FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A digital mentorship between several classes at Bert Ambrose Elementary School and a national sledge hockey athlete leapt from the screen to the school on Monday.
Cody Dolan, a Team Canada sledge hockey player from Alberta, has met the students virtually over the course of the year, starting in September.
Dolan works with Classroom Champions, an organization focused on improving social and emotional learning and resilience in students by connecting classes to professional athletes.
The in-person visit, sponsored by Petronas, consisted of both indoor and outdoor games and activities and a short school assembly where Dolan chatted with and answered questions from different students.
Dolan has played sledge hockey for eight years and got involved with Classroom Champions and student mentorship over the pandemic, Dolan said.
“When you’re a kid,” he said, explaining his passion for the process, “you make heroes out of the Sidney Crosbies of the world.”
He explained that, when a student can look up to someone who is investing in them, something special happens.
“It’s a unique thing to help make heroes, regardless of sport, and [for those kids] to be able to meet their heroes,” he said.
Classroom Champions makes connections between high-level athletes and classrooms across the continent. The athletes make engaging, positive role models for students and illustrate skills for social and emotional learning, according to the Classroom Champions website.
Virtual visits and talks between athletes and classrooms, including those between Bert Ambrose classrooms and Dolan, have been a great tool for the program, according to Classroom Champions education team representative Grace Dafoe— especially since athletes are always on the road.
“But it’s the cherry on top, being able to be here in person.”
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