Alice Wlos receives Friends of Education Award

Alice Wlos presented with 2023-24 Aspen View Public Schools Friends of Education Award
Posted on 04/26/2024

In a ceremony held April 26, 2024 at Boyle School, Alice Wlos was presented with the 2023-24 Aspen View Public Schools Friends of Education Award by Ward 3 (Northeast) Trustee and Board Chair Candy Nikipelo, on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees of Aspen View Public Schools established the Friends of Education Award in 2022, to recognize organizations or individuals who have made a special contribution to education within the division. Mrs. Wlos was nominated for the Friends of Education Award by the Boyle School Council.

“Alice Wlos has committed her entire life to the improvement of the education of the students within Aspen View Public Schools,” Boyle School Council treasurer Stephanie Splane said. “Her long history of contributions to education within schools of Aspen View Public School Division, and within the entire community of Boyle, show that she is very deserving of the Friends of Education Award.”

Mrs. Wlos retired in 2001 from a teaching career that spanned 36 years. Most of her career was spent at Boyle School, but also at Richmond Park, Ellscott and Newbrook. She continues to substitute teach at schools in Boyle, Grassland and Athabasca. Following her retirement, Mrs. Wlos immediately became an active volunteer within the school community. “If you have attended Boyle School as a student, or if you’ve taught here as a teacher or worked here in any capacity at any point in time for the last 60 years, you were probably taught by Mrs. Wlos or you may have worked with her,” assistant principal Caitlynn Hrynyk said.

Each year, Mrs. Wlos proudly shares her Ukrainian heritage with Grade 2 & 3 students through traditional attire, artifacts and cultural displays. She shares how Ukrainian immigrants were important to the beginnings of the Boyle community, and can often connect students to their own Ukrainian heritage.

Mrs. Wlos also volunteers to help teachers with music classes, most notably teaching students how to play the recorder. At Friday’s award presentation, the Grade 4 class performed on the recorder, while the whole school serenaded Mrs. Wlos with the song with which is most commonly associated, Canada in My Pocket.

“Alice has a passion for recording and preserving the heritage and history of our community and sharing that with students and staff of our school,” added Boyle School Grade 1 teacher Deidre Keller. “She brings many pictures and props, along with songs and music, to present to classes the history of Boyle. It’s always interactive and children are allowed to see and use items, like old butter churns or a washboard, the same way it would have been used 100 years ago.” Mrs. Wlos has developed the Boyle Archives within the Boyle Public Library, and teachers are invited to bring their classes to visit and learn about the community’s history.

Mrs. Wlos also helped spearhead the Homestead School Sign project, the goal of which is to identify and mark the locations of former school sites within Athabasca County. To date, more than 80 such sites across nine different former school districts have been marked with signs, including a picture of each school and its years of operation.

In addition to her work with schools, Mrs. Wlos has and continues to serve on numerous community board and committees. “Any event that happens in Boyle, you will find Alice contributing in some grand way, whether it be volunteering her time to plan, carry out or clean up,” Mrs. Splane said. “She is truly a pillar of our community. Boyle School Council feels that no one in our community demonstrates a larger commitment to the improvement of education of students.”

“This is a full-circle moment for me,” Chair Nikipelo said in presenting the award. “Many years ago, Mrs. Wlos was my own Grade 5 teacher, and now here I am about 46 years later and I’m speaking to you as your local school trustee.

“For truly devoting most of your lifetime to promoting education, and for your love of students, know that everything you have done has been valued and appreciated.”

“I am truly honoured about you considering me for this award,” Mrs. Wlos reacted. “I thought it was sort of silly, because I still want to come back and teach! ‘Why are you still going to school?’ It’s because I love all the kids and all the staff.”
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