About 350 students headed off to newly built Don Campbell Elementary School on Thursday. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Red Deer Advocate

VIDEO: First day of school for Central Alberta students

Drivers asked to be cautious of speed limits in school zones

School is back in session.

Red Deer Public Schools and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools welcomed students back to the classrooms on Thursday.

“We couldn’t wait to get this day going and the kids’ smiles says it all,” said Cam Pizzey, Don Campbell Elementary School principal.

Currently 360 students are enrolled in the new K to 5 school.

The public school is named after Don Campbell — a highly respected former principal and administrator.

Pizzey said Campbell would have loved the open concept of the school, which allows the focus on parent and community engagement. He said this was something Campbell had advocated for throughout his career.

Campbell’s daughter Jan Ludwig is teaching Grade 2 at the school.

“It feels like such an honour. It’s very humbling too,” said Ludwig, who has worked in the division for more than 24 years.

Don Campbell was the first principal of G.H. Dawe Community School when it opened in 1976. The concept of a facility with both public and Catholic schools, recreation facilities, a library and a community hub was new at the time, and Campbell played a significant role in its success. He died in 2004 from Leukemia.

The school’s interior includes three outdoor classrooms, a music room, a shared community space including a gymnasium, a makerspace with access to 3D printing, and collaborative spaces.

“It’s an open concept and small groups can work together in these collaborative spaces but still be in close proximity to teachers,” said Bruce Buruma, Red Deer Public Schools director of community relations.

The K to 5 school serves students in the the Inglewood/Ironstone and Vanier/Vanier Woods communities.

Students were also reminding motorists that it was the first day of school.

At Holy Family Elementary School, Grade 5 and Grade 6 students and AMA School Safety patrollers reminded drivers to be cautious of speed limits in school zones around the city at crosswalks.

Two new schools also opened in the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools division – St. Joseph High School in Red Deer and St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds.



Holy Family Elementary School student Gavin Nelson was one of the volunteer students who helped the AMA School Safety Patrollers on Thursday. Photo by Mamta Lulla Red/Deer Advocate

Don Campbell Elementary School grade 2 teacher Jan Ludwig is the daughter of the school’s namesake Don Campbell. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

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