ST. LEWIS, NL – In her 16 years of teaching, April Poole has proven herself a leader of distinction.
The St. Lewis Academy teacher was recently honoured for her leadership at the school as a recipient of the Leader of Distinction award from the Canadian Student Leadership Association.
The award is given to an educational professional who has “consistently demonstrated excellence in leadership and an extraordinary commitment to the development of student leadership in Canada.”
Poole, who teaches English and French from Grade 4 to 12, received the award in October at the closing banquet of the Provincial Student Leadership Conference in Grand Bank.
She was one of 10 provincial winners.
She tells the Northern Pen she was shocked by the honour.
Poole explains that all the other people in the governing body of Student Leadership NL, which she is also part of, kept it a secret from her.
She says they decide together who to nominate for the award. But, this year, she was so busy she didn’t even realize they hadn’t made that decision.
Turns out, her colleagues made it without her knowledge because she was the nominee.
At the banquet, she had no idea what was coming until the announcement was underway.
Poole has spent 15 of her 16 years as a teacher at St. Lewis Academy.
She first taught for a year in St. Anthony.
When she moved back to her hometown of St. Lewis to teach, she says there was no student council at the school. So, Poole helped start one up.
“We basically built it from the ground up,” she told the Northern Pen.
The council has taken on a leadership role in the school.
Over the years, they’ve done anti-bullying initiatives, video dances, weekly and monthly school spirit events, pep rallies and other events, and have recently become a Me to We School.
According to Poole, the Me to We initiative promotes social justice issues like raising money for the poor,
“The kids over the years are very involved, they’re very spirited,” she said. St. Lewis Academy is one of a few schools that travel to the island for leadership conferences.
And Poole says the school has developed a reputation of being spirited and involved even though it’s a small school.
While academics are the first focus of schooling, Poole says these activities, coordinated through the school council, help make school fun for the students and keep them involved.
“We’ve found with the younger kids, they look forward to being able to join student council,” said Poole. “Everyone is so involved, and we see that coming up through now.”