Convocation medals are no small thing, and Portage la Prairie's own Hayley Bedard was recently named the winner of the William Aberhart Gold Medal in Education for Lethbridge University.

Bedard graduated with a near-perfect GPA, according to the University, and was awarded the medal. She says the award was something she really appreciates.

"Anyone who knows a teacher, has a friend who is a teacher or has a teacher in their family knows that teachers are a very specific type of people: They're high-achieving, they have big hearts, they're very passionate. So, to be recognized amongst a group of people who, really, every day that I would attend University, would blow me away with how passionate and dedicated they were. To be chosen amongst those people, it was a really big honour."

Since graduating, Bedard has already stepped into a working role at a school in Lethbridge.

"I finished my, what in Alberta is called, your PS III. So, your Professional Semester 3 is where you move from being a student teacher to an intern teacher. I completed that at Nicholas Sheran Elementary School here in Lethbridge. It's a four-month placement where you take on pretty much every responsibility of a certified teacher," she continues. "When I finished my internship, there was a teacher in our school who was leaving on a maternity leave, and they asked me if I would step into that Grade 2 position in the same school. So, I'm actually now in a teaching position. I get to end off the school year in the same school, and I am coming back for the fall to complete this maternity leave, so I get to not only end the school year here at Nicholas Sheran, but I also get to start a fresh school year, which is a new experience for me just having graduated. I'm really excited to get to see what that's like in September."

She adds that her years in school in Portage gave her the foundation to go into education.

"The vast majority of my K to 12 education happened in Portage la Prairie. I moved to Portage in the middle of my Grade 3 year, and I stayed in Portage from then to when I graduated. I would say that when you become a teacher, you definitely spend a lot of time thinking about the teachers you've had throughout your life. All of mine, basically, that I have memories of are from Portage and so I would just want to say for the people who live in Portage still and are attending K to 12 education, they truly were some of the best teachers that I could have had as role models."

Bedard notes that she wants to thank all the educators in her life, and notes, she doesn't know where she would be without them.