Roy Bickell Public School is a K to 8 school located in the Royal Oaks neighborhood in Grande Prairie, Alberta. We opened our doors in the fall of 2017 with approximately 200 students. We have a beautiful new building and welcome new registrations throughout the school year.
Our school is named in honour of Roy Bickell, an innovator, an explorer, an entrepreneur and a community contributor who, after his passing in 2015 continues to be a presence in our city through his lifelong dedication to improving our local resources, education and attractions. His passion for people, business and fossils was matched by his dedication to the Grande Prairie and Peace region.
The Bickell family settled on a farm north of DeBolt in 1928. Mr. Bickell was born in 1930 and grew up working on the family farm and sawmill. In 1941 the family moved to Grande Prairie for better educational opportunities.
After marrying Noreen Coogan, they started a family on their farm in DeBolt, while Roy's forestry career continued. His innovative mind and diplomatic leadership skills carved a 40 year forestry career ending in his retirement as both President and Chief Operating Officer of Canfor in 1991. His career afforded him a world traveling experience and the ability to pursue humanitarian endeavors.
In retirement Mr. Bickell ran the Boston Marathon at age 66, carried the Olympic torch, created countless hands-on educational experiences for local students, explored the area and spent time with his family and his many friends.
During this time he was also heavily involved in many local community projects. Mr. Bickell was a founding member of the Grande Prairie Hospital Foundation and also of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, where he donated his large fossil collection and where a bridge at Pipestone Creek is named after him. He was president and fundraiser for a large expansion at the Grande Prairie Museum, as well as fundraiser for the Heritage Discovery Centre in Centre 2000.
Among his many accolades, he was awarded the Grande Prairie Business Citizen of the Year in the mid 1990s, received the Miss Isabel Campbell Heritage Preservation award, the 2009 Volunteer of the Year award, Entrepreneur of the Century and was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
The Bickell family has always had strong ties to education as both Mr. and Mrs. Bickell's mothers were educators and the Bickell daughters, Judy Brewster and Debra Ditch, held long careers with GPPSD.
During his life, Mr. Bickell always had a joke to tell, a thought provoking puzzle to peak your curiosity, a hand to extend in aid or sound advice to rely on. He was an extraordinary man who dedicated his life to creating a difference in the community through education, history, business, community service and fossil collecting.
We are proud to have Mr. Bickell as our namesake. Roy Bickell students and staff strive to uphold the values of innovation, exploration, entrepreneurship, contribution and community spirit that embody Mr. Bickell's legacy.