Maples and Garden City area super teacher Jeff Cieszecki is one of only 17 Canadians who recently received the coveted 2012 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
How many students can say their teacher is involved in communicating with satellites, rocket launches, high altitude balloon payload missions and a 2016 Mars mission?
Cieszecki brings his avid passion for space science into the classroom by providing his students with extensive opportunities for hands-on learning about the universe.
"The field of aerospace has provided me with a base to challenge students in Seven Oaks School Division by providing unique learning experiences," said Cieszecki, who lives in East Kildonan and is a board members at Valley Gardens Community Centre.
During 15 years at Maples Collegiate as a physics teacher, Cieszecki developed a superb ability to engage students. Through science projects, he created a teaching approach that gets everyone excited about learning.
"Jeff Cieszecki is one of Canada’s most knowledgeable educators about space studies, and his tireless work ethic has helped to produce several unique space-related projects for his students and colleagues," said science educator Norman Lee, who nominated Cieszecki for the prestigious award.
Cieszecki proudly states Manitoba has the third largest aerospace industry in Canada and the province has great potential to develop more scientists and engineers to meet the demand for our highly-skilled workforce.
Now working out of Garden City Collegiate, Cieszecki is the co-ordinator of the popular Seven Oaks School Division College Bound program. CUB is a partnership between Seven Oaks, the University of Winnipeg and Red River College that assists students in the transition to a post-secondary institution.
Cieszecki is also a life-long learner. He has acquired several graduate and post-graduate university degrees. For some hands-on observation, he visited the Russian cosmonaut training centre outside of Moscow. And last summer, he traveled to Florida to watch the historic final shuttle launch.
"In our schools, educational opportunities are open to all students, not just our future scientists and engineers, in the hope of creating a scientifically literate society," he said.
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The free winter Maples Youth Activity Centre is now open Thursdays and Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m. It is located at Arthur Wright School at 1520 Jefferson Ave. For more information visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Derek Dabee is a community correspondent for Canstar Community News.