May 2001

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APEGGA Honours
New Teaching Award Recipient

Public Affairs Officer

APEGGA has long made it a mandate to encourage and inform the students of Alberta about its professions. With in-class Outreach programs, active involvement in career-choice initiatives, and comprehensive scholarship support, the Association nurtures a strong and dynamic interest in the sciences and science careers.

It is fitting, then, that the APEGGA also looks to the teachers of tomorrow's engineers and geoscientists with appreciation for their daily commitment to the quality of our children's education and the continuity of the professions.

In this spirit, the Association was proud to award the APEGGA Excellence in Teaching Mathematics/Science Award to Stephen Gibbings at the 13th annual Excellence in Teaching Awards Gala, held May 5 at Calgary's Hyatt-Regency Hotel.

This award recognizes teachers who demonstrate exceptional ability to inspire students and excite their interests in math or the sciences. When one scans Mr. Gibbings' profile as a Chemistry 20 and 30 teacher at Cardston High School, it is not difficult to see why he was chosen as this year's recipient. Parents of his students refer to him as a natural teacher, and certainly his passion and ingenuity in finding ways to engage his students supports this description.

Mr. Gibbings seems to have discovered the key to communication with young adults while holding their attention and respect. He takes a fun and culturally savvy approach to the sometimes intimidating subject of chemistry, interspersing the hard facts of the discipline with multi-media presentations and even music. Anything likely to grab attention is fair game: Star Trek and X-Files posters, marshmallow molecular models, profiles on the heroes of chemistry and in-class team competitions -- they all work for Mr. Gibbings.

He has designed a computer Chemistry Jeopardy game to quiz his class on chemical principles. He has even gone so far as to write songs, accompanying himself on guitar, to help students remember information.

The fun he has in class is balanced by the care and effort he puts into the education process. Mr. Gibbings conducts regular study sessions after classes and in the evenings to help those who require it. He is committed to his own continuing education, taking courses to ensure that his knowledge is up-to-date.

Well-respected by his peers at Cardston High School, Mr. Gibbings is the chemistry spokesperson for his school division. He also helps to staff and supervise student events, and even coaches volleyball.

Under the tutelage of such a dynamic teacher, it is little wonder that students graduate from his class well-prepared and motivated to take further study at university levels. His nominators report that he is "the type of teacher who inspires students not only to love the subject, but to do better than they ever thought they could in chemistry." No small feat!

This is the first year that APEGGA, a member of the Excellence in Teaching Foundation, has presented at the Excellence in Teaching Awards ceremonies. Mr. Gibbings is the inaugural recipient of the APEGGA Excellence in Teaching Mathematics/ Science Award, and he sets an auspicious standard for those to come.

He will no doubt continue to inspire young scientists and represent the quality of Alberta's teachers for years to come.



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