A School with No Gym

special edition– Olivier Levesque and Zachary Samuel Fiset

How can a school have a functioning physical education program without a gymnasium? This was a question that weighed heavily on the minds of Metis Beach School teachers. A few years ago, our principal, Mr. Mitchell, suggested that a sports committee needed to be formed. Today, teachers Terra McMullen and Josiane Millette, along with CLC sports organizer, Isabelle Beaulieu, are the planners of this sports program. These three women meet regularly to plan the yearly activities for both elementary and secondary students. It is this committee that books the facilities, searches for volunteers and coaches, and prepares the equipment. Activities range from tennis, ultimate Frisbee, and soccer to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Secondary students have physical education on Wednesday afternoons and elementary students on Friday afternoons.

Terra McMullen with her Secondary 3-4-5 boys at the training room at L’Envol school 2011-2012 Photo: Metis Beach School

Terra McMullen with her Secondary 3-4-5 boys at the training room at L’Envol school 2011-2012
Photo: Metis Beach School

The school sports program has now been functioning for three years. The program keeps the students active while having fun. Before, the students only played in the schoolyard and there was a lack of diversity in the activities that were held. Now, students also have a say in the types of activities that are offered in the physical education program. Each spring, students from elementary cycle two to secondary five participate in an online survey called “Tell Them From Me.” The survey includes questions to find out about what types of sports the students would like to see in the sports program.

Secondary Students enjoy a day of skating at the rink in Baie des Sables Photo: Metis Beach School

Secondary Students enjoy a day of skating at the rink in Baie des Sables
Photo: Metis Beach School

The majority of students think that the sports program is interesting, fun and that it should continue. This year, the students participated in multiple activities such as tennis, soccer, Frisbee, swimming and more. In the winter, the activities are different. Until very recently, the students participated in snowshoeing and cross-country skiing activities.

It is often asked where does all the money come from? Over the past three years, most of the money to offer the program has come from a grant from the Ministry of Education called Busy Bodies, Active Minds. Other grants have come from the Caisse Desjardins and other generous donors. The money is used to organize activities and trips, and to buy better equipment for the students, like snowshoes and cross-country skis.

On the 15th, 16th and 17th of January, nineteen secondary students went to Parc de la Gaspésie for a ski trip. First the secondary students climbed Mont Hog’s Back and then they came back down on crazy carpets. The next day they went cross-country skiing to the Lac aux Américains.

2011-2012 Elementary students prepare to go snowshoeing. Photo: Metis Beach School

2011-2012 Elementary students prepare to go snowshoeing.
Photo: Metis Beach School

It is fair to say that in the previous years, the activities offered in the  school’s sports program have changed a lot. Now, the students are really exited to participate in the activities and they have a lot of fun. We really like the sports program and we would really like it to continue in the upcoming years.

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