It’s only September, but the Grande Prairie Storm is already an award winner!

On Thursday afternoon in Peace River the Storm received an Alberta School Boards Association Zone 1 Friends of Education Award.

The award was presented to the team because of its “strong commitment to the improvement of the education and well being of all students across the division by being visible role models and encouraging students to be the very best they can be.”

The Grande Prairie Public School District had nominated the Storm for the award.

The Storm has been for many years involved in a variety of different programs targeting schools including the Encana Read Up A Winter Storm program, Wendy’s/Storm Salutes Schools program, the Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Peace Country School Storm Ticket program and the Miss School, Miss Out program.

The team also took part in a drug awareness program that involved taking players and a coach to Vancouver to see first-hand the dangers of drugs. They returned and took the message into area schools.

The team also takes part in the AMA School Patroller program honouring patrollers each month and attends a school each year to help create awareness about school zones.

Storm players also attend area schools on a regular basis to play floor hockey, read to students and bring a positive message to young people.

“The Storm is very honoured to receive this award,” said Storm business manager Don Moon. “It is part of the organizations mandate to give back to the community and the various school programs we are involved in is part of that. Our players enjoy going into the schools and interacting with the students and it is something the Storm organization will continue to do.”

Storm board member Chris Luthula also attended the awards banquet in Peace River. The award was presented to the Luthula and Moon by Grande Prairie Public School Board chair Karen Prokopowich.