Grande Prairie Composite High School Automotive Teacher Dave Stewart has been selected as the 2022 recipient of the Skills Alberta Canada Sturdy 30 Award.
Stewart took the long route to become a teacher but says the journey was well worth the destination.
“I started out in the trades. I quit school in about 1978. I worked for a while then got my journeyman’s certificate in 1989. In 2008 a friend of mine called me saying there was a job available at the school district for a mechanic in the shop as a teacher. I started my education degree at 48 and finished at 58,” he explains.
“When I heard the news it was very humbling. I don’t teach for recognition but at the same time it does mean a lot to me. The reason I took the job is that I want to inspire students to be the best they can and I like to give them a perspective of what kind of trades careers are out there.”
Stewart, school staff, and students are looking forward to the move to the new Grande Prairie Composite High School. The project cost approximately $78.5 million to complete. Construction began at the school in November of 2019.
“I almost have to catch myself when I walk into the new school. It feels more like a college or university. They did an amazing job on it. I think the new design will help students stay more focused on the projects they are working on in the shop,” he says.
Stewart says he has many people to thank for helping him in his career.
“My wife stuck by me when I went through university, living in Edmonton on and off. There are a lot of people I’m grateful for. Everyone at the Grande Prairie Public School Division has been amazing to me,” he adds.
Stewart prepares students for potential careers in skilled trades, such as Automobile Technology, Outdoor Power and Recreation Equipment, Welding, and Workplace Safety.