Therapy Dogs and Other Helping Animals

Therapy Dogs and Other Helping Animals

Ellie, RVS Grade 4 student – At Ralph McCall we are very lucky to have some classrooms with class pets. There is fish, a snake and a hedgehog, but everyone’s favourite is our school Therapy Dog, Hudson. (Or, as my brother calls him, “Nnn”.) I personally like Hudson because he helps people focus. Other students adore Hudson because of how he makes them feel. Here are a some of their opinions:

  • Isabelle feels comfortable and safe;
  • Keira feels happy;
  • Zuhal feels overjoyed;
  • Natalia feels protected;
  • Hunter feels great and safe;
  • Cooper feels good; and
  • Gage (my brother) feels happy and relaxed.

Hudson digging for a pizza.

Hudson is a great dog at school, but sometimes he does silly things. Once, Hudson went digging for a piece of pizza that someone had thrown away. When Hudson is in the room, do not turn your back on your lunch! And, don’t forget to watch your mittens!  Hudson is a great, furry friend to have at Ralph McCall.

Also, some schools or families could get a Service Dog from “Dogs with Wings“. These dogs come from a breeding program and receive special training. After their training, they are given to a family who applied for a Service Dog, Therapy Dog or Autism Dog. (They also have an office cat!) My family has applied for one of these dogs. We got to visit one named Cypress.

If you would like to know more about how Hudson became a Therapy Dog, visit the Chestermere Therapy Dogs Society website.

I hope my family gets a “Dogs with Wings” dog, but I am glad we get to have Hudson at my school, and even sometimes at my house too.

Ever Wonder Why Schools Have Official Openings?

Ever Wonder Why Schools Have Official Openings?

Sydney and Lily, RVS Grade 4 students – Have you ever walked by a school and wondered why they have official school openings? Well, in January, Fireside school had its official opening and we stopped and wondered why we needed an opening when our school was already open two months earlier. We learned that the purpose of having a school opening ceremony was to mark time and show that a new school was opening.

Many people may wonder why it is so important to have guest speakers. It is important because they provide a different perspective. Here are a few of the guest speakers who came to attend Fireside’s official school opening ceremony. The Minister of Education, Honourable David Eggen, came because, well, it’s a little obvious, he’s the Minister of Education and it’s a school opening. The guest speakers were treated very respectfully by the audience. Also, Mr. Jeff Genung was at the school opening. Jeff Genung is our Mayor. He came because he himself had been through Elizabeth Barrett’s school opening many years ago. Also, because a new school in his town opened and he needs to see the school.

Here are some things our principal, assistant principal, and we, Lily and Sydney think so far. The principal, Mr. Thomas Elbel, says “I think that we are a very fortunate school.” He says that he loves coming to work each day. He loves the students and staff. Mrs. Root, the assistant principal, says she thinks that all the students have good leadership. As well as Mr. Elbel, she loves the staff and students. We have about the same opinion of Fireside School. We think the school is great. We love the lockers, the other kids, we think the teachers are brilliant and we love the environment that Fireside school brings. We all can agree that Fireside school is a great place to be.

Check out Fireside School’s “We Are Fireside” video to see students and staff share what it feels like to build a new school community and school culture:


RVS Middle School Leadership Conference: Ignite Your Torch

RVS Middle School Leadership Conference: Ignite Your Torch

Chloe, RVS Grade 11 student – A couple of weeks ago (Feb. 12), the annual Middle School Leadership Conference (MSLC) was hosted at the Rocky View Education Centre in Airdrie, Alberta. I was proud to be a second-year member of the Rocky View Leadership Academy, and played a big role in the planning, preparing and running of this event.

This year MSLC took on the Winter Olympic theme of Igniting Your Leadership Torch! Throughout the duration of the jam packed day, we created fun games to teach the kids quality skills required for advancing their roles as leaders in their communities. These skills included things like teamwork, trust, communication, problem solving, collaboration and creativity! Later in the day we rotated through some small lessons for these kids to apply to their daily lives as active and involved individuals. Our goal was to help spark the flame of passion within each kid that came, to motivate them to put their unique personalities and talents to use.

There were very few moments when someone didn’t have a smile glued to their face, and that was what sparked my flame particularly. We wanted to recognize that these kids have wonderful ideas that come to them in seconds and that they should act upon those ideas, create to inspire others, and make others feel recognized as well. We sincerely hope that every person walked out of that building enlightened with a new set of skills and knowledge, as well as a new and excited outlook on leading others because no one ever leads completely alone. We passed the torch to the kids, and now they’re running with it all over Rocky View.

Proud to be a Mustang!

Proud to be a Mustang!

RVS Student, George McDougall High School – Seven years ago, George McDougall organized their first ever Ride of the Mustang after one of our very own mustangs was diagnosed with cancer. Since then, this annual 48-hour fundraiser has raised over $765,000 for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, which has gained us popularity throughout the community and granted our school the Top Fundraising School award from Kids Helping Kids every year. There are no words to describe just how special this fundraiser is. Although it takes over the City of Airdrie every year for only 48 hours, it will continue to leave a mark on the community forever.

After my first Ride of the Mustang, I knew I wanted to be involved. I had never in my life been in a room filled with so much energy, pride, and community. Over the 48 hours, there were fun games during all hours of the night that included everyone, a school-wide head shave, and memories that will last a lifetime. (Also, I will never un-see some of my teachers on stage doing a midnight karaoke session).

Since then it had been my goal to be a part of the ride and to make it bigger and better every year. As of 2017, for my senior year, I was the Chairman of the Operations committee and because of this opportunity I have had amazing experiences that have not only impacted me, but also the community.

A few of the committee members and I were given the chance to take a tour of the Alberta Children’s Hospital in December. We were given a detailed tour to see where exactly the money we raised was being spent. It was unbelievably heart warming. Seeing the hospital first hand opened our eyes and I remember leaving that day being completely overwhelmed with a sense of pride. There is no better feeling than to physically see how much of a difference you make in someone else’s life. Although the students of George McDougall may not know who we are helping personally, we believe that there is never a reason to turn down the opportunity to help someone in need. This is our school’s way of showing that children and families are not alone in the fight and we hope to ride forward for however long it may take.

This event proves how much of a difference can be made when a group of people come together with one common goal in mind. I will forever be inspired by our bikeathon and hope that it will encourage others to work together to make a difference in whatever it is they believe in.

As time passes and classes graduate, there is not a doubt in my mind that future students will hold true to the Ride of the Mustang legacy for years to come. I am so proud to be a Mustang!

Feeding the World in 2050

Feeding the World in 2050

Vienna and Sydney, WG Murdoch School Students – How in the world will we feed 9 Billion people in the year 2050?  The Airdrie / Crossfield 4H Helping Hands Club went on an eye opening field trip Saturday, Jan. 21, to Journey 2050 and we think everyone needs to hear this message!

As the population pushes up to 9 Billion by the year 2050, will it be possible to produce enough food to feed everyone? This was the key question posed to our Airdrie /Crossfield Helping Hands 4H Club members who attended the Journey 2050 Educational Session sponsored by Agrium currently set up at the Agrium Western Event Centre at the Calgary Stampede grounds.

This engaging five-hour program is being offered to school groups, 4H groups and more from all over the Calgary Region. The goal is to teach students about how important jobs and roles in agriculture will be, and what they might look like, as the world braces for the reality that we will need to produce 65% more food from the current land and water base. Is that even going to be possible? What will it require? Our 4H group was lead through a guided conversation around these concepts with the instructors who taught the day long program through games and interactive challenges.

The activities placed in front of our members helping them learn about farming and food production practices around the world today and how agriculture is going to become even more important as an industry as the population grows. It was a great chance to learn from experts, and work alongside other 4H members from all over the Calgary region.

We personally will be in our 40s in the year 2050. How will our diet compare in 2050 with what we enjoy now? Our members discussed the importance of balancing environmental, social and economic issues as the world tackles the key question of what we will all have to do to secure food production for 9 billion.

Crops will likely need to change, we will need to find ways to put lands like swamps and mountainous terrain into use for rice production and grazing animals like goats that can adapt to rocky outcrops for grazing space. We will also need to preserve the current supply of farmable land and not mow it over with urban sprawl.

Our club members left the session feeling the weight of this challenging issue. We found ourselves talking about what we can do now to 1. Reduce our personal food waste, 2. Eat and consume sustainably, 3. Monitor and reduce our personal water use, 4. And how we can reduce our environmental footprint. This is only a small number of topics and questions posed in this day-long session. Our club members are very grateful for the chance to learn more about this important environmental question – we hope everyone in the Rocky View region will attend Journey 2050 while it is in Calgary and we would encourage classrooms and 4H clubs from around Rocky View to consider checking it out!

Big thanks to our 4H friends in the Flatlands for organizing a 4H day at Journey 2050. More information is available online at