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In response to feedback from students, teachers, and the community, programs were put in place at Father Leonard Van Tighem to engage students in their interests and passions, as well as foster community connections. In quarter one grade eight and nine students saw their physical education course offered with a new structure and focus. Students got to choose whether they wanted to engage in a competitive physical pursuits style course or were more suited for a lifestyle fitness approach. The intensity of the delivery of the programs was the biggest difference as students used their 90 minutes of class time being active, fostering lifelong fitness habits while experiencing community facilities and organized activities. Students frequently biked to the different venues, exploring activities such as swimming, racquetball, golf, wall climbing and scuba diving; activities that weren’t defined by traditional school gym space. Teacher Mario Pasquotti says “the course was a success, the kids were excited, engaged, and made lifelong connections with activities and individuals in the community.” For the remainder of the year students decide how they would like to stay active with courses such as fitness, yoga, golf, dance, and track and field to name a few.

Instruction with Jim Steacy

Instruction with Jim Steacy

One of the several new courses this year at FLVT is the track and field class. Excited to share her passion with students Patti Pilsner contacted Olympic throwing coach, Larry Steinke and set a partnership that would see Van Tighem students experience athletic events under the guidance of world class Olympians such as Jim Steacy and  Liz Gleadle. “Coach Steinke has extensive experience in long term athlete development. His work in the speed and power events with developmental progressions for young athletes has influenced policy changes in athletics across Canada. For our students to develop their raw athletic abilities under his tutelage was an arrangement that we sought and were excited to bring to life” says Pilsner. The option class was built knowing it would appeal to a group of students, and the response was overwhelming. A second class block was opened up to accommodate the interest, as well as 10 more class spots once the option started. “It is always fun getting to pass along knowledge about the sport I love and have been doing for the past fifteen years” comments Steacy. “The kids at FLVT are working hard and there is some real potential for some great results when their track and field season comes around in the spring!”

When the track and field course wraps up, a Dance Basics class begins. Miss Joy and Miss Aurielle from Joy’s Dance Factory will be leading the charge. Miss Joy and Miss Aurielle are both registered teachers with The Royal Academy of Dance and accredited ADAPT teachers. These ladies are more than shiny credentials, their extensive experiences and awards speak to their abilities and knowledge of tap, jazz, musical theatre, preschool movement, and ballet. FLVT also offers a Dance Elite course for students training for festival or seeking additional private lessons. This course is geared towards experienced dancers who would like to commit more time in their week to their dance career. Each class is about meeting students where they are and supporting their passions and being exposed to world class instruction and expertise.

Written by Patti Pilsner, Associate Principal at FLVT

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