Sports program takes off at FP Walshe School

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A new program will take off next year and will offer students in grades 6 to 8 the opportunity to develop their skills in the sport.

The Wings program at FP Walshe School offers training in volleyball, basketball, hockey, rugby and baseball.

Principal Chad Jensen and professors Danica Chabot, Aimee Sandham, Andrew Walmsley and Ben Paskal will be the athletic team managers.

More than 30 parents and students came to FP Walshe School for a presentation on the Wings program.

Jensen spent the first two years of his tenure as director at FP Walshe getting to know people and talking about opportunities.

“One of the things that stood out to me was our young students’ desire for sporting opportunities,” Jensen said of his cultural audit of FP Walshe.

Jensen combined this expression of interest with the school’s staff and facilities as he considered what might be possible.

Jensen, who was previously headmaster 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 improved sports program could be possible to FP Walshe.

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

Jensen said the Wings program would fit into the vision, mission and goals of the FP Walshe School.

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

“I’m a big fan of athletics and those types of programs,” Jensen said. “Students experience a strong sense of belonging to a school when they are part of something like this, helping with the culture and leading to the improvement of their academics and genuine enjoyment and commitment to being part of the school .”

The Wings program would focus on skill development, which is not always possible for team coaches, where the emphasis is on systems and team play.

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

FP Walshe College, Grades 6-8, operates on the term system in which new options are offered each term.

One or more of the Wings squads would be offered each term.

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 in the fourth quarter.

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

“We build into the schedule that if you’re in the Wings, then that’s your PE class for that quarter,” Jensen explained. “That way you don’t miss any of your majors.”

When not enrolled in one of the Wings squads, students will participate in a regular physical education class.

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

Students are not required to play on teams in any of the sports. Wings gives them the chance to find out 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 lead the hockey program, while Chabot will lead volleyball, Sandham will lead basketball, Walmsley will lead rugby and Paskal will lead 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 to all students, but there may be caps on enrollment due to availability of facilities and staff.

Wings enrollment packages are available at WA Day and FP Walshe schools.

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