Recent History – 2001
May 17, 2001
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
Mr. Kolkea is a teacher that seems to always have time for students if they need help….You name it, he’s helped me with it.
Surely, the happy experience of working with this young man will be an inspiring memory for students and colleagues throughout their lives. If only all children could have such a teacher!
School board chair Yvonne Elden
Such are the accolades expressed that helped earn Central Middle School (CMS) teacher Trevor Kolkea a certificate of achievement in the Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence.
He is one of 50 teachers across Canada who will be presented with a certificate, a plaque, and $1,000 to purchase an item for the school.
Already an enthusiastic teacher, the recognition has made Kolkea even more energetic.
“It’s been a real boost of energy for me because now all of a sudden it’s like wow, people are really noticing what you’re doing,” he said.
In all 215 teachers that were nominated this year. A further 15 won certificates of excellence, which include $4,000 and a four-day trip to Ottawa.
Kolkea, who grew up in Ontario, has taught at Central Middle School for three-and-a-half years. Over that time, he’s developed a reputation for establishing a dynamic and effective working environment.
Students in his class use an agenda planner and Steven Covey’s Seven Habits for Highly Effective Teens at the end of each school day.
As well, there is a 93 per cent pass rate in his grade eight class, with 35 per cent making the honour roll. There has also been a 91 per cent attendance rate for the year.
Kolkea has also been a force behind increased student and staff involvement in extracurricular activities. In three years, student participation increased from 24 per cent to 72 per cent in three years, while staff participation has increased from 68 to 88 per cent.
And he organizes production of the school yearbook as an employment skills development project. Kolkea acts as an employer and students are the employees, required to demonstrate an ability to work independently before they can work in groups.
As much as others heap credit on him, Kolkea gave credit to Elden for getting the ball rolling and especially to CMS vice principal Brett Cooper for following through to the tune of an eight-page account of Kolkea’s accomplishments.
Kolkea was also tricked into compiling a presentation that was included in the nomination package, when school principal Dick Powell asked him to put something together for a school board meeting.
“I even had a title for my write-up. It was going to be a whole speech,” Kolkea said. “And I came back to him about a month later and asked him am I ever going to do my board presentation? And that’s when he sat me down and told me what it was really for.”
Kolkea believes that there are many other teachers who are just as worthy of winning the award as he, and believes that only 215 were nominated because the application is so time-consuming.
But he plans to help give a colleague similar recognition. “I’d like to make sure someone else has their name and profile done and considered in the future too,” he said.
Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill will present the certificate, plaque and money to Kolkea when he’s back in the riding. Meanwhile, Kolkea is thinking about how the money should be spent.
“I’d like to find somewhere in the school where the $1,000 could be used for something that has a bit of longevity,” he said.