The SD54 building in Smithers. (File photo/Houston Today)

The SD54 building in Smithers. (File photo/Houston Today)

SD 54 being considered for Canadian Sport School

Could prove to be a boon for local athletes

School District 54 (SD 54) is being considered for opening of a Canadian Institute Sport School in Smithers.

The Canadian Sport School is said to offer student athletes and para-athletes in Grades 10-12, an opportunity to balance their academic course load and dry-land strength and conditioning training in a structured, yet flexible environment. With a sports partnership like this coming to SD 54 would mean that students from schools in Smithers and Houston would get direct access to this opportunity.

In the past kids from Houston have shown promise when it comes to competing and representing the school district. Last year, the Houston U16 team was in Kelowna competing at the annual Sweetheart tournament and Houston also had four u19 players on an a team with Quesnel and Prince George in Kelowna. Two young Houston athletes, Allison Emberley and Marisa Klawitter, also played on the Girls 13-14 regional ringette team in the B.C. Winter Games held in February 2020.

“A collaborative partnership with Engage Sport North out of Prince George and the Canadian Sport Institute brings an investment of equipment along with access to top level expertise to our district and communities,” said Matthew Monkman, the assistant superintendent with SD54.

What this will mean for the students in the school district, is the ability for focused, high-performance athletes to access national level training without leaving their community and National level expertise and equipment being brought into Smithers Secondary where it could inspire and support all students, according to Monkman.

An information session was held on Dec. 1, 2021, for students and parents of the school district to understand what it would mean to be considered for Canadian Sport school.

“Many parents engaged in the information session and the follow-up response has been very positive. We will have a decision by mid January. This will be based on the number of student applicants that we have,”said Monkman.

The way the Canadian Sport School would work is that student athletes on a path to becoming professional athletes would attend their home schools in the morning and attend the Canadian Sport School in the afternoons to complete personalized strength and conditioning training and academic coursework, including sport sciences, with the supervision of trained specialists and qualified teachers.

“Our district and region has had a number of high level athletes go on to pursue their sport passion beyond high-school. Invariably, most of those athletes have had to travel outside the region to access higher level training facilities and expertise. Bringing the facilities and personnel to support our young athletes while they continue to live at home and reduce the cost and time spent travelling is a worthy condition to pursue. We are hopeful that this opportunity can be brought to fruition for the upcoming school year,” concluded Monkman.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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