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Fort McMurray Composite High School awarded exclusive literacy grant

Last Updated Jun 27, 2022 at 12:38 pm MST

Fort McMurray Public School Division announced Fort McMurray Composite High School has been awarded a $30,000 literacy grant by the Indigo Love Of Reading Foundation. The school is one of 31 nationwide, and one of two in Alberta to receive the prestigious grant. Photo supplied by FMPSD.

The Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD) has announced the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation awarded Fort McMurray Composite High school with a $30,000 literacy grant.

It’s one of 31 given across Canada, and one of only two awarded to schools in Alberta.

According to its website, the Foundation’s goal is “to provide Canadian children in need with access to relevant, diverse, and high-interest books and the opportunity to fall in love with reading.”

School librarian, Michelle Furtado, called it an amazing opportunity for the school.

“As the Composite Librarian, I see the needs and desire for our students to have access to the books they want to read. The library is the heart of our school and this will ensure we are able to offer cultural, language, and diverse materials for our students.”

Furtado said the staff can’t wait to continue to foster the love of reading at Composite High School.

Great timing

The news of the literacy grant is good timing for Composite High School and FMPSD.

In the spring of 2020, flooding impacted the school, and temporarily closed nearby Dr Clark School on Franklin Ave and the Division office.

READ MORE: FMPSD reports three downtown buildings closed due to flooding

READ MORE: FMPSD deeply impacted by the flood

Danny Tulk, Principal at Composite High School, said staff went to work as the school library had to replace much of its lost reading material.

“Our English Teacher, Colleen Schaffner, Educational Assistant, Leona Gillies, ELL Teacher Crystal Perry, Finance Secretary, Amber Macintosh Wilson and the Librarian, Michelle Furtado were exploring grant options. Multiple staff members wrote letters and an extensive grant application was submitted to the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.”

In May 2022, Composite High School was shortlisted, and after an interview, the Foundation chose their school to receive a grant.

Tulk said the $30,000 over three years will help toward the purchase of junior high materials for the school.

“We greatly appreciate the support for our school. The dedication by the Fort McMurray Composite High School staff in pursuing this grant goes to show the exemplary team we have and their remarkable dedication in finding ways to improve our school and, most importantly, help our students.”

He added the funds will also support inclusive classroom libraries to accommodate its diverse student body and English language learner students.

Composite High School is one of several schools in the FMPSD celebrating the return of in-person graduation ceremonies this year.