Abbotsford/Ottawa – Debbie Mar, a teacher at Upper Sumas Elementary, has been selected as a recipient for the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Education. Mar is the only recipient to be selected from British Columbia for the 2020 Awards. Throughout her practice, she follows student interest to develop meaningful and engaging learning opportunities. Mar has been an ardent educator for over 25 years with the Abbotsford School District.

“This past December the president of the Dutch Liberation 2020 Canadian Society approached me with a request to support a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence nomination for Debbie Mar, in part for her recent work with The Tulip Project and Veteran Affairs,” said Erica Hopkins, Principal for Upper Sumas Elementary. “It was a request I gladly supported. Debbie Mar is a remarkable teacher who has been passionately committed to her craft for 26 years. Mrs. Mar’s devotion to students and their success, as both young learners and active citizens, is unwavering. She helps her students recognize their strengths and gives students strategies to overcome obstacles. Most importantly, Mrs. Mar inspires students to love and care about themselves, each other and their learning.”

The Tulip Project, one of the school’s milestone endeavours, saw Mar and her students spend weeks learning about the special relationship formed between Canada and the Netherlands during World War II. What started out as a simple project expanded into many real-world learning experiences for her students, including a field trip to a local cemetery, a class-produced short documentary film, a Remembrance Day ceremony for veterans, and the class learning to sing in Dutch for a Christmas concert. 

“Great teachers bring out the best in their students,” noted Dr. Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools for the Abbotsford School District. “They discover talents and passions that become the basis of lifelong learning, and they introduce students to new, innovative and meaningful experiences. Our school community and school district are very proud of Mrs. Mar and this achievement.”

Mar also implements many STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) projects into her classroom for students that include designing and building catapults, creating board games, and learning about robotics through the use of LEGO.

The Prime Minister’s Awards were created to honour educators who inspire the next generation of bold innovators. This fall, Mar will join ten other educators from across the country for a virtual ceremony with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to recognize and celebrate their impressive achievement.

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