Homegrown in Aspen View: Kelly & Paul Feledichuk

Kelly & Paul FeledichukThe ever-so-popular saying “It takes a community to raise a child,” resides with Paul and I very much, especially when we moved back to rural Alberta to work for Aspen View School Division and to raise a family. Growing up in small towns, we both recognize the significance of this statement, realizing the impact this environment had on the both of us. We want our kids to be brought up surrounded by the same benefits and opportunities this division provided for us.

Paul and I are very proud to be Aspen View alumni, and we were honoured to be chosen to do a unique ‘couples edition’ submission to this inspiring campaign. The two of us graduated in 2006; Paul spent his schooling years in Thorhild, and I in Athabasca. Two years after graduation, and following a Summer Student placement, Paul knew Aspen View would be a wonderful place to work and establish a career. He received an Apprenticeship position with the division and completed his Journeyman Plumber/Gasfitter ticket and has been a part of our Maintenance Department for 12+ years. I attended Estelle Academy after I graduated and became a Journeyman Hairstylist. I worked in Sherwood Park for 7 years before deciding to make a career change to teach the trade l loved. Coming from a family of inspiring teachers, I knew going back to school and earning my Bachelor of Education at the University of Alberta was a good decision for me. I was very fortunate to qualify for the Bridging Program which helps train and place Journeyman teachers in Alberta schools. I began working for Aspen View in 2013 and immediately felt back at home. In my first year with the division, I was given a very unique assignment introducing an Apprenticeship Cosmetology program in Athabasca, Smith, Boyle, Grassland, Smoky Lake, Vilna and Thorhild. This was a very exciting first year as I had the privilege to work with so many students, administrators, staff teams and communities. As years went by, I narrowed my travel and finally concluded that a full-time, focused position in Thorhild was the best for our family. I was very eager to devote more of my time to the school and community we had chosen to make our home. 

We have two daughters that bring us more joy than we could ever imagine. Emma, who is 4 years old, started school this year and absolutely loves the Great Beginnings program in Thorhild Central School. She is already showing her school spirit, calling herself a Bulldog and wishing she could attend school every day of the week. Our youngest daughter, Kate, will be turning 2 this fall and is following in her sister’s footsteps by showing a passion for learning. We will be registering her for the Great Beginning’s program before we know it. 

When Paul and I began working in the division we both appreciated what a privilege it was to be able to work with the wonderful leaders who helped shape and mentor us when we were students. Many of these people are now valued colleagues, neighbours and close friends. Paul speaks of teachers, administrators and support staff that took the time to make strong, meaningful connections that left lasting impressions on him. I think back to the opportunities provided to me by teachers who put so much passion into their teaching, such as exciting field trips, engaging imaginative lessons, our Quebec Exchange, and the French Immersion program. 

Paul and I were both very athletically driven students, and we were both very pleased to have strong athletic programs in our schools to enhance our school engagement. Edwin Parr and Thorhild Central School always maintained a healthy sports rivalry, and it was actually at an Aspen View sporting event that we met for the first time. That same competitive rivalry still exists in each of us and often presents itself on the golf course or on the volleyball court. We both value the relationships and connections we made with our teachers, support staff and coaches, and find it important that we are now able to give back to our community. Paul and I have both enjoyed coaching at TCS individually as well as together. We find the mentorship part of coaching very effective and valuable to our student athletes, which is why we both love coaching in our community no matter what job title we hold. We run an Adult Volleyball League so that we can deepen our connection to the community and play a game we both love. After having Emma, I quickly saw the need for childcare services in our community, so we built a Board of Directors and opened Seeds to Sprouts Childcare, a not-for-profit daycare, right in Thorhild Central. I believe that having the daycare located in the school is beneficial and valuable for our community families and our school. 

We both believe in the power of connecting and embracing teachable moments. Paul remembers the time when a group of curious Kindergarten kids approached him while he was installing new faucets and began drowning him with practical plumbing questions. He took the time to talk to the kids, show them what he was doing and why he was doing it, in order to help the students understand. This situation made Paul realize that although he was not a teacher, he, as a member of the Maintenance Department, could still play a role in the education process in Aspen View.

Paul and I will always be thankful to the Aspen View community for its abundance of opportunities, strong mentorship and compassion towards us as children. These qualities are still present in our division today and remain the reasons we are proud to work and raise our family in Aspen View School Division.

Aspen View Public Schools

Kelly & Paul Feledichuk

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