Categorized | Sports

Sports program takes flight at F.P. Walshe school

A new program will take flight next year that offers Grade 6-8 students the chance for concentrated skill development in sports.

The F.P. Walshe school Wings program offers training in volleyball, basketball, hockey, rugby and baseball.

Principal Chad Jensen and teachers Danica Chabot, Aimee Sandham, Andrew Walmsley and Ben Paskal will be the leads for the sport squads.

More than 30 parents and students turned out at F.P. Walshe school for a presentation on the Wings program.

Jensen has spent the first two years of his tenure as principal at F.P. Walshe getting to know people and talking about opportunities.

“One of the things that stood out to me was a desire from our younger students for athletic opportunities,” Jensen said of his cultural audit of F.P. Walshe.

Jensen combined that expression of interest with staffing and facilities at the school as he considered what might be possible.

Jensen, who was previously principal at Livingstone school in Lundbreck where he helped start the ski academy, and also taught at Warner where there is a hockey program, felt an enhanced sports program could be possible at F.P. Walshe.

“I had that little bit of background with some alternative sports programs and how that could fit into a school day and a school year,” Jensen said.

Jensen said the Wings program would fit into the vision, mission and goals for F.P. Walshe school.

Staff is working towards two goals this year: successful learners and a positive culture for the school community.

“I’m a big believer in athletics and these types of programs,” Jensen said. “Students find a strong sense of belonging in a school when they’re part of something like this, helping with the culture and leading to improvement with their academics and genuine enjoyment and engagement in being part of the school.”

The Wings program would concentrate on skill development, something that is not always possible for coaches of teams, where the focus is on systems and team play.

The skills students develop in sports through the Wings program will benefit the school and community teams on which they play.

The F.P. Walshe middle school, Grade 6-8, runs on the quarter system in which new options are offered each quarter.

One or some of the Wings squads would be offered each quarter.

For example, hockey and volleyball would be offered in the first quarter.

Hockey and basketball would be offered in the second quarter, and rugby and baseball would it in the fourth quarter.

There are no plans for a Wings offering in the third quarter.

“We build it into the timetable that if you are a part of Wings, then that is your phys-ed class for that quarter,” Jensen explained. “So you’re not missing out on any of your core subjects.”

When not enrolled in one of the Wings squads, students will take part in a regular phys-ed class.

“Wings is for kids who are wanting to be maybe a little more sport-specific,” Jensen said.

Students do not have to be playing on teams in any of the sports. Wings gives them a chance to learn more about a sport that might interest them.

The cost is $150 for hockey and $60 for each of the other sports.

Jensen and Paskal will be the leads in the hockey program, while Chabot leads volleyball, Sandham leads basketball, Walmsley leads rugby and Paskal leads baseball.

The Wings program will guide students in skill development but will also offer instruction in areas such as training, character development and nutrition.

Wings will be available for any student, but there may have to be caps put on registration due to facilities and staff availability.

Wings registration packages are available at W.A. Day and F.P. Walshe schools.