The City of Lacombe and Wolf Creek Public Schools recently recognized one of their own — teacher Steven Schultz, who recently received a Prime Minister’s Award, Certificate of Excellence from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa.
“I think the only thing that can top this is when I get to heaven and God says, ‘Well done’,” he said. “God has been so good to me and my faith has been part of my journey. If you serve out of selfish motivation, it will quickly be revealed. We are all selfish, but I strive to be selfless in what I do because I know my reward is in heaven.”
The celebration, held at Lacombe Composite High School, thanked him for his contribution to his craft and the community through the student-led initiatives like Ecovision and the United Robotics Club of Lacombe that he pioneered.
Schultz, at the celebration, gave his award back to the community — thanking everyone in attendance for their collaborative efforts which have supported his students.
“My Ecovision students came up with a model I have been able to use successfully,” he said. “Collaboration with the community is a such a key piece that we don’t incorporate as much as we could in our schools. If you don’t have the ability to be sympathetic, if you don’t have the ability to connect heart-to-heart with individuals — than you will be an island.”
Schultz said he learned at young age that it takes a community to raise a child and credited his parents for teaching him that at a young age, when they worked in Africa to help the less fortunate.
He also credited his time as a soccer coach, which has helped instill the value of team work in him.
“You can be the best player on the field, but if you can’t play with your team mates — the other team realize that if they shut you down, they shut the whole team down. If you can work together for a common good, you are more powerful. You are more powerful together than you are alone,” he said.
Schultz also tried to show his own vulnerability to his students in order to help them understand there is value in failure.
“If you stand in front of your classroom acting like you have it all together, that you never make mistakes and that you’re the teacher and they are the students — students will still learn but it is not a community of learners,” he said. “I quickly realized that I am not perfect and that I need a community of people behind me. I also need to be a community for others. It needs to be reciprocal and there will be times in your life where you may be giving more than you are getting.
“This year was sort of like that and then I won this prestigious award and I am full again.”
Schultz was initially nominated for the award by Mayor Grant Creasey.
“It was a pleasure to start this avalanche of support, but all I did was initiate it,” he said. “I want to thank all of the help we had including our communications director and our CAO who put together the package which in all honesty is pretty onerous for this award. It was a pleasure and I appreciate all the help in making it successful.”
Creasey said one of the big challenges of the nomination was keeping it a secret from Schultz — with many of his students, friends, family and co-workers being involved.
“From the City’s perspective, we appreciate the work that he does in shaping youth. For some of the programs he has initiated here, the City has worked closely with him. He is a pleasure to work with and hopefully we have many more years of successful partnerships coming up,” Creasey said.
Creasey said he is personally inspired by the work Schultz has done in his school.
“It doesn’t take long chatting with him to fully appreciate how passionate he is about his students and learning,” he said. ” Like he said, before you become a good teacher — you have to become a good learner and he is always ready and willing to go the extra mile.
“When someone is willing to look at the brass tacks, look at the truth and be innovative I find it inspiring and I hope lots do as well.”