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The Churchill High School/Collège Churchill Hockey Academy, which began its inaugural year in September, will be expanding to multiple grades in 2017.
Once this year's crop of Grade 7 players/students moves on Grade 8, the academy will continue to build by adding another group of Grade 7 students in September 2017. The program will continue to evolve into higher grades with each successive year.
"The skills and confidence these students are building on the ice are translating into the classrooms," said Principal Donna Miller. "These students are becoming leaders in our school and they bring a lot to the table. Our students who aren't in the hockey academy enjoy having these students in their classrooms…they've fit right into our inclusive environment."
Whether it's on the ice or in their academic studies, hockey academy students have a healthy sense of competition.
"We bring the competition off the ice into school with our grades," said student Dana Goertzen. "We compete to see who can get the best grades. We study a lot."
At Churchill, students have a choice of either the English or, at Collège Churchill, French stream of instruction as the school offers classes in both official languages. Students start their day practising hockey at Southdale Community Centre before going to classes at Churchill.
"As educators, we use hockey as a tool to keep students engaged and enthusiastic about achieving their potential within all areas of the school curriculum," said Vice-Principal Dominic Zagari. "The skills academy reflects the values of the Winnipeg School Division, which creates an environment that is inclusive to individual student development both academically and athletically."
The Churchill High School/Collège Churchill Hockey Academy strives for all students to achieve academic excellence. Students take all of the core academic courses as prescribed by Manitoba Education and Training.
Students are provided with opportunities to join all extra-curricular activities at the school.
The hockey academy is designed to complement and enhance skill development opportunities within the current Hockey Canada Branches and their minor hockey associations.
"Repetition accelerates learning, being on the ice everyday really helps," said student Aidan Hyra.
Student Cohen Cheung agreed: "With this program, I'm skating more than my opponents. I'm out here skating every day, and they're only out there a few times a week."
Registration for new participants is now open and can be found on the "forms" page of the Churchill High School website (http://hockeyacademy.churchillhigh.ca).