Fort Chipewyan students celebrate opening of multimedia lab

Technology can open doors of opportunity and has the ability to provide endless tools for growing and expanding minds.

Computers, iPads, software and other equipment can make a world of difference to schools and students of all ages. The Athabasca Delta Community School (ADCS) in Fort Chipewyan recently completed a computer lab renovation and upgrade, and Syncrude is proud to have supported the initiative.

Using creative thinking and working together with many people in Fort Chipewyan, Fort McMurray and beyond, the new ADCS computer lab held a grand opening ceremony last month. Principal Kerri Ceretzke was instrumental in bringing big changes to their outdated computer lab and getting it up to current technological standards.

“The lab needed updating for our students to benefit the most with new learning software and programs that technology can provide. We thought, we’ll reach for the stars with our investment request with Syncrude. To our surprise, they said yes. It was an indescribable feeling,” says Kerri.

It took more than a year and involved a lot of moving parts to see the lab become operational.

Kerri ceretzke

For example, ergonomic furniture such as chairs and desks were delivered up the Athabasca River by boat, renovation supplies came on a barge from Fort Smith, North West Territories, and other supplies were brought to Fort Chipewyan on a bush plane, commercial aircraft or via the winter road.

The old computer lab required engineering updates and had to be gutted from floor to ceiling to allow updated network cables to be run throughout.  After the initial demolition and construction, the renovations included new Smartboard and green screen technology, 24 desktop computers, 52 laptops and advanced learning software/programs. Aside from curriculum-based learning, the new lab is providing an outlet for even more education.

Some students have been using new movie editing software to film personal documentaries about living in Fort Chipewyan while others are engaging with their culture using apps for the Cree and Dene languages.

“We need technology to move forward in the world. It links the past, present and future together,” said Rubi-Helen Shirley, Northland School Division Ward 9 Trustee and Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) Councillor, who spoke at the grand opening celebration. “I am grateful to see everyone here to celebrate. I hope all the students will keep doing their best.”

Syncrude Managing Director Doreen Cole attended the grand opening celebration along with other community members and school officials. Syncrude’s funding for the project was made possible by its Community Investment Program.

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