Hugh John Macdonald opens courtOctober 29, 2021 News Story
With leaves scattered on the schoolyard, the yellow lines on the new court at Hugh John Macdonald definitely catch the eye of any passers by. The bright gold lines and distinct logos that don the court are unmistakably new and crisp.
On Tuesday, October 19, the school hosted an official ribbon-cutting ceremony outside with special guests Kevin Chief, School Trustee Jennifer Chen and others joined Principal Matthew Adkins, students, teachers, and community members to share how the new basketball courts came to be at the junior high.
Principal Adkins thanked the dedication of Monique Russell, Tasia Karagiannis Bell, Nopharat (Nopes) Kousonsavath and the Winnipeg School Division (namely, Mile Rendulic and Tyler Schurko) building department. “I really want to highlight both Mile and Tyler. They were the best to work with and worked with us every step of the way to create something awesome,” says Adkins.
Mr. Kousonsavath, now Vice Principal of John M. King, had dreamed of a new court at the school since he attended HJM as a student. It was a full circle event when Nopes, as he is known, was the one who designed the custom lines and wrote the original proposal when he was a teacher at HJM to make this new court a reality for the school community.
“I knew I wanted the courts to have room for basketball, tennis courts, and pickleball,” he says. The courts are made up of: one full size regulation basketball court with three-point lines and custom logo at the centre, four quarter pick-up game basketball courts, two full size tennis courts, and two full size pickleball courts.
“As a basketball player you feel good about being in school when you play outside on a court,” said Kevin Chief in his remarks at the unveiling. “I felt like I was contributing to my community and it gave me a sense of pride to wear my school vest as a basketball player. And because of all the hard work from the team of people who made this happen, people can come here anytime: weekends, summer, after school, and play and feel safe.”
The Courts have attracted students in the morning before school, at lunchtime and after school. “It is a great outdoor resource for the community as neighbourhood kids are seen playing on it until the sun goes down,” shared Principal Adkins. It’s also the only full-size outdoor facility in the Central neighbourhood. “When the Courts were first completed at the end of August, there was a father and son playing basketball for an entire afternoon together. I knew at that point that the WSD had created something really special for the community.”
The Courts are used daily by physical education classes and the Peaceful Village Afterschool Program. The feedback from the students and community has been tremendous. The students, staff and community are excited and grateful for this incredible investment in a community resource by WSD and its Board of Trustees.
As he closed his remarks, just before students and administrators cut the ribbon, Kevin Chief playfully challenged the students to a game of basketball. “I’m going to bring my teammates back here for a game with you all, okay?” As cheers erupted from the students, it was clear the courts were going to make more winners out of the HJM community for years to come.