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From imagination to real life, students create sculptures carved from snow

“We're broadening their connection, their sense of belonging in the communities they live.”

BANFF – Grade 7 students from Banff Elementary School put their creativity to the test.

Roughly 50 students worked on their teamwork and creative skills while building snow sculptures.

The idea came from long-time Banff resident and business owner Peter Poole and was further carried out by Chris Braisby.

“Every day we've walked here, there's a sense of pride and excitement in the students around what they're creating,” said Craig Kestle, principal of Banff Elementary School.

Poole had the idea after seeing the snow sculptures built at the SnowDays Winter Festival in Banff, which consequently got him to think about making them on a smaller scale for younger kids.

About a year ago, Braisby tested it out with some kids in his neighbourhood and was found to be very engaging. They video recorded the experience and later presented it to Kestle, with hopes to expand it to the students who can benefit from such a positive time.

Kestle understood Poole’s and Braisby’s vision and piloted the program with Grade 7 students from Banff Elementary School. After seeing it come to fruition, he said he believes it’s a great learning experience to be had as the students must work together, solve problems, and explore their creativity.

Banff Elementary School not only worked with Poole and Braisby for the idea to come to life, but they also received support from the community.

The Town of Banff gave them a location at the Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre they could use to build the sculptures. Construction students from Banff Community High School built and donated the molds made from plywood to allow snow to be prepped for carving.

“We're broadening their connection, their sense of belonging in the communities they live,” said Kestle.

He said doing activities like this allows students to take what they are learning in a classroom and apply it to real life.

This is year one of the idea coming to life, but they hope to eventually expand it to more grades and potentially have student creations in the annual SnowDays festival.

“Not everyone's interested in art, but this is something that they can do to express themselves in whatever way they want,” said Braisby.

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