack. In eight years, the program has grown from 26 to more than 80 students. In 2015, Jannette spearheaded the program’s expansion, and Afternoon Adventures is now part of seven Chilliwack schools and seven Chilliwack churches, with more than 177 students and families supported by more than 125 volunteers. 

(Pictured: The Honourable Rob Fleming, BC Minister of Education, Jannette Loosdrecht, BCPVPA Director Des Sjoquist)

Mighty Hughs, nominated by Victoria Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association (School District #61)

The Mighty Hughs is a musical band of five who volunteer weekly in an inclusive learning classroom for students with special needs at Reynolds Secondary School. The students participate in the sessions by using various musical instruments, and often singing along and dancing. The enthusiastic musicians have fostered a love of music in the classroom.

(Pictured: BCPVPA Director Tom Aerts, Rob Jeffery, Andy Graffiti, The Honourable Rob Fleming, BC Minister of Education )

Rotary Club Port Coquitlam Centennial, nominated by Coquitlam Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association (School District #43)

The PoCo Rotary Club’s relationship with Port Coquitlam schools began with the personal delivery of dictionaries for all grade 4 students at Ecole Irvine Elementary, and grew to an annual donation of grocery gift cards to support vulnerable families, the introduction of the Starfish Backpack program in PoCo elementary and middle schools and a $1000 bursary to Riverside School and Terry Fox Secondary.

(Pictured: BCPVPA Director Susan Clough, Karly Simms, The Honourable Rob Fleming, BC Minister of Education )

Dave Sandsmark, nominated by Nechako Lakes Chapter (School District #91)

A business owner and carpenter in Burns Lake, Dave has been involved with Project Trails for more than seven years, lending his expertise, tools and time and building pride in high school students as they learn trail building and trail maintenance. Dave also supports the high school mountain bike team, and most recently mentored an Independent Study student in learning bike maintenance.

(Pictured: BCPVPA Director Heidi Grant, accepting the Award on behalf of Dave Sandsmark, The Honourable Rob Fleming, BC Minister of Education )

Squamish Helping Hands, nominated by Sea to Sky Principals and Vice-Principals’ Association (School District #48)

Squamish Helping Hands provides lunches for Squamish students who need a lunch program: the daily Brown Bag Lunch program provides approximately 350 lunches per week to elementary and high school students. Annually, that’s more than 18,000 nutritious lunches in Squamish schools, supporting each student’s ability to perform, learn and grow both physically and mentally.

(Pictured: BCPVPA Director Susan Nichols, Carol Coffey, The Honourable Rob Fleming, BC Minister of Education )

2018 BCPVPA Partnership Award recipients

The 2018 BCPVPA Partnership Awards were presented at the May 2018 Chapter Council meeting to:

  • Carol Thompson, retired teacher (nominated by Clare Gordon – Cariboo Chilcotin)
  • Paguachin First Nations Community (nominated by Cathy Crocket Moore – Saanich)
  • Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (nominated by Carol Sedgwick – Alberni)
  • Elder Frazer MacDonald (nominated by Navshina Savory – Surrey)
  • Wayne Salewski, Retired, Ministry of Forests, (nominated by Ken Young – Nechako Lakes)

2017 BCPVPA Partnership Award recipients

The 2017 BCPVPA Partnership Awards were presented at the May 2017 Chapter Council meeting to:

COQUITLAM PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, which was nominated by the Coquitlam Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association

Marsha Arnold, Principal of Mountain View Elementary, writes that it was almost seven years ago when a contingent of Presbyterian Church members approached her about how best to support their neighbourhood school. In the time that has followed, the Church and the school have “forged a strong collaborative relationship with the church members and our vibrant multicultural school community.” The first event was a large Saturday community Christmas party. Invitations were sent to everyone within a 15KM radius to herald a non-denominational event at the school, with food, crafts, games, and photos. More than 400 families arrived at the school that day, setting in motion a much-anticipated annual community event. Since that first gathering, countless connections between the Church and the school have made a difference in the lives of students. Members of the congregation participate in a breakfast program, volunteering, crafting, coaching, fundraising, and make frequent clothing and book donations. Marsha shares a story about three 80-year-olds guiding a group of primary students as they build 48 cedar bird houses. She writes about an 86-year-old parishioner who bakes several batches of cookies each week — after grinding his own flour no less — and then bikes these ‘peanut free’ treats to the school weekly. Remarkable stories all and a testament to a community partnership founded in respect and caring. As Marsha closed the nomination, she reminded us that “Our school goal of increasing the life chances of every child, every day can only be realized with the full cooperation of the community in which we live.” Lori and Quinn Berry, Church Directors, accepted the Award on behalf of the congregation of the Coquitlam Presbyterian Church.

The WEST COAST BOYS CLUB NETWORK, which was nominated by the West Vancouver Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association.

The West Coast Boys Club Network was founded in 2006 by Walter Mustapich, at the time a VP at East Vancouver’s Templeton Secondary and Jim Crescenzo, the fine arts department head. The Network’s mission is to “tackle the complex, misunderstood, and underfunded social issue, boys at risk – and specifically high potential boys and young adults who through circumstance and lack of positive role models turn to drugs, crime, and the streets.” The Network operates independently as a privately-funded charity with the core belief that connectedness, trust, and accountability can make a difference. The Network sponsors after school programs in Vancouver, North and West Vancouver, Abbotsford and Courtenay. The centerpiece of the program is Man Up!, a touring 60-minute play with a 30-minute talk back which has been seen, free of charge, by more than 21,000 people. The Network also sponsors mentorship programs, after school meetings, field trips, community partnership programs, summer camp, and a growing number of post secondary scholarships. Part of the application included notes from participants about what they get out of the program: I come to boys club because I know it is a private way to share your feelings and I like to learn of other people’s interest so I can live my life better – it’s confidential, caring and down to earth; I come to boys club because I feel it’s the only place I can go where I don’t have to stress; I come to boys club to find inspiration for the future in case I make some mistake. I come to see how I can become a better person.



MOUNT MORESBY ADVENTURE CAMP, which was nominated by the Haidi Gwaii Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association.

Over two decades, the volunteers at the Adventure Camp have ensured that students of Haida Gwaii experience deep learning through rich outdoor education experiences. Originally the brainchild of RCMP Sergeant Blake Ward, it was intended as a camp for young offenders. When funding stalled the program, a group of committed Sandspit residents secured a site and raised funds to build two main longhouse inspired structures and the Camp’s mission now is to strengthen the connections between youth and the diverse natural and cultural landscapes of Haida Gwaii through experiential education and its goals include providing extra‐curricular outdoor recreation opportunities, teaching the natural sciences, and promoting an awareness of Haida culture with the help of Haida cultural specialists. To those ends, the program provides students in grades 5, 9, and 11 with swimming, kayaking, canoeing and tree-climbing. Students study moss, lichen and plants and investigate the impact of invasive species. Biology lessons draw on the local slugs and mosses unique to the Island.  Summing up the contributions made by the Adventure Camp, Principal Ian Keir wrote, “I am continually impressed by the energy and enthusiasm that the volunteers have for outdoor education. But what sets them apart is their commitment. They go beyond teaching about biology or how to paddle a canoe. They work year round to secure grants, raise funds, and plan the implementation of programs. Haida Gwaii students have benefited tremendously.” Representing the Camp were Geoff Horner and Jenny Kellar.

HESTER CREEK ESTATE WINERY which was nominated by the Okanagan Similkameen Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association.

For more than seven years, the Hester Creek Estate Winery has partnered with Oliver Elementary and enhanced the opportunities for the school’s students. The company annually donates $11,000 each year to the school, which is significant on its own. But the Winery also hosts a well-attended and much anticipated by-donation garlic festival with those gate proceeds also donated to the school. The funds are then used to ensure that all students at Oliver Elementary School can participate in Farm to Cafeteria Canada’s paid lunch program, helping those students who have financial challenges. Fruit and vegetable options are offered, along with a hot portion and the students are taught portions, encouraged to try new foods and learn to eat healthier. Approximately 1/3 of the 190 students participating in the program are sponsored with partial or full financial assistance. The funds also sponsor a young farmers program in which students are provided with a budget to purchase seeds, dirt, and other necessary supplies to grow and harvest their own produce. Students then sell their produce at the Garlic Festival. In addition, funds cover Farm to School educational lessons, which provide students with opportunities to grow plants and visit local farms. The nomination form closed with, “year after year, Hester Creek Estate Winery has demonstrated strong support for public education and has created direct and valuable benefits for students at Oliver Elementary. We are extremely grateful. Accepting the Award on behalf of the winery was Mark Sheridan, President of Hester Creek Estate Winery.

GURU NANAKS FREE FOOD LANGER, which was nominated by the Prince George Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association.

Led by Ranjit Singh, this non-profit organization supports hungry students at eight elementary school and is focused on langar, a Sikh practice that combines a communal kitchen with service to community. For Sikhs, this project is not missionary, but an opportunity to help those in need. In Prince George, the program began three years ago as a service to provide food to vulnerable and hungry families at inner city schools. It now offers box loads of fresh fruit weekly. As written on the nomination form, “these healthy and nutritional snacks provide sustenance for children so they are able to focus and function in their classrooms.” The food is placed in open areas in the school so any child has regular access to the snacks. In addition, volunteers from the group serve people who are hungry outside of school hours in one of the city’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods. Each Tuesday and Thursday, students are able to freely access a nutritious meal immediately after school and every Sunday. Prior to Christmas break, and at other times when funding permits, volunteers host a school-wide lunch for students who also leave with some fresh fruit to take home. In addition, the group provides meals and food hampers throughout the year. A local news story in Prince George last year interviewed Rangit who said “it’s about helping others and asking for nothing in return. There has to be not even a bit of you … no I … no me, … once that ego disappears you can feel the bliss all the time.”





2016 Partnership Award recipients
presented by BCPVPA President Kevin Reimer

YO BRO/YO GIRL YOUTH INITIATIVE, which was nominated by the Surrey Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association.

YoBroSince 2009, the Yo Bro Initiative has supported the most vulnerable and at-risk students in the district’s schools. Founded by Joe Calendino, the Yo Bro Initiative helps students build the skills necessary to overcome great challenges and to contribute positively to their schools and communities. Surrey’s principals and vice-principals have said that “Joe and the Yo Bro/Yo Girl Youth Initiative are one of the best facilitators and programs we have ever experienced in the Surrey School District. They provide the support principals and vice-principals need and rely on to reach the kids that off often drift away from our schools due to personal challenges, outside influences, and our limited resources.” Joe draws on his experience and unique background — he went from being a successful businessman to losing everything to gangs and drugs — to build relationships with youth and to give them a sense of belonging while engaging in physical conditioning to build a sense of accomplishment, strength, and regulation. Joe’s tough love approach to youth, along with a healthy dose of street credibility, allow the students to trust him, to draw on his positive messaging, and commit to the program on an ongoing basis. As was written on the nomination letter — “it is only through external programs and truly caring individuals and organizations like Joe Calendino and the Yo Bro/Yo Girl Youth Initiative that principals and vice-principals have a change at helping those kids who are at the highest risk.” Accepting the Award was Joe Calendino, Founder.

The TILLICUM LELUM ABORIGINAL FRIENDSHIP CENTRE, which was nominated by the Nanaimo/Ladysmith Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association.


The Friendship Centre has been has been providing services in the community for more than 50 years and in that time it has evolved from a coffee drop-in to an agency which offers Educational and Training Programs; Health and Counselling Services; Social Service Programs; and, a variety of cultural events and activities. The Centre works to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal people living in an urban environment and uses Aboriginal teachings as a guideline in its work as Helpers. The Centre has been partnering for a number of years with the District on a variety of programs. Among them are a project-based learning Aboriginal Outreach Program and Qeq — Coast Salish for baby – College, which supports Aboriginal families and children as they prepare for success in Kindergarten. The program includes Inner City activities at an elementary school that are designed to introduce children to a welcoming educational environment. The Centre offers spring break and summer programs as well as after-school programs and they work with the individual schools to ensure that students are able to attend the program one day per week. For four years, the Centre also supported a Children’s Wellness Program counsellor who piloted and developed, in one of the district’s elementary schools, a Personal Safety Skills program on sexual abuse prevention. The Award was accepted by Linda McCandless, Instruction Coordinator,  Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre. The program includes Inner City activities at an elementary school that are designed to introduce children to a welcoming educational environment. The Centre offers spring break and summer programs as well as after-school programs a The Award was accepted by Linda McCandless, Instruction Coordinator,  Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre.

The CUMBERLAND COMMUNITY SCHOOL SOCIETY, which was nominated by the Comox Valley Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association.

CumberlandThe Society facilitates life-long learning, health, and well-being through community partnerships and collaborative use of school and community resources for the benefit of its community. A core believe of the SOCIETY is that “learning is a life-long process and that schools should exist not in isolation, but as part of the local community.” The SOCIETY “takes one of the largest public facilities – school buildings – and keeps them open on afternoons, evenings, and weekends for community activities to address the needs of all age groups, by providing programs for parents and babies, after-school programs, a healthy lunch program, adult education as well as youth programs and services.” The nomination letter from the Comox Valley principals and vice-principals detailed how, for more than 15 years, the SOCIETY has supported students during the lunch hour and outside regular school hours. Their healthy school lunch program provides lunches to approximately 70% of Cumberland’s elementary school-aged children and 20% of those healthy lunches are provided at no cost to meet the needs of the children most in need. The Society also provides free after-school programming to 65% of the students four days per week. Programs are offered on non-instructional days and partnerships have been formed with the Cumberland Recreation Center, the BMX track, and the Cumberland museum to offer additional off-site programming. The society itself is a nine-member volunteer board of directors and is staffed by individuals who are committed to offering quality programming for students. The Society draws on an initial budget of only $20,000 to secure donations and grants to create an operating budget of more than $100,000. Accepting the Award was  Sue Loveless, Executive Director.

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw NATIONS, which was nominated by the Vancouver Island North Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association.

NationsThe Nations have welcomed and supported Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre in their territory since 1997. The partnership between the host nations and Vancouver Island North School District is unique in that Eke Me-Xi is a public high school located on the Tsulquate Reserve. Over the years, the Learning Centre has evolved from being a small grade 8-10 program to a larger high school that offers a secondary graduation program. The program is designed to apply beliefs about learning and learners in a cultural setting. Students engage in their learning and participate in setting their own goals and dreams. The school strives to achieve this through fostering positive family relationships, hosting open house events, including Role Models from its communities and implementing Kwak’wala language and culture. During graduation ceremonies and other school events, Elders, parents, and community members frequently address students and staff; words of support, encouragement, and collective responsibility are always conveyed. Strong partnerships with the host Nations Treaty Department and the Our World film organization have created learning opportunities students in the area of digital filmmaking. The project brings youth and elders together with a focus on First Language speaking, translation and culture. Last summer, the Nations passed a Band Council Resolution to accommodate expansion and growth of Learning Centre. This commitment from the elected council supports the needs of the school’s learners and staff and as noted by the nominating principals and vice-principals, “we are acutely aware that we could not continue to grow without the Nations’ support.” Accepting the Award on behalf of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations was Leslie Walkus, Councillor.

JOHN and SANDRA BARTH, who were nominated by the Nechako Lakes Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association.

BarthJohn and Sandra Barth are retired teachers, and school and district administrators in the community of Burns Lake. Since their retirement, more than 10 years ago, they have been instrumental in founding and running the Community Arts Council. Through the Council, John and Sandra bring at least three exemplary Arts performances per year to the community and the schools at no charge to the schools. Workshops are also organized for the schools and have included dance and drum instructors and ballet classes. John and Sandra do the organizing and come to the school with the performers, leaving the school, as the nomination letter noted, “to do nothing more than show up.” John and Sandra also facilitate and Arts 4 Youth program that runs year round and includes free shows and elementary school, dance workshops at the high school, and rock’n’roll  and visual arts camps. They also give generously of their time to support activities such as the Indigenous Arts festival, grad ceremonies, and Christmas concerts. As noted on the nomination letter, “John and Sandra Barth are fierce believers in public education and in the Arts. As former school administrators, they have never forgotten the work of the building principal. For more than 10 years they have done whatever they can to support the Arts in partnership with the schools and the community of Burns Lake. They have touched the lives of every student in our community.”