Zachary Fedorak, Maria Schigol and Derek Serdachny are three teachers new to the Canora Composite School for the 2020-21 school year.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Serdachny will also be serving as the CCS vice-principal.
Serdachny was born and raised in Yorkton. Like many Saskatchewan kids, he said he grew up playing hockey, and was also interested in farming and water sports.
His interest in hockey continued to grow as an adult and through it he discovered a love for teaching.
“I was a hockey instructor in Alberta and later on internationally,” Serdachny said. “I did this for over six years and developed a passion for teaching new skills and improving skills that players already had. This transferred over to the school setting well.”
As a junior hockey player, he was enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan and was able to obtain some classes remotely and then continued his education at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. He earned a bachelor of arts at Manhattanville and came back to the University of Regina where he completed his bachelor of education.
“I taught in Sturgis and in Yorkton. Prior to that I was vice-principal at Churchbridge Public School.”
At CCS, Serdachny will be teaching history 20, science and social studies 6, PAA (Practical and Applied Arts), career ed, health 8 and science 9 and will be the graduation coach.
“I enjoy pushing kids to be their best,” he said. “I believe school offers our students so much more than curriculum. I believe every student needs to leave our school understanding what it means to be a responsible citizen; someone who is empathetic, wants to learn and always looks at the facts before drawing any conclusions. They should be someone who is hardworking, punctual and leaves the school proud to be a CCS alumni. Furthermore, I want our students to lead a healthy lifestyle and get them active and outdoors as much as possible. This includes involving the community and the industries that are so vital to our community.”
Serdachny said the COVID-19 pandemic has created a variety of challenges for schools.
“Our division has done a great job preparing our staff, students, and parents for this year. The CCS staff has put in many hours preparing for the students’ arrival. Although there are challenges, we welcome any challenge and will meet it head on. We are excited to have kids back safely in their seats. We know the importance of having them at school and offering them the best education possible.”
Serdachny and his family live in Yorkton, but he is very familiar with the Canora region, as his family farms north of Canora.
When he’s not busy teaching, he likes to spend time with his wife Brittany and daughter Bria, 3.
“I enjoy farming, running my hockey school, as well as camping and spending time at the lake,” concluded Serdachny.
Maria Schigol will be teaching Grade 8 ELA (English Language Arts) and health, and Grade 9 ELA at CCS during the coming year. Schigol said she is excited to have the opportunity to teach in her hometown, as she was born and raised in Canora.
“I have always had a lot of interests and hobbies, but as a kid I enjoyed art, reading and writing, spending time outdoors and exploring,” she recalled.
Schigol said she has always enjoyed sharing knowledge, but seriously began to consider teaching as a career in 2016.
“My Gido Victor Schigol was the principal of CCS many years ago, and several other family members teach as well, so I think it runs in my family.”
She earned a bachelor of education from Brandon University, where she also completed her undergrad work in history and English.
“The aspect of teaching I enjoy the most is getting to know my students as individuals and seeing how they grow and learn over time,” shared Schigol. “My hopes for my students are that I can help them achieve success in their own individual ways and make school an enjoyable experience.”
She said she is looking forward to the challenge of dealing with the COVID reality together with students and other CCS staff members.
“We need to learn to adapt and handle the challenges as they come, while staying patient and open-minded. Everything we’re dealing with is completely new to us. We haven’t seen a global catastrophe like this for nearly 100 years, so learning to work around it and stay positive has definitely been challenging.”
Schigol lives in Canora and is enjoying being back in her hometown.
“I love it!” she enthused. “I have travelled quite a bit and I love seeing new places, meeting different people and experiencing new cultures; but coming home to a tight-knit small town always feels great.”
She is single, and has a variety of interests outside of teaching.
“When I’m not teaching or prepping lessons, I like to play video games, sew and knit, cook and bake, go hiking, forage for wild foods including mushrooms, learn more about various periods of history, and spend time with my family,” concluded Schigol.
Zachary Fedorak, another new member of the CCS staff, will be teaching Grade 8 math, social studies, health, phys-ed, and art.
Fedorak was born and raised in Kamsack, and quickly learned to enjoy the great outdoors.
“As a kid my main interests were golfing and spending time at our family cabin at Madge Lake,” he said. “During the winters I spent the majority of my time at the Duck Mountain Ski Hill where I learned how to both ski and snowboard. Once I was a little older I also spent a lot time playing basketball and curling during the winter months.”
He attended the University of Saskatchewan, where he earned a bachelor of education and a bachelor of science in kinesiology.
“I have previously taught in Kamsack at KCI in multiple subjects from grades 5 to 12. I have also taught at the Yorkton Regional High School, mostly phys-ed.”
Fedorak said his high school years played a significant role in developing his interest in teaching.
“I found myself helping a lot of my classmates throughout senior math. I also had a passion for phys-ed and wanted to change the way people looked at the subject. My goal was and still is to create individuals who want to stay active once they are out of school and no longer have phys-ed or extra-curricular activities available,” Fedorak said.
“The thing I enjoy most about teaching is that it doesn't feel like work on most days. You get to develop relationships with the students and staff that make coming to work enjoyable. I also really enjoy how there is rarely a dull moment when you are teaching. You show up, your day begins, and before you know it, it is 3:30 p.m. and the students have gone home.”
Looking ahead, he believes the biggest challenge during the coming year will be the social aspect of school.
“Students are to remain within their cohorts at school which only really allows them to socialize with the people in their class. I believe that communicating with other people and learning social skills are equally as important as the classwork when you look at life skills and succeeding outside of high school.
“Online resources will become more prominent moving forward, seeing as we were teaching online since March. There are also more online resources available to schools now that we are limited in what we can do within the schools.”
Fedorak currently lives in Kamsack, where he bought a house two years ago.
“I really enjoy the commute. It gives me time to get ready for the day and time to wind down at the end of the day as well.”
In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his girlfriend and be outdoors as much as possible, winter or summer.
“My main hobby is golf. During the summer I spend the majority of every day on the course whether I am practicing, competing, or playing for fun. I also enjoy going to the mountains and snowboarding during the winter months,” he said.
When he’s not outside, Fedorak enjoys reading and keeping busy by finding projects to work on around the house.