Sparx - Purcell Collegiate School


Purcell Collegiate School hosts a variety of speakers and workshops each year, inviting innovators, achievers, educators, and icons to challenge, inspire, and engage our students in the following topic areas:

🧡Truth and Reconciliation
🌈Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
⚽️Sports and Recreation
🏫University preparation
🎭Arts and culture
📈Business and entrepreneurship
🌎Global citizenship
🙌Personal/individualized success

PCS students who attend/participate in at least 10 of the 15 Sparx events each year will earn a Sparx badge for their college admission portfolio.

Sparx brochure

For an up-to-date list of speakers and presenters for each school year, click the links below. Interested in becoming a Sparx speaker/presenter? Email us with a proposal including the topic area, format, proposed year/month, and biographical information.

PCS would like to thank 107.5 2dayFM for its support of the Sparx Speaker Series, particularly the in-studio interviews prior to each event.

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” ― Albert Einstein

Topic:  Truth and Reconciliation

Time:  7:00 PM

Location: McKim Theatre

Audience:  PCS students, SD5/SD6 staff, students, and parents/guardians

Fundraiser:  the Kimberley Youth Action Network (KYAN) will be accepting donations at the door in support of joint-programming with ʔaq̓am’s Guardians In Training (GIT)


Former Chief of ʔAq̓am (St. Mary’s Indian Band) / Former Chief Commissioner of the British Columbia Treaty Commission

Sophie Pierre served her community of ʔAq̓am (the St. Mary’s Indian Band) of the Ktunaxa Nation for 30 years, 26 as elected chief, and for 25 years was the administrator of the Ktunaxa/Kinbasket Tribal Council, now the Ktunaxa Nation Council.

In 2017 Sophie Pierre was appointed to the St. Eugene Resort Board and served as Chairperson when the owner bands successfully bought out the partners Samson Cree Nation and Minjikinning First Nation

Sophie was recognized with the Order of Canada in 2016; the Order of British Columbia in 2002 and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the business category in 2003.

Sophie’s commitment to good governance, accountability and leadership has been recognized by three honorary degrees from Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia and University of Canada West.

Sophie, a mother of three and grandmother of five, now spends much of her time as an elder advisor to her community of ʔAq̓am and to the Ktunaxa Nation.

Topic:  Passion and Perspective

Time:  7:00 PM

Location: McKim Theatre

Audience:  PCS students and staff, SD5/SD6 students and staff, and general public

Admission:  Free!


Season 10 winner of Alone on History Channel / Outdoor Education Teacher

Winning season 10 of Alone was Alan’s ultimate adventure. He pushed the limits of his physical and mental capabilities; at the same time, tested his skills as a bowhunter, fisherman, forager, and bushcrafter.

Alan lives in the Columbia Valley in British Columbia, Canada with his wife Lisa; they have two children, Davis and Mackenzie. He has been a public school educator for 28 years, teaching various subjects from grades 6 to 12. It was his Outdoor Education class who initially encouraged him to apply for Alone.

Alan was introduced to the outdoors at a young age. Under the guidance of his father, Alan developed a passion for fishing, hunting, and archery. Fishing the small creek below his house with a worm and float developed into a love of fly fishing. Later in life, his interest in archery allowed for a natural transition to bowhunting. He enjoys camping with his family and friends, adventure motorcycling, fly fishing the local lakes and streams, and bow hunting deer, elk, and turkey.

You can follow Alan on Instagram and YouTube and, if you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to watch Season 10 of Alone on History Channel before coming to hear Alan speak.

Topic:  Passion and Perspective

Time:  6:00 PM

Location: McKim Theatre

Audience:  General public

Admission:  Free for students


Host of CBC Radio’s “Quirks and Quarks” / Author of “The Future is Now”

Bob McDonald is a celebrated author and science journalist.  Some quick facts about Bob:

✅ he is the host of CBC Radio’s “Quirks and Quarks”
✅ he is the author of “The Future is Now”
✅ he is a science commentator for CBC News
✅ he is a Gemini Award winner
✅ he is an Officer of the Order of Canada

He’s also an informative and inspiring public speaker.  Want to hear him speak about solving the climate crisis with today’s technology?  Attend this event, sponsored by a consortium of organizations including School District No. 6 (Rocky Mountain), School District No. 5 (Southeast Kootenay), the City of Kimberley, the Kimberley and District Chamber of Commerce, and Purcell Collegiate School.

The event will showcase youth sharing their activities and ideas on the need for innovation, action and hope to ensure a livable, sustainable future.

Topic:  Physics and Your Future

Time:  7:00 PM

Location: McKim Theatre

Audience: PCS students, SD5/SD6 staff, students, and parents/guardians


Associate Professor/Head of School of Chemistry and Physics at Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Jennifer MacLeod is an Associate Professor and Head of School of Chemistry and Physics at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia. She is a physicist with over 20 years of experience in studying nanoscale systems, particularly the behaviour of atoms and molecules on surfaces. After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Calgary, she studied at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and went on to work in Montreal, Italy and Australia. She has held fellowship funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and from the Australian Research Council, and is a Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. MacLeod was born and raised in Kimberley where she attended Selkirk Secondary School.  She is passionate about the opportunities science affords to young people and looks forward to sharing her inspiring journey and engaging with attendees on possibilities and pathways available to them.

Quote: “I really love the discovery of science–understanding things that have not been understood before, seeing things that have not been seen before, getting a little glimpse of something truly new.”

Topic:  Anti-Fragile Leadership

Time:  7:00 PM

Location:  TBD

Audience:  PCS students and staff, SD5/SD6 students and staff, and general public

Admission:  Free!

Fundraiser:  Donations will be collected at the door with proceeds going to the Golden Women’s Resource Centre


Royal Roads University Board of Governors / Former Mayor of Golden

Brave, bold, and whole hearted leaders make better decisions. To build a resilient and sustainable future for our communities, decision-makers should not be driven by a desire to avoid public backlash, but by a commitment to make the right decisions for the community as a whole and future generations. To embody this brave, bold model of decision making, the world needs anti-fragile leaders

What is anti-fragile leadership and why does it matter?  Anti-fragile leadership aims to prepare leaders to improve when exposed to adverse events. It goes beyond resilience or bouncing back; it implies recovery and improvement.

Come for the stories and stay for the strategies.

Christina Benty, MA is a strategist and a human system change agent. She works with leaders and organizations who want to build a culture of excellence in an environment that is kinder, wiser, and more conscious. As a national speaker, facilitator, published author, and a performance coach for governing bodies and senior management teams, she masterfully delivers intellectual content with energy and enthusiasm.

For a preview of how Christina weaves together the art and science of leadership, check out her TEDX Talk on Leadership and her Soul to Soul Leadership PowHERTalk.

Topic:  Why Not Me?

Time:  7:00 PM

Location: McKim Theatre

Audience: PCS students, SD5/SD6 staff, students, and parents/guardians


Olympic Medalist / World Champion Ski Jumper

I developed a strong heart and character from living, training and competing eight thousand kilometres away from home since I was fourteen. This passion has allowed me to travel the world while representing my country and proudly wearing our national symbol, the maple leaf. After watching the 2010 Olympics in Whistler I wanted to be a ski jumper and an Olympian. Starting at nine years old I fell in love with ski jumping and that love has never faded. Just before my fifteenth birthday, I was met with a choice: quit ski jumping or move to Europe to pursue my passion. I moved halfway around the world and spent the next two years in Garmisch-Partenchirken Germany. Once I was competitive enough with the national team girls, I was invited to train with the team. After only one year officially on the Canadian National team I have done what others deemed impossible: Alex Loutitt World Champion in Ski Jumping and Olympic Medalist. This is not the first time I have exceeded expectations and it will not be the last.

My work ethic was inherited from my Gwich’in lineage (a small Indigenous group in Northern Canada). Developed through my family’s struggles in the north, perseverance was passed down from my grandfather to my father, then to me.

Achievements: first female athlete to win both Sr. World Championships and Jr. World Championships in one season; first Canadian to win a women’s FIS Ski Jumping World Cup; Team Canada’s youngest Olympic medalist from the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games; participated in the first-ever women’s ski flying event; current Canadian National record holder for longest jump (both men and women) with 225m; and one of six women ever to jump more than 200m.