July 2, 2019
Irin Fediuk poses for a grad photo during the celebration at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital on June 3. After 10 years, Fediuk received his high school diploma through the Hospital School Campus Program — a partnership between Edmonton Public Schools and AHS Edmonton Zone Addictions and Mental Health (AMH). The program supports the unique needs of adults who require a supportive learning environment to upgrade their education or work towards their high school diploma.
Story by Vanessa Gomez | Photo by Raylene Pearson
EDMONTON — With summer upon us, students are excited about graduation, as they mark the end of their school year.
For students of Highwood High School, June 3 marked a special day as they walked across the stage of the Bill Black Auditorium at Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital to receive their high school diplomas.
“To see them walk across the stage today really fills my heart,” says Debbie Bale, a teacher at Highwood High School for three years. “I got to spend my time dedicated to these students and what they need.”
The program is a partnership between Edmonton Public Schools and AHS Edmonton Zone Addictions and Mental Health (AMH) in response to the unique needs of adults who require a supportive learning environment to upgrade their education or work towards their high school diploma. The program is module-based and tailored to each individual’s learning style.
Each student is also connected to an AMH Occupational Therapist (OT), who helps the individual to identify their academic and career aspirations as well as strategies to maximize their success in the classroom.
“The OT remains connected to the student during their time at Highwood to support the student’s progress,” says Cara Weir, an OT with Addiction and Mental Health Services, Recovery Supports Program.
“This could include things such as supporting the student’s development or implementation of learning strategies, making recommendations around learning materials or suggesting adaptations in the classroom environment.”
Students are able to complete their courses at an accommodated pace and, by the end, will be more equipped to head into post-secondary or the workforce.
Irin Fediuk was among the graduates and, after 10 years working towards his diploma, he is excited for all the possibilities available to him now.
“All the teachers went above and beyond to make sure I didn’t give up,” he says. “I really appreciated how much people cared and this beautiful event they planned for us.”
Bale sees the challenges her students – like all high school students – face. But she is determined to continue inspiring them.
“They have ups and downs, but that’s OK,” says Bale. “Giving them the support they need in any way I can is important. It’s definitely a process, but it’s a team effort that really gives these students a chance.”
At present, there are about 150 students, at varying degrees of learning, who are currently working to achieve their diplomas.