Nursing Sisters

Melissa and Amy Morrison, two sisters from Bezanson, both are in their first couple years of their nursing careers.

Amy Morrison

Amy graduated from Bezanson’s junior high in 2010 where she moved on to Peace Wapiti Academy High School and graduated from there in the 2012-2013 school year. In 2014, she began her nursing studies and graduated in 2016 with a diploma in Practical Nursing through Northern Lakes College.

“I didn’t always want to be a nurse, I actually wanted to be a teacher or a mom. But I have always had a passion to help people, and have always admired the health profession and their ability to help people, and as I grew up my heart became set on making a difference in the world.” -Amy Morrison

Currently, Amy has a position in the Valleyview Health Centre where she is working acute care, long term care and emergency/outpatient nursing.

“I have been graduated and working as a licensed nurse for over a year and a half, and it is one of the most difficult yet rewarding experiences of my life. It is a lot more difficult than I had anticipated, but I love my career more than I could’ve imagined. Working in a rural community gives me a well rounded nursing experience, and I feel comfortable and at home providing care in a small community like I grew up in.” -Amy Morrison

“Bezanson School and all the teachers, coaches, parents, and councillors all were essential in me pursuing my career in nursing. Growing up we were always supported in our goals, and everyone wanted to see us all succeed in life. Growing up in a small town granted me with amazing friendships, which were more like family, I grew up surrounded by a supportive group of friends. I have a huge appreciation for growing up in a small community, and the lifelong relationships I gained from it. My advice for people growing up in a small town or thinking of pursuing a career in the medical field is to never let anyone tell you that your goals are un-achievable, or unrealistic. We are fortunate as people growing up in a small town to have a community behind us that will always support us and encourage us to obtain our goals and do stuff that we are passionate about, and I am so fortunate and appreciative to have grown up in Bezanson.” -Amy Morrison

Melissa Morrison


Melissa attended Bezanson School until 2007 where she graduated from grade 9 and moved onto Peace Wapiti Academy from 2007-2010. She then moved on to the nursing program in 2015 and graduated in 2017 from Northern Lakes College. Melissa is now a Licensed Practical Nurse at the Valleyview Health Centre in long term care and acute care. She also takes care of patients, pre and post surgery, on the surgical floor at QEII Hospital. So far her career seems to be doing very well. “Overall it has been great. It’s been challenging, but also rewarding. It’s not an easy job and you are constantly learning new things. Every day you go to work is different, which I like.”

When asked why Melissa wanted to be a nurse, she responded with: “I’ve always had a passion for helping others, and when I was hospitalized as a kid I had a nurse -Chelsea -that made the experience much better for me -she was always someone who stuck with me and I wanted to be able to do the same for others. I like the nonjudgmental approach of nurses who help you no matter where you are at in your life.” -Melissa Morrison

“One of the best things I did in Bezanson was play sports. I truly believe being a part of sports teams allows you to learn how to be a part of a team, work well with others, appreciate your team members. It gives you a chance to be a leader and also take direction from others and these are crucial qualities to have in every aspect of your life. Nursing is all about being a part of a team and it’s important that you can work well with others. I really believe the best thing I did in Bezanson was join the sports teams.” -Melissa Morrison

Melissa and Amy both are doing so well in their careers so far and will for sure be successful in their future. We wish them the best in their future as their experience and knowledge continues to grow.

Ally Pilgrim

The Bezanson Bog

Photo Credit Rick Scott

On September 16th, 2017, the Old Bezanson Townsite hosted the 8th Annual Bezanson Bog making this upcoming September’s race the 9th Annual Bog. This race, directed by Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim, has 3 different lengths: 1.3km for Elementary students, 2.7km for Junior High students and Senior High girls, and 5km for everyone else. The 2017 race had over 150 runners of different ages and was very successful.

Photo Credit to Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim

This race takes place in the beautiful Smoky River valley, the original location of the Old Bezanson Townsite. It begins with the younger age groups and works its way up. The runners are taking on a breathtaking trail overlooking the Smoky River and some even get to trek up the steep, Buffalo Hill. Racers from all over the Peace Country, including communities and schools from Ft. St. John, Tumbler Ridge, Dawson Creek, Eaglesham, Peace River, Valleyview, LaGlace, Sexsmith and Grande Prairie come to the Old Bezanson Township on race day to participate in the annual Bog.

Carolyn, the current race director, has been involved with the Bog since the beginning and she has also been involved in many other things in the community. Carolyn has been involved in the Bezanson Agricultural Society and has volunteered for the Old Bezanson Townsite Committee, slow-pitch tournament as well as curling events and many events at the Bezanson School. She helped to spearhead the GPRC Bezanson Community Bursary, which helps support local post secondary students attending GPRC. Carolyn was also a secretary/treasurer for the Peace Country Thunder U17 Women’s basketball team and is currently the co-founder and manager of Northern Energy Basketball which is made up of Grande Prairie and area U17 women’s basketball players. Carolyn currently works at the Grande Prairie Regional College in Student Services as the Testing Centre Liaison, where she is able to work with students of all ages from throughout the Peace region.

“Carolyn is a tireless booster of Bezanson and the Old Bezanson Townsite. I was very excited when she and Lana (former race director) came to me with the idea of doing an xc race at the Townsite. Over the years, it has developed into one of the best events in the Wolves XC Running Series. The community is really lucky to have such an enthusiastic and passionate volunteer like Carolyn.”

-Bill Corcoran, President and Head Coach, Peace Country Wolves Athletics Club

Carolyn is not the only volunteer at this race though. This race is brought together by a countless number of community members and could not take place without every individual that contributes and makes the race as great as it is. As Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim says in another local article:

“Event’s like these do not happen without the support of our volunteers and as organizers we would just like to say Thank You to all those who help out on race day. We often enlist the help of spectators, coaches and fans and we are very grateful for everyone who steps up to lend a hand, even if it is just cheering our racers on.”

-Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim

Lighthouse Mechanical, Vector Communications, Lefty’s Café, Bezanson 4H Multi-Club, Bezanson Agricultural Society, the Old Bezanson Townsite Committee, County of Grande Prairie and the Peace Country Wolves Athletic Club are only some of the organizations that have helped and supported our local Bog and the community is very thankful for their help, as well as every parent, coach, spectator, and racer.

With all of the volunteers, organizations, spectators and racers, this event has continuously brought the community together and will continue to do this for the years to come. We look forward to the next Bezanson Bog in this upcoming September and hope that it continues to grow into an even better race than it is today.


Written by Ally Pilgrim

Bulldog Bytes

It’s hard to believe we are already a whole month into 2018! (Even more astonishing – I don’t think I’ve written “2017” even once!!) Towards the end of this month we will have our 100th day of the 2017-18 school year!

The calendar is filling up for February and it looks like we have a busy month ahead. The big question: Will the groundhog see his shadow? (An even bigger question: Will it make any difference one way or another to us in northern Alberta?? As we sit in our current snowglobe – well-shaken – it doesn’t seem that it will.)

We are hoping to sell pizza once a month through the remainder of the school year as a fundraiser for our sports teams. Watch for order forms to come home each month, and thanks for supporting our teams! (And for those tired of “sandwich duty” – you’re welcome.)

We’ll be kicking off a month of fundraising for the Heart and Stroke Foundation on February 8 with an assembly run by a representative from Jump Rope for Heart. Our “Jump Day” is not yet scheduled, but you can expect it to happen in late February or early March.

Our Junior High students have been selling chocolate-covered almonds to raise money for their trip to Jasper. The final push is on to finish selling those almonds as their final payments are due in mid-February. You can buy almonds from any Junior High student, and they are also available at the office. Boxes sell for $3 each – empty your change jars and help them out!

You (parents) should have received your Accountability Pillar Survey in the mail, if you have a student in Grade 4- 9. Please take the time to complete your survey – the paper copy can be filled out, or there is information in the envelope explaining how to complete the survey online. Teachers and students will complete the survey online at school. The goal of the survey is to collect information on the quality of education offered by our school. This is your opportunity to influence your child’s education, simply by completing and returning the survey by February 23, 2018.

The Bezanson Bulldog Pen

Bulldog Pen

Bezanson Grade 8 & 9 students with the Bulldog Pen judges Dean Radbourne, Chris Warkentin, Terri Sudnik, Melissa Strban and Mack Erno

Welcome to the Bezanson Bulldog Pen! A Science Fair meets Dragon’s Den style event where 14 student groups competed for the very first time on January 17 2018 in the Bezanson School gym.

Miss Owen’s grade’s 8 and 9 careers class has been working on their projects since October in conjunction with the Junior Achievement Program, A Business of our Own, to build a product and learn about what it takes to build that product into a working business.

“Junior Achievement has unique programs that allow students to experience and understand business, preparing them for leadership. They enable young people to gain financial responsibility, make confident decisions and become innovators. It was under the enthusiastic guidance of JA Volunteer, Katherine Cissell and their Careers teacher, Jillian Owens, that the Grade 8 & 9 Students at the Bezanson School really stepped up to the challenge and impressed our panel of judges.  They had creative, innovative solutions to problems with very well thought out business plans ” ~ Terri Ellen Sudnik, Regional Development Senior Officer, Junior Achievement Northern Alberta NWT.

Judges; Dean Radbourne, Chris Warkentin, Mack Erno, Terri Sudnik and Melissa Strban

There was a wide variety of projects designed ranging from those servicing the pet industry, trending teen products as well as projects with emphasis on social responsibility. Many of the students had very strong presentation skills and even those that didn’t win a cash prize had some really great ideas and knew their business plan inside and out. It was apparent that the students have grown from the experience.

“I enjoyed it because of the new experience. It felt much more professional then science fair and was able to be taken seriously and treated as a young adult. Their comments helped me and my partner look at a different perspective that we have not yet thought about.” Sadie LaValley, Grade 9.

The panel of judges for the Bulldog Pen included local business people Terri Sudnik and Melissa Strban of Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT, Mack Erno from Jade Cash, Dean Radbourne of Erine’s Sports Experts, and Chris Warkentin our local Member of Parliament. Each brought a great dynamic to the event with their fun comments and willingness to try out products and offer ideas to the students to improve their business plan.

Bulldog Pen Winners

Bulldog Pen Winners Josh Street and Rylan Larson demonstrating their prototype to judge Melissa Strban

The best overall prize winners of the event were Josh Street and Rylan Larson with their project the Power Alarm. Both boys remarked that they enjoyed the process, from design development and coding right down to the presentation in front of the real judges.

2018 runners up in the Bulldog Pen; Maren Laverick and Sadie LaValley with their project Cool-Tape, Tanna Howarth and Kiera Dorner’s youTube channel KTVT, Mia Wilson and Danika Cadieux with Sneaker Stickers, Chase Cissell and Lane Moody with their Survival First Aid Kits. Winners will receive cash prizes for their efforts from our event sponsor the West Smoky Legion #244.

“It was amazing to witness these great entrepreneurs developing within our regional schools across the Peace Region.  JA Northern Alberta has programs in Grades 3 – 12 and we would love to bring the financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs to as many students as possible” ~ Terri Ellen Sudnik, Regional Development Senior Officer, Junior Achievement Northern Alberta NWT.



First Year Coaching

First Year Coaching

This past 2017 season for the Peace Wapiti Academy Titans volleyball team, began a new job for Spencer Matlock, Bezanson alumni, as an assistant coach. Matlock played volleyball at Bezanson school from 2009-2014 and moved onto Peace Wapiti Academy where he played from 2014-2017. The Titans this season won 2 silver medals, 1 gold medal and won zones which resulted in them attending 3A Men’s Volleyball Provincials. The 2017 season was the first year of Matlock’s coaching and he had to go through the same transition as any coach. Matlock says, “It was a good transition but it definitely felt weird. I always had that feeling to get on the court and play because of my love for the game. Being on the sideline, as a coach, has really made me look at the game differently.” The transition from a player to a coach teaches that individual a lot about themselves and about the game. Matlock says that he has learned a lot from this new experience.

“I’ve learned that being a coach isn’t just knowing the sport your coaching it’s being able to connect to all the aspects and skills that are used. Being able to help a player improve while improving yourself as a coach and even though I’ve played volleyball for a lot of years and I’ve now coached one year, I’m still learning everyday. My main reason for wanting to coach was to stay around the game as much as possible because I enjoy everything about it.”

-Spencer Matlock

Matlock grew up in Bezanson and has been very successful in his community, from sports to academics and more. Volleyball was not the only sport that Matlock played though. He excelled in baseball for the Grande Prairie Reds for many years. Matlock was a very skilled multi-sport athlete who is now giving back to his community through sport. Matlock talks about

his community and how it has influenced him in this journey from being an athlete to being a coach.

“Growing up in such a small community, you have so many people that influence you in multiple different ways. Going from teachers who wouldn’t give up on you to the many coaches over the years. Mainly, I’d say having Les Sonnenberg, as a basketball coach, and my mother, Carol Matlock, as my volleyball coach really helped build my character to want to coach and just express my passion for a sport like they did.”

-Spencer Matlock

After being asked what advice Matlock would give to students coming from a small town, he says:

“I would tell kids not to limit themselves on what they do. If you like every sport possible, play them all, if you like multiple activities, push yourself to do them all to the best of your ability because one day, you won’t have the opportunity to play that anymore or eventually you will have to give it up. Take advantage of everything your community can offer you and enjoy it! If you set your mind to a certain goal, never give up on that goal and continue to strive for it until you reach it!”

-Spencer Matlock

The Bezanson community is filled with individuals giving back to their community through many different ways. Coaching can open up doors for athletes and direct them on the right path. Coaching can also help build confidence and teach them lifelong lessons. There is no limit to what giving back to the community, from coaching or anything can do.

“ In such a small community people need to step up, and that’s what I love about our community. So many people are always stepping up in different scenarios, and I wanted to be a part of that as much as possible because I believe that I’m improving my community when I give back to it. Helping teach the skills I know to possibly help a kid play college volleyball maybe or just help guide them in the right direction is a wonderful feeling.”

-Spencer Matlock

written by Ally Pilgrim

2017 Year in Review – Golden Leaf Dine & Dance

Winner of Chase the Ace 2017, Janet Sarmega with Ag Society President Bryan Fenton.

The annual fundraiser hosted by the Bezanson Agricultural Society and the West Smoky Legion #244 once again demonstrated the overwhelming support from our community. Our event hosted 200 people for a wonderful supper from Corinne’s Catering, a round of fundraising events and a night of dancing with Night Ryder. A series of 6 games and 2 random draws gained entry for 8 lucky winners a chance at the grand prize round. In addition a new game, Chase the Ace, provided a second cash jackpot! Ten lucky patrons throughout the night boasted a cash prize! A special thank you to all of our sponsors that help bring the Golden Leaf Dine and Dance to Bezanson again this year.

Of course we also would like to thank the many volunteers that organize and execute the Golden Leaf Dine and Dance; the games, auctions, and setup, right down to the midnight lunch. Many hours of behind the scenes work is put into this one fun filled night and our volunteers are a huge part to making this happen.

The funds raised this year have been divided equally between the Bezanson Agricultural Society and the West Smoky Legion #244. The Agricultural Society will be utilizing their portion of the funds for operational cost this year and the West Smoky Legion #244 will be utilizing their portion of the fundraising primary for youth programs and sponsorships by way of the annual swim and ski buses and titan sponsorships.

The West Smoky Legion #244 and the Bezanson Agricultural Society would like to thank everyone for their support this year — we hope that you enjoyed our event and join us again next year for some fun new events at the new Bezanson Regional Community Cultural Centre!