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Leduc, Alberta: First year teaching is a difficult challenge. It is a time of intense personal growth when everything you have learned in university must be applied in your own classroom.

Niki Balcombe is a renaissance teacher, who instructs drama, musical and technical theatre, cosmetology, dance, physical education, and English language arts at Christ The King School. Balcombe believes faith should permeate all subjects in a Catholic school. In her classroom, students talk openly about faith and God. “I believe a student’s education should be for the whole child and faith is a major part of a child. Faith is more than just religion class and it is wonderful to explore all aspects of faith with students,” she says.

Students embrace Balcombe’s teaching style. Her approach is each class is a new day to learn and grow. She believes learning should be fun and mistakes embraced. “Without mistakes,” she says, “we don’t learn.” The key to creating a classroom where it is safe to make mistakes is being honest and open with students. “I love the look on a student’s face when they realize they are capable of so much more than they thought. To give them the courage to try something new and always be willing to help others,” she adds.

Balcombe is honoured and humbled for being nominated. “There are many wonderful teachers in the district. To me, this nomination means my students are receiving a solid education and I am using the skills and passion God gave me for teaching.”

“Niki Balcombe was a gift from Heaven and I am so proud of her accomplishments in this her first full year as a CTK teacher,” says Principal Denis Cote. “Niki has brought so much to our school through our new fine arts programs in the last 2 years and has created a contagious environment of spirit for all CTK students in the programs that she teaches and coaches.”

St. Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic School Division is a Christ-centered Catholic community committed to providing the highest quality education to 3,000 students. STAR serves the Catholic communities of Beaumont, Drayton Valley, Lacombe, Leduc, Ponoka, and Wetaskiwin.

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