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CRPS students welcome World Cup athletes

With today’s start of the 2012 Cross-Country Alberta World Cup, over 400 students from Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) will be at the Nordic Centre to cheer on athletes, perform and represent the community.

With today’s start of the 2012 Cross-Country Alberta World Cup, over 400 students from Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) will be at the Nordic Centre to cheer on athletes, perform and represent the community.

The event marks the second time students from CRPS will participate in the Adopt-a-Nation program, following the 2010 World Cup.

This time, in addition to increased student participation, performances will be taking place all morning and afternoon, which is a first for any World Cup cross-country skiing event held in Alberta.

“They’ve never involved students in that sense of performing,” said Sabrina Harper, a Grade 3 and drama teacher at Exshaw School who is overseeing the performances at this year’s race.

“It was inspired by another World Cup they saw overseas,” she explained. “My vision was to pull in the school groups to showcase what performances they were doing – whether it was band, singing, dancing – to the community and to the world.

“The amount of publicity this gets around the world, it’s pretty neat to showcase our students and also the community.”

Of the over 400 students from Elizabeth Rummel, Lawrence Grassi, Exshaw, Banff Community High School and Banff Elementary schools, approximately 150 will perform.

“It’s really exciting to have all of our schools within the division at the same place on the same day to share what they’re doing,” Harper added.

The performances themselves follow weeks of preparation, where classes from all the schools involved selected nations to learn about and represent on race day.

“My class is studying the Ukraine in Grade 3,” said Lesley Reid, a teacher at Elizabeth Rummel and one of the volunteer organizers for Adopt-a-Nation.

“They’ve looked up the different festivals of the Ukraine,” she explained. “What types of food they have. What the traditional dress might look like. What kinds of sports they do. What types of services are provided.”

Reid also pointed out students are learning about the similarities between some of the competing countries and Canada, especially for nations that have large populations within the province due to the arrival of immigrants before the start of the 20th century.

The program also offers a glimpse of what future athletes can achieve after seeing locals like Chandra Crawford and Phil Widmer compete at this year’s event.

“It’s inspiring for students and really a special opportunity for them to see their mentors and people who, just like them, grew up here and went to the same schools they did and now they’re world-class athletes,” Harper said.

“Our whole school is pulsing with energy and getting excited about supporting their country and also being exposed to all these other countries and athletes,” she added.

With 200 athletes and over 20 countries participating in the World Cup, each participating class has crafted artwork, posters and flags that were put up in businesses around Canmore and at the Nordic Centre to garner more support for the race as well as demonstrate the community’s pride in welcoming such an event.

“I just hope people realize what a vibrant community we have and how all the students like to engage in all the activity that is going on,” Reid Said. “I think it raises more awareness so more families will come downtown and they’ll invite friends.”

The support of teachers and staff at each of the schools has also been a big component of why so many students are participating this year, noted Chris MacPhee, the CRPS superintendent.

“These opportunities that are constantly presenting themselves within our schools does nothing but improve the educational experience that our students are able to obtain,” MacPhee said.

“Not only the educational aspect, but it shows the dedication of the staff in the CRPS in going above and beyond the call to ensure students have this opportunity,” he added.

“I don’t think you could ask for a much better experience for our students to have in their own backyard.”

Kicking off at 10 a.m., the Lawrence Grassi jazz band will perform, followed by the Elizabeth Rummel School choir. Exshaw School’s First Nations fancy, jingle and traditional dancers will also perform, along with Banff high school’s famous drum line.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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