KINKORA - It was an exciting morning for students and staff at Somerset Elementary in Kinkora on Thursday as Grade 2 teacher Fran Albrecht was awarded with the Prince Edward Island Home and School Federation 2011 Extra Mile Award for the western region.
"This is a total surprise. It has been my pleasure and my love to be here every day. This award is for all of us together, it's a school celebration," Albrecht told Somerset students at the award presentation assembly held in the school's gymnasium. "This really means a lot. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart."
The Extra Mile Award recognizes a teacher or staff personnel who exemplifies going above and beyond what is required of them. Two recipients are awarded each year - one from the western region and one from the eastern. The award was first presented during the 2004-05 school year and has become a highlight of Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week ever since.
P.E.I. Home and School Federation President Owen Parkhouse visited Somerset to present Albrecht with the award.
"All staff members in a school have a huge impact on our children's lives, and deserve our appreciation and recognition," said Parkhouse.
Albrecht's nomination described her as a "gentle, caring and creative person who leaves a lasting impression on each of the students who experience her class."
She is widely known by students as the hands-on learning teacher, often planning activities such as maple tree tapping and beehive watching.
Somerset Principal Derik Arsenault views the school's breakfast program as one of Albrecht's greatest accomplishments.
"Her and her husband basically took the breakfast program over and it is their mission to make sure the kids are fed and have full bellies and are ready to go to class every morning," shared Arsenault. "She took that upon herself to do that for the school."
Several students, parents and staff wrote letters of support to accompany Albrecht's nomination. One Somerset student wrote in their nomination, "She's just so nice, just like a Grammy."
Albrecht is the first Somerset staff member to receive the Extra Mile Award although she is the third from Kinkora. Former Kinkora recipients are Kevin Stewart and Bonnie Rogerson, both of Kinkora Regional High School.