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Excellence in Hands-On Learning at BCHS

For Jennifer Vermillion from Bonnyville Centralized High School, providing opportunities for hands-on learning is a key component of connecting with students and engaging them in curriculum. A dedicated math and science teacher, Vermillion stands out as a quietly compassionate educator with an unwavering commitment to inclusive and experiential learning.

“Jen is so quiet about the things that she does, but she does so much for her students and for all of us here at BCHS. It doesn’t matter what any given student needs, or what problems they have; she makes things happen and makes things work in a way that’s right for that student. Her classroom management is remarkable, and I have never had a single student say a negative thing about her,” said Assistant Principal Michael Straile.

Vermillion possesses the ability to connect with and include all students in her class, earning admiration from both students and colleagues. Notably, Vermillion incorporates hands-on learning techniques into her classroom, exemplified by her recent involvement in Skills Canada Alberta’s Innovations in Water Conservation Design Challenge. The challenge tasked students with developing a prototype of a water conservation solution for their home, school, or community. Vermillion's approach encompassed a multidisciplinary project, where students acquired skills in woodworking, metalworking, and sewing. Reflecting on the experience, Vermillion stated, “We took the time to learn these skills, discussed the issues surrounding water conservation, and then created a prototype of our water conservation unit.”

The impact of this project was evident in the students' growth and leadership development. Vermillion observed, “I saw leaders step up and take charge that I never would have expected. It was almost a challenge to help the students scale down to a prototype; they were so ready to just take on everything and build fully-functioning units.”

In addition to her classroom endeavors, Vermillion leads the environmental club at BCHS and frequently organizes outdoor field trips as part of her lessons.

“I made a promise to myself a few years ago to have more motion and activity in my class,” she said. “I knew I needed to talk less, and students needed to be given the freedom to find solutions for themselves. Everybody can do something in class; everybody can participate in hands-on learning.”

Principal Mark Centazzo praised her commitment to her students, stating, “Jennifer is always digging for opportunities to further the learning and enhance the engagement of her students. Kids want to be in her class, and they feel so welcomed and respected there.”

Jennifer Vermillion is the Northern Lights Public Schools Staff Shining Star for the month of March. Each month during the 2023-2024 school year, NLPS features different Shining Stars, celebrating their contributions and accomplishments.