St. Fran­cis School wins award of merit

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St. Fran­cis School in Har­bour Grace has re­ceived an award of merit from the provin­cial Depart­ment of In­no­va­tion, Busi­ness and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment for its con­tin­ued high level of ex­cel­lence for en­cour­ag­ing youth in­no­va­tion.

The an­nounce­ment was made dur­ing a cer­e­mony at the Delta St. John’s Ho­tel and Con­fer­ence Cen­tre on June 18.

It was part of the depart­ment’s 2012 Ex­port and In­no­va­tion Awards. The awards rec­og­nize in­di­vid­u­als, busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions that are ex­celling in the ar­eas of in­no­va­tion and ex­port­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease, St. Fran­cis School, led by the school’s tech­nol­ogy teacher — Nor­man Lit­tle­john — has con­sis­tently in­tro­duced stu­dents to in­no­va­tive learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that cap­ture their in­ter­est and en­cour­age them to think, cre­ate and in­no­vate.

St. Fran­cis is a Grade 6-9 school with stu­dents pri­mar­ily from Har­bour Grace and Car­bon­ear.

Lit­tle­john and prin­ci­pal Deb­o­rah Ryan were on hand to ac­cept the award.

Lit­tle­john de­scribed it as an “amaz­ing award for the stu­dents and staff,” and added “it shows the in­no­va­tive projects that are com­ing from our stu­dents.”

An of­fi­cial with In­no­va­tion, Busi­ness and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment de­scribed Lit­tle­john as an “amaz­ing teacher” and cred­ited the praised the school for its in­no­va­tive ways of teach­ing stu­dents.

For ex­am­ple, the school has been operating a green house for many years, and has been grow­ing veg­eta­bles that will help feed ath­letes dur­ing the up­com­ing New­found­land and Labrador Summer Games in Au­gust. The school’s robotics pro­gram has also been at­tend­ing in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions for the past nine years, and each class­room has an in­ter­ac­tive smart board.

An un­der­wa­ter robotics pro­gram was in­tro­duced in re­cent years, and the school will in­crease its use of tech­nol­ogy next year when it in­tro­duces wire­less com­puter tablets for stu­dent use.

What’s more, the school has a tele­vi­sion stu­dio from which morn­ing announcements are pro­duced. This is also a stu­dent-led ini­tia­tive.

Lit­tle­john said it was a “strange feel­ing” to be at­tend­ing such an award cer­e­mony, sit­ting along­side cor­po­ra­tions and busi­nesses with up to 900 staff.

“To be re­garded with that cal­i­bre of or­ga­ni­za­tion is a nice feel­ing,” said Lit­tle­john, who has been teach­ing for 17 years and hails from Co­ley’s Point.

Other award win­ners in­clude the fol­low­ing:

• Ex­porter of the Year Award — Ver­afin, a provider of fraud de­tec­tion and anti-money laun­der­ing soft­ware, is this year’s win­ner. The award ac­knowl­edges a local en­tre­pre­neur or busi­ness that is suc­cess­fully ex­port­ing its prod­ucts to in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. Ver­afin has ex­pe­ri­enced rapid growth, with more than 850 cus­tomers world-wide.

• In­no­va­tion in Busi­ness Award — this year’s win­ner is Best Boy En­ter­tain­ment, a film, tele­vi­sion, and in­ter­ac­tive dig­i­tal me­dia com­pany that is us­ing in­no­va­tion to drive com­pany growth and di­ver­sify its line of prod­ucts. The award ac­knowl­edges a com­pany for its abil­ity to cre­ate new op­por­tu­ni­ties through in­no­va­tion.

• Dis­tinc­tion in In­no­va­tion Award — This year’s win­ner is Cen­tre for Marine Sim­u­la­tion, Marine In­sti­tute, which has de­vel­oped sim­u­la­tors that pro­vide its clients with the abil­ity to un­der­take ship ma­neu­ver­ing and pro­ce­dural tri­als, per­for­mance ex­am­ina- tion and im­prove­ments, marine equip­ment test­ing and port de­sign eval­u­a­tion. This award dis­tin­guishes an in­di­vid­ual or group that has taken a lead­er­ship role in ad­vanc­ing New­found­land and Labrador’s in­no­va­tive cul­ture and cre­at­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­dus­try.

Keith Hutch­ings, Min­is­ter of In­no­va­tion, Busi­ness and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, an­nounced the win­ners.

“The success of the com­pa­nies cel­e­brated through the 2012 Ex­port and In­no­va­tion Awards shines the light on the vi­brancy and in­creas­ingly di­ver­si­fied na­ture of New­found­land and Labrador’s busi­ness com­mu­nity,” said Hutch­ings. “It is a com­mu­nity that has be­come syn­ony­mous for devel­op­ing new prod­ucts, find­ing new mar­kets, and us­ing in­no­va­tion to ul­ti­mately cre­ate new op­por­tu­ni­ties for New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans.”

Part­ners of the provin­cial govern­ment in co-or­di­nat­ing the Ex­port and In­no­va­tion Awards are the New­found­land and Labrador Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Women En­trepreneurs, New­found­land and Labrador As­so­ci­a­tion of Tech­nol­ogy In­dus­tries, Cana­dian Man­u­fac­tur­ers & Ex­porters, and Ocean­sAd­vance.

The soc­cer field in Bay Roberts is still a con­tentious is­sue for the town.

Sub­mit­ted photo

Teacher Nor­man Lit­tle­john (left) and prin­ci­pal Deb­o­rah Ryan of St. Fran­cis School is shown ac­cept­ing an award of merit from Keith Hutch­ings, Min­is­ter of In­no­va­tion, Busi­ness and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment.

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