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Colony Students Have New Hockey Equipment Through Grant

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For the past six winters, Thompson Hutterite Colony School teacher Marjorie Latimer has had to tell her students that they can’t skate on the Colony pond during school hours. Although the students love to skate, they don’t have helmets. “The Division policy is ‘no helmet, no skate’”, says Marjorie. “So we weren’t able to go skating as part of our school physical education class or outdoor activities.”

With a limited budget, Marjorie tried to find used helmets through local buy-and-sell groups but it wasn’t enough for her 11 students in Grades 1-8. Because this was a safety issue, Marjorie reached out to LRSD’s Health & Safety Coordinator, Laura Stocker, to see if she knew of any grants that would help her purchase helmets.

Laura suggested Marjorie could apply for Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada)’s Access to Action Grant Program. Funded by Sport Canada, the bursaries empower school communities to provide inclusive and meaningful sport and physical activity opportunities before, during, and after school. The Thompson Colony School, located approximately 35 kilometers east of Pincher Creek, seemed like a good candidate for such a grant, but Marjorie couldn’t be sure. 

“I applied but really didn’t think we would qualify,” Marjorie explains. “I was completely shocked when I received the email that we received a $1,600 grant for helmets with changes, ball hockey sticks, and nets.”

In what Marjorie describes as serendipity, the equipment arrived on the day of a planned visit from the Board of Trustees and Superintendent, who spend some time at each of LRSD’s 31 schools each year. She surprised her students with the boxes, but asked if they could be patient and wait to open their new gear with their special visitors.

On Monday, April 17, 2023 the members of the Board of Trustees and Superintendent Darryl Seguin, along with Colony Schools Principal Nick Beer, were treated to a Readers’ Theatre performance from the students describing their desire to skate but needing helmets, and of their teacher’s great surprise of the grant-funded equipment. Then the student excitedly opened the boxes and reveled in their new supplies.

While it might seem like “just” hockey equipment, Marjorie sees many benefits for her students. “Although Thompson Colony kids are very active, because they range in age from 7 to 14, it can be hard to interest all of them in playing a particular game together,” she says. “But with hockey, they need everyone to be part of the team and they’re playing together, moving, talking, and learning with one another. They like to pretend to be NHL players and everyone gets to play.”

It’s this type of experience — a teacher who sees a need, a staff member with a solution to a problem, leaders who value connecting with students — that demonstrates Livingstone Range School Division’s vision of ‘Every student, every day.’

Photos used with permission.

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