Skip to content

Local families recognized for contributions to education

Three local families are being recognized for their outstanding contributions to education in Bonnyville.
The Naim and Arabi families were presented with this year’s Friends of Education Award during NLSD’s system day.
The Naim and Arabi families were presented with this year’s Friends of Education Award during NLSD’s system day.

Three local families are being recognized for their outstanding contributions to education in Bonnyville.

The families of Mike Naim, Sal Naim and Sara Arabi were presented with Friends of Education Awards from Northern Lights School Division for their continued support of the division and specifically, Duclos School.

“It was really unexpected. The whole family felt honoured and humbled by the award,” said Arabi.

The award was given out during NLSD's annual system day in Bonnyville on Aug. 27. The Naim's and Arabi's were nominated by Duclos School, with the support of every staff member at the school.

“The family, they've made many contributions to Duclos School and NLSD over the years. Many of their children have attended Duclos School and are at Duclos currently,” said Richard Cameron, principal of Duclos School. “What we have felt, and have noticed as a staff, is that they have a great focus on education and community building, a great focus on family and active living, and they have been generous with not only their time and volunteer spirit but also with their financial donations to our school over the years.”

Together, the families have seven kids that have walked through the doors of Duclos School over the years. As parents, they have been continually involved as volunteers for bake sales, hot lunches and various other fundraising activities.

Thanks to donations the families have made to the school, staff have been able to purchase items for students including incentives for reading celebrations and treats for the school's Sports Day. They have also supported Duclos' breakfast program.

“Both the moms and dads regularly volunteer at our special events, we will usually see all of them here for an event our school is hosting. They own restaurants in town and they help us with food for special events and they invite teachers to take classes to the restaurants and have neat experiences like making pizza,” explained Cameron.

Mike Naim expressed that education is something their families find very significant in life, and they want to help out in whatever way they can to make sure the students receive the best education possible.

“It's important to educate people, period. Life begins with education, so anytime you can give someone the chance to focus on education instead of worry about other things I think it's important.”

Not only have the Naim's and Arabi's been generous with their support for the students at Duclos, but the families also make sure to recognize and show appreciation to school staff.

“At the end of the day, whether it's the school division, the teachers or the support staff, these are people that are helping form your child's character. They're not solely responsible, but they influence them to a large degree,” said Sal.

He added, “I think a person should be grateful and appreciate the hard work that they do. It's more gratitude I think than anything in that you place your children, the thing that means so much to you, and you ask these people to shape their identity.”

Their generosity isn't confined to inside the walls of Duclos School. Another reason for the families being nominated for this year's Friends of Education award, Cameron said is because of the role they play within the community.

“There are all of the things they've given to our school, but we also know they have done a lot for the Bonnyville community as well,” Cameron said. “Lots of charitable giving to a lot of causes, and I would say a lot of the causes they support are community building, community celebrations and show their commitment to education as an important builder for our community.”

While there are many parents who give their time to help out at Duclos, Cameron said the staff felt that these families have shown exceptional commitment to the school, not just because their kids attend, but because they truly value education. Sal was quick to reciprocate the praise back to NLSD, saying that the families are just showing their appreciation.

“I've traveled other parts of the world and we can complain about this and we can complain about that, but we are bless to live where we live. When we put things into perspective we have one of the best school systems in the world. When you look at that, I think one should be grateful for what we have here.”

Along with the Naim and Arabi families, the Lac La Biche RCMP and Classroom Champions were also recipients of this year's Friends of Education Awards.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks