Two members from the Comox Valley Aboriginal Head Start Preschool received the 2014 provincial awards from the Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia (AHSABC). Phil Umpherville and Donna Ziner were presented their awards at the AHSABC annual gathering which took place in Harrison Hot Springs at the end of June.
Each year two awards are given out province-wide with nominations gathered from all 12 Aboriginal Head Start programs in B.C. This year both awards, the Soaring Eagle award and the Ruth Henkel Memorial award, were given to staff from the Comox Valley Aboriginal Head Start Preschool.
Phil Umpherville is a Cree Elder who brings his legends and traditions to life for the children through story-telling. He received the Soaring Eagle award for his 16 years of contributing to the program at the Comox Valley Aboriginal Head Start Preschool.
Umpherville is a great traditional story teller and has a way of capturing everyone’s attention in a room, especially the children.
“When the graduating class of 2014 was asked what their favourite thing to do at preschool was, more than half the students said listening to Uncle Phil’s stories and listening to him play his drum,” said Comox Valley Aboriginal Head Start Preschool co-ordinator Pam Moore, in a press release.
Donna Ziner, an early childhood educator at the Aboriginal Head Start, was the recipient of the Ruth Henkel Memorial award.
The memorial award is given to the AHS staff member who exemplifies excellence in aboriginal early childhood education and who through their work, nurtures Henkel’s dream.
Ziner has been with the CVAHS for three years.
“She goes above and beyond her job duties,” said Moore. “On her own time she is learning how to speak Kwakwaka so she can bring it back to the classroom and share with the children. We are honoured to have Donna as a member of our team.
“Congratulations and thank you again Phil Umpherville and Donna Ziner for your service and commitment to bettering the education and lives of our children.”