September 07, 2011 (Calgary, AB) – The pursuit of excellence in both academics and athletics got a whole lot easier for more than 150 Calgary-based student-athletes as the National Sport School opened the doors to its new facility at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary on Tuesday.
The innovative school, developed and operated by the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and WinSport Canada, moved from Ernest Manning High School to a new five-story office tower on the west side of Canada Olympic Park (C.O.P.). The move centralizes sports training and student learning to simplify the busy lives of high school athletes with dreams of Olympic gold.
The original school was formed in 1994 after studies indicated that close to 50 per cent of exceptionally skilled young athletes were forced tochoose between school or sport due to conflicting schedules.
Relocating the school to C.O.P marks the next major advancement in WinSport Canada’s continued goal to centralize resources for Canadian athletes with construction of the nation’s first Canadian Sport Institute.
“Quality and innovative educational opportunities for student-athletes is at the heart of WinSport Canada’s vision for the future,” said Dan O’Neill, president, WinSport Canada. “We recognize the pursuit of excellence in athletics, and in formal learning, is not easy to balance. Relocating the school within the culture of excellence we are creating in Calgary provides a tremendous opportunity for these student-athletes to learn from current Olympic and World Champions, while pursuing both their sporting dreams and a world-class education.”
“The National Sport School embodies everything we mean by personalized learning,” said Sydney Smith, CBE area director. “We have created a unique learning opportunity that recognizes the gifts of student athletes and their desire to succeed in the arenas of sports and education.”
The National Sport School has a tradition of champions. Seven National Sport School student-athletes have won Olympic and Paralympic medals for Canada. Earlier this year, 36 current and former National Sport School student-athletes competed at the 2011 Canada Winter Games, winning 29 medals. At the same time, the school consistently graduates some of the highest-ranked academic performers in Alberta.
“Athletes burn significant energy travelling to various locations each day to access the resources they need to be fully prepared to achieve excellence,” said Kyle Shewfelt, Olympic gold medallist in gymnastics, and a graduate of the school. Shewfelt helped open the facility by welcoming a busload of student-athletes as they arrived on a school bus.
“The National Sport School allows athletes to complete their high school education while competing. It is even more significant for a young athlete to have access to educational opportunities, and sport services like massage and physiotherapy in the same location they train. Thanks to WinSport and the Calgary Board of Education’s vision, the journey to fulfilling an Olympic and Paralympic dream was simplified today for young student-athletes who can now access all of these much-needed services in one location.”
The National Sport School combines the latest in technology with a supportive individualized academic learning program to meet the needs of young high-performance athletes who spend most of their time training and competing in different locations around the world. Teacher-student interaction is split between time in the classroom and web-based learning programs.