CBC Broadcaster and Olympic athlete deliver important message to Birchview Dunes ES students

How often do you receive an inspirational message personally from an Olympic athlete?

Staff and students at Birchview Dunes Elementary School in Wasaga Beach received just that at their Character Through Sport assembly recently. The event was organized by the school’s physical education teacher, James Carson, and attended by keynote speaker and CBC sports broadcaster, Scott Russell.

Russell showed footage from both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio and enjoyed the opportunity to speak to a younger audience.

“To be able to speak to (these students), who have an emerging understanding of the importance of sport, is really important to me,” he said. The students “come at it with a very fresh face and an open mind, and they are looking for people to model themselves after, so when you haul out the name of (Canadian Olympians) Penny Oleksiak, Andre de Grasse or Derek Drouin, Erica Wiebe, Christine Sinclair, any of those people, they’re role models worth looking up to and I think they understand that.” (Adams, Ian, 2017, simcoe.com)

Canadian national women’s soccer team player and two-time Olympic bronze medallist, Melissa Tancredi, spoke to the students via a video message and talked about the importance of character through sport, especially honesty.

“The most important thing is to be honest with yourself and be true to your friends and family,” said Tancredi. She explained that receiving criticism from coaches was difficult growing up and hurt her feelings, but it was what she needed to improve her skills. (Winton Sarvis, Gisele, 2017, The Enterprise Bulletin)

Carson has a number of athletes lined up to provide a series of video messages throughout the year, including bronze-medallist rugby sevens player Megan Lukan, bronze-medallist wrestler Jasmine Mian and bronze-medallist soccer player Deanne Rose. All three athletes went to schools in Simcoe County.

The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) has been highlighting 10 character traits through the Commitment to Character education program. These traits include integrity, responsibility, cooperation, caring, respect, optimism, honesty, empathy, courage and inclusiveness. As part of the Board’s core values, the goal is to teach the importance of these traits and showcase students, staff and volunteers who exemplify them and lead by example. It takes an entire school community to work together to make an impact and meet the highest standards of student citizenship.

Do you know a SCDSB staff member, student or volunteer who demonstrates good character in their daily lives? You can nominate them to be celebrated at the Commit to Character Recognition Night taking place on May 18, 2017 at the Education Centre. Nominations are due by February 24.

To nominate someone and/or find out more about the Commitment to Character program, please visit our website:

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