Education faculty turns 100

By Felicia Pacentrilli

It all started in 1905 when the first provincial teacher education program opened its doors at the Calgary Normal School. It offered a four month training session to prepare mostly female 17 and 18 year olds to teach grades one through eight in small rural communities. Now, 100 years later at the same site ­- SAIT’s Heritage Hall – the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Education unveiled the anthology, My Most Memorable Teacher:100 Stories Celebrating 100 Years of Alberta Teaching Excellence.

From the one room classes of the ’20s through to the packed auditoriums of the ’90s the book captures the accomplishments of teachers throughout the province in the past century. It is the culmination of a year of work which began with a call for submissions. After receiving hundreds of inspiring stories from Cereal to Fort Saskatchewan to High Prairie, the judges narrowed it down to the top 100 entries which were then published in the anthology.

On November 20, almost 100 of the teachers and authors featured in the book were reunited to celebrate its release. Marilyn Wickenheiser, mother of hockey icon Hailey Wickenheiser, was honoured to be a part of the celebration.

“It’s great to be recognized and see a student from the past again,”she said.

Students and their former teachers, some who have not seen each other in decades remembered their stories, signed each other’s books, and had the opportunity to thank each other in person. The day marked the final official Alberta centennial celebration; other activities included an interactive alumni website and a Centennial Scholarship Fund to continue to attract bright new teaching candidates to the Faculty of Education, the U of C’s first faculty.

U of C President Dr. Harvey Weingarten spoke about the evolution of teacher education in Calgary.

“It’s so fitting that this final tangible product is a book,” said Weingarten.

The anthology features stories from former Premier Peter Lougheed, former Calgary Catholic School trustee Linda Blasetti, Senator Don Hayes and Global News Anchor Gord Gilles, and is now available in libraries and bookstores across the province.

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