By JEREMY APPEL on August 24, 2019.
St. Francis Xavier School has been gearing up for the inaugural year of its sports academy.
Principal Nick Gale told the News that although there are several sports academies in the region, St. Francis Xavier’s is unique because its students don’t have to choose a specific sport to focus on.
“We’re the multi-sport one,” said Gale.
It’s geared towards students in Grades 4-6, whereas Notre Dame Academy – where Gale was vice principal prior to becoming St. Francis Xavier’s principal – is for Grades 6-9.
“We’re really focusing on physical literacy, so we’re trying to get kids to get active in all different areas,” explained lead sports instructor Kennedy Werre, 24, who’s entering her first year as a teacher after a highly-decorated basketball career at Medicine Hat College, where she earned her teaching degree.
“I ended up with an awesome job.”
The academy allows students the opportunity “to develop fully as an athlete,” said Gale, who got the idea for a sports academy geared towards younger students when he was at Notre Dame.
“A year ago this was just an idea on a back of a piece of paper, but now here we’ve hired a staff member and have 25 students registered,” he said.
“It’s been a long road of planning and we’ve had to go from everything to the basics of what this is potentially going to look like to when and how this is going to happen.”
The day-to-day logistics will be handled by Werre, he added.
The way the academy works is students who are enrolled spend Tuesday and Thursday afternoons playing sports, either out in the community or at the school, which shares some facilities with next-door Monsignor McCoy.
Werre says they’re beginning the year with baseball, which they’ll start playing on their diamond before going on an “explore day” out in the city.
“We’ll probably rotate over a month,” she said.
“Even within the month, we’ll have different days in there where they’ll try out different things,” added Gale.
Academy students will focus on soccer and baseball in September, October, early-November, late-April, May and June, as well as basketball and volleyball in the remaining months.
Students outside the academy will still be part of the school-wide physical literacy plan.
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