SD83 Students Strike it Rich at Mineral Exploration Event

Nineteen SAS-Jackson and Sullivan students had an interesting learning experience in the Nicola Valley this week.

SD83 and MineralsEd collaborated with Westhaven Gold to show the student the exploration company’s site southwest of Merritt. Westhaven Gold has six exploration sites in the region with its most promising property to be its Shovelnose location near the Clearwater River.

SAS Students started the day travelling to Kamloops via bus and then switched over to four SUV’s to handle the rugged resource roads that would be taken later. In Merritt, students stopped at the Westhaven’s main office and core shack where they were able to learn from company personnel a bit of gold mining history in the region and then went panning for their own gold and gemstones in plastic pools set up with river soil taken from the claim site on the Clearwater River.

Westhaven’s Becky Partridge demonstrates to students the proper way to pan for gold flakes.
SaS-Sullivan Grade 12 students Abbigail Paetsch and Ziggy Pettersson pan for gold in the murky waters.
SAS-Jackson Grade 10 Student Neven McKinnon shows off his haul. Note the yellow flakes at the top of the bag are gold flakes.
SAS-Jackson Grade 10 student Natalie Rogers displays her bounty of gemstones she uncovered.

From there, the students travelled to the exploration site where they first stopped at the significant gold find that was uncovered by the company in 2019. Students also had a chance to see an on-site driller machine and handle some of the core pipes needed in the drilling process. Finally, the entourage travelled to an exposed rock face loaded with quartz veins where students had a chance to chip away at some rocks with pick hammers to see if they could uncover any signs of gold. All the while, company officials shared information about certain jobs in the industry and what education level was needed to get those jobs.

Westhaven Head Geologist Peter Fischl explains the geology of the region to students. The stick in the ground at the centre of the picture is the marker where Westhaven estimates there’s one-million ounces of gold below the surface.
Westhaven Geologist Daniel Goddard explains to students what to look for in Quartz veins when it comes to potential gold.
SAS-Jackson Grade 10 Student Colten Leonard lines up his strike before trying to dig into some quartz.

The Westhaven trip is the final field trip for the SD83 career team this year. It marked a very successful year to which we featured over one dozen events ranging from on-line virtual seminars with industry experts to hands-on field trips in the region highlighting some industries. SD83 Careers is looking for more opportunities to feature different occupations. If you have any good ideas you would like to share, please contact George Richard via text or phone at 778-824-1188 or you can email him at Have a great and safe summer!!

SD83 Grads Can Register and Pick Courses for Okanagan College in June

Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus will be hosting an event for upcoming SD83 Grads on June 22nd.

If Grade 12 students have already registered to start at any Okanagan College campus in September, they can pick their classes for the fall and create a class schedule at the Salmon Arm Campus on that day. Students can also learn how to navigate the MyOkanagan website. Grade 12 students that have not yet registered for Okanagan College for the fall can do so at this event as well.

If you wish more information, you are encouraged to to phone the college at 250-832-2126.

SD83 and CPKC Worked the Rails at Local Job Fair

Nearly 130 students from nearly all SD83 high schools participated in the Canadian Pacific/Kansas City Railway Job Fair at Eagle River Secondary in Sicamous this week.

CPKC Signal and Communications Manager for BC Scarlett Noel demonstrates to students the types of power sources needed to get the proper signals out to their tracks for conductors and other rail line workers to read. There are more than two thousand CPKC signal machines that exist just between Hope and Kamloops.

Students were able to learn about jobs associated with locomotive conductors and engineers, railway signal and communication technicians, rail line and tie maintenance workers, police services and other trades and positions within the company. Students rotated in as many as six stations to learn about the different opportunities. In many of the jobs featured, students just need to be 18 years of age and willing to work. CPKC Rail says it will pay for training for those graduating students into careers they are interested in and pay them while they are getting the training.

CPKC Police Officer Dallas Stender talks about his duties with the railway and how he works with the RCMP and other municipal police officers in his territory. Duties include everything from issuing fines for speeding to investigating incidents between trains and road vehicles.

CPKC BC Superintendent of Operations Brad Templeton says he was pleased with the event. “We’ll do this again. No doubt.” SD83 Careers initiated the idea with CPKC and is one of a select handful of school districts across Canada and the U.S that was involved in this pilot project to have the career fair/information session based out of a school. Canadian Pacific was not known to have done any sort of recruiting within schools in the past.

SAS-Jackson students Carlos Marosi (left) and Daniel Larouche (right) pose at the selfie booth during the job fair.

Grade 12 students that attended the fair and have an interest in applying for work with the transnational railway are requested to make contact with their career coordinator at their school so they can reach out to CPKC’s Human Resources department on how to apply. If you have any other questions related to the event or have other ideas for interesting career options or opportunities for students, please contact George Richard at or phone or text 778-824-1188.

SD83 Students Dig into Careers in Mining

SD83 students and instructors pose by a haul truck inside Highland Valley Copper’s Mine Maintenance Complex. Over 100 red seal heavy duty mechanics work on all of the mobile machinery at the copper and molybdenum mine.

Fourteen students from SAS Jackson and Sullivan toured one of B.C’s largest mines last week.

The Grade 9-11 students checked out Highland Valley Copper’s operation west of Logan Lake to learn about the various jobs that exist at the regional employer. Nearly 1,500 people work at the site. Many of the workers live in communities like Merritt, Ashcroft, Kamloops and Logan Lake.

Students were able to see one of Canada’s largest and deepest open pit mines and witnessed anywhere from 35-50 haul trucks loaded with ore pull out of the pit each hour. Students also learned about the various jobs that exist at the site which include red seal trades like heavy equipment operators, heavy duty mechanics, welders, machinist, millwrights, parts specialist and tire technicians.

The trip was the second of four events in SD83’s collaboration with MineralsEd to explore careers in the mineral exploration industry. The next event is taking place on Tuesday, June 6th when SD83 and MineralsEd head to an area near Merritt where we will take in the Westhaven Gold exploration site. There is also another trip planned for Thompson Rivers University to highlight trade and academic educational pursuits to get access to the industry. If you are interested in either of these opportunities, please talk with the career coordinator at your site to get a permission form. If you wish further details, please reach out to George Richard at or phone or text 778-824-1188.

SMS & OK College Salmon Arm Event a Smashing Success

What happens when you combine learning about pond scum, conductivity, frequency, the human condition, and double ball with 600 pieces of pizza and yard games? As it turns out, it was a fun morning for all at Okanagan College Salmon Arm.

Over 200 Grade 8 Shuswap Middle School (SMS) students descended upon the local college to partake in the SD83 Careers event. At least 20 students in a group were rotated around 10 interactive site offered as part of the experience. Activities included but were not limited to: examining pond water under a microscope, discovering the conductivity of salt water, measuring and calculating sound in an underwater tube, playing an indigenous stick game called double ball, and determining primary behaviour within themselves. Students also had an opportunity to learn more about the different trades offered at the college, library and student support services among other activities.

SMS Principal Scott Anderson says he was pleased how the event went. “Our Grade 8 students had a wonderful and engaging morning. They got a glimpse at what post secondary education is, career possibilities and had great presentations from a very passionate OC staff.”

OC Human Service Worker Instructor Karmen Krahn picks up hitchhikers in a primary behaviour exercise called “Contagion”.
Cohen Roy (left) is stirring the salt water while Ethan Smallenberg (right) just looks up from examining the conductivity measurements on his device.
Igor Blaginin (left) is examining a water sample under his microscope while Christina Pineda (right) takes more pond sediment for future examination.
Olivia Maybee (right) looks on while her partner, Gemma Green (left) puts a tuning fork above a tube to try and measure for sound waves.
An SMS student tries to take a slot at the basket (white disk in air) as they learn the rules of the indigenous game “Double Ball”.

This event between SD83 Careers, SMS and OC Salmon Arm was a pilot program. The hope is to expand the program to include all grade 8 students from the north end of the district to also participate in the event next year. If you have any ideas for events you would like our students to be exposed to, please don’t hesitate to contact George Richard via text or phone at 778-824-1188 or email