Julie Blank (centre) with Judy MacKay (left), Superintendent, Area C Schools and Gary Strother, Chief Superintendent, Calgary Catholic School District.

Julie Blank (centre) with Judy MacKay (left), Superintendent, Area C Schools and Gary Strother, Chief Superintendent, Calgary Catholic School District.

After graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor of Education Degree from St. Mary’s University, Julie Blank carried on to her first year of teaching at a Catholic elementary school in NE Calgary, something she was inspired to do from young age.

“I had some amazing teachers in elementary that were pretty influential to me wanting to pursue my career in education,” she says.

Julie, like many of the St. Mary’s Education graduates, found employment right after graduation and couldn’t be happier to have settled in to an environment where she thrives and grows every day.

“I got a job right after graduating from St. Mary’s and I absolutely love the school I teach at. I have the most amazing students with the kindest hearts! I honestly brag about my kids all the time but I can’t help it, they really are the best. Working with them daily has been a wonderful start to my career.”

Julie’s love for her job, shown through her dedication and commitment to her students, hasn’t gone unnoticed by her colleagues. In spring 2016 Julie was nominated by the principal where she works for the 2016 Edwin Parr Award; a prestigious award presented by the Alberta School Boards Association to first-year teachers who showcase teaching excellence.

 “Teaching is a tough profession, especially in the first few years, so I just worked really hard and contributed to the school community the best I could. It was really humbling to be nominated,” she adds.

Edwin Parr awards are given out by zones across the province.  Julie was nominated to represent the Calgary Catholic School District in Zone 5, along with other teachers from the area, including some of her former St. Mary’s classmates; Anna Ross, Antonio Oliverio and Jamie McAndrews, who also graduated in 2015.

Each of the nominees representing the CCSD were invited to the Calgary Catholic School District Annual General Meeting and that night Julie was selected as the Zone 5 representative. After being selected to represent CCSD, her and the other zone representatives carried on to give a 10-minute presentation to the Alberta School Board Association where she was selected as the Zone 5 winner.

“Winning the Zone 5 award was quite a shock! All of the other nominees had amazing presentations and are all great teachers. Really, anyone could have won that evening!”

Congratulations to Julie Blank for winning the 2016 Edwin Parr Award and to the other nominees for their dedication to teaching and showcasing excellence in the profession.