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Award given to Burns Lake couple to recognize hardwork done within the school district

A Burns Lake couple has been given an award by the BC Principals and Vice Principals Association for the work they have done with the school district through the Spirit North program.

Rachelle Van Zanten and her husband Chris Paulson received the award after making a substantial difference in the students’ lives according to the association.

According to Van Zanten, the couple was nominated by the principal of Decker Lake which is in School District 91.

She said it is a true honour to receive the award.

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“I get the real testament to how you have a great team supporting you and with a vision it can all come together and in our case we’ve been volunteering ever since the beginning and now because of Spirit North we are able to create these awesome programs for children,” Van Zanten said.

She added that the decision to give back to the community came after she returned to Burns Lake after going to school and touring for her music.

Van Zanten said she had such a positive experience growing up in the area with her coaches and teachers.

“We just started volunteering in the schools and then we had children that started going to school and so it was just a given that we were going to try and be a part of that experience and so, it kind of just snowballed from there,” she said.

Additionally, Van Zanten first started volunteering as a coach for different organizations such as basketball and the ski club.

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The couple recently constructed a two kilometre nature trail behind Decker Lake Elementary School that can be used year round for students.

She said it has been huge for getting kids out on the land and it has been a help for teachers.

Additionally, Van Zanten said future plans are to strengthen programs that the community already has.

A total of five organizations and individuals were honoured on May 13 during a ceremony in Richmond.

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