2022 Medal Winners | francais

The 2022 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics (Prairies and Northwest Territories)

is awarded to

Christopher Sarkonak

"Being presented with this award is one of the greatest honours of my career! I am fortunate to be able to teach a subject that I truly love and there are many days that I can't even believe that this is what I get to do for a living. Knowing that it's impacted my students and colleagues to the point of nominating me for this award is incredibly humbling." winner citation

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2022 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics (Prairies and Northwest Territories) is awarded to Christopher Sarkonak, Brandon School Division, in recognition of his passion and dedication in teaching physics, particularly his ungrading policies, inclusive classroom, and commitment to sharing strategies to assist other physics teachers. Christopher’s student-centered, equity-based approaches in the classroom have led naturally into his support and celebration of women through an annual STEM for Girls event. Notably, he has also twice received the Ceremonial Star Blanket, awarded annually within his school to a teacher who has supported Indigenous learners’ successes as selected by a committee of graduating Indigenous students. announcement

In 4 years of teaching Physics at Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School, Christopher has worked to create an exciting and engaging program that has seen the enrollment double during that time. Part of this accomplishment also comes through collaboration with the Electronics, Design Drafting, Welding, Music, and Photography departments to show the importance that physics has in a variety of fields.

It is through a number of professional development opportunities across the world, courtesy of CERN (becoming the first Canadian high school teacher selected by CERN through direct entry for their International High School Teacher Programme in 2019), the Perimeter Institute (of he is now the Regional Coordinator for Manitoba), the IQC, the CLS, the AAPT, and PASCO, that Christopher has brought unique experiences back to the classroom to engage and invigorate students. He has worked to start initiatives in the school to give students access to the CLS Students on the Beamline program, the Moon Camp Challenge from ESA, working with K-8 schools to promote STEM in the community, and encouraging participation in the local science fair. Last year saw Christopher mentor a group of students in advocating for the first hadron therapy facility in Canada for curing cancer. One of the most impactful initiatives that Christopher has spearheaded at Crocus Plains has been the development of a STEM for Girls program to get more female students interested in STEM fields. This has seen female enrollment in STEM increase significantly since its introduction four years ago. Christopher has worked to create an inspiring classroom where students are encouraged to take risks and explore the things that make them come alive. nominator citation

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