Not Your Average Highschools: Setting Our Youth Up for Success

Exceptional Student Success at FMPSD Courtesy of Excellent Staff and Programming.

You have to look no further than last year when FMPSD graduates collectively garnered over $1 million in scholarships. That’s no typo – that’s over one million dollars in scholarships!

Students like Maryam Tsegaye, our École McTavish grad, the first Canadian to win the Breakthrough Junior Worldwide Video contest. Her video on quantum tunnelling was chosen from 5600 entries from almost 200 countries. She won a $250,000 (USD) scholarship, the school received a $100,000 state-of-the-art science lab with $50,000 going to her teacher, Kathy Vladicka. And, to top it all off – she’s now at Stanford University.

Or, Shreeya Patel, our Westwood Community High School grad, offered a $120,000 University of San Francisco Scholarship, declined it, and is now at the prestigious Columbia University in New York, pursuing Engineering.

Tanisha Kadia, our McTavish grad, is another well-known name across the Division. She won the prestigious $100,000 Loran Scholarship this March, the largest undergraduate award in Canada! She was one of only 30 students across the nation, who won the coveted honour; and was selected from over 6,000 applicants – the only student honoured from Fort McMurray.

These are just a few of the many names from last year alone. Scott Barr, Principal, McTavish, notes, “the work the staff do around developing the well-rounded student is paying off with the success of many of our students in the past few years. We are proud of students like Tanisha and Maryam, to name a few, who are achieving such high accolades, but are staying true to our school’s focus on performing well in many different areas and retaining that family feel.”

“Our program variety allows students to try different fields, without having to sacrifice a passion. Play in the band, take university prep classes, lead robotics for younger students, or be a sports star, that’s all possible here without giving up any one. Overall FMPSD students have been excelling provincially, nationally, and internationally, due to all of our schools’ constant commitment to do what’s best for students,” he added.

Said El Mejdani, Computer Science teacher at Westwood, is a recurring name amongst successful students, who, they say, inspires them constantly.

“At Westwood we believe that our students are at the age where their creativity is at a maximum and they need to be challenged with high level learning experience to achieve their full potential. We are proud of them,” notes El Mejdani.

Annalee Nutter, Associate Superintendent, FMPSD, agrees. She believes FMPSD’s vast programming begins grooming students from elementary school.

“Starting as young as primary school, students are exposed to a variety of extracurricular activities outside the classroom, as well as unique learning opportunities in-class. Whether this means artists in residence, robotics, field trips, job mentorship programs, multiple sports academies or school musicals, there is an abundance of activities helping students find a passion.”

“Technology is huge across FMPSD at all grade levels and our students get the best of the best when it comes to programming. This was recently evident in Dhruv Patel’s (Westwood grad, 2018) tweet regarding the success of a company he established while attending University of Waterloo. The sky really is the limit for FMPSD students, we are proud of their extraordinary success.”

Doing What’s Best for Kids. For more information on any of our 16 schools, visit For real time updates: follow us on Twitter: @FMPSD and like us on Facebook: Fort McMurray Public School Division. We are also on Instagram @FMPSD.

Contributor | + posts

Kiran Malik-Khan is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.

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