Stories of Simcoe – Al and Nick

Every journey starts with something small. This past summer, wrestler Jasmine Mian represented Canada at the Rio Olympics. Her wrestling journey began at Innisdale Secondary School and the Kempenfelt Bay Athletic Club with two coaches who saw something special in her. We agree, and we also see something special in these teachers.

Meet Al and Nick.

Al is a teacher at Innisdale Secondary School, and Nick teaches at Bear Creek Secondary School. Together, and with the help of others along the way, they fostered an environment that helped Jasmine get to Rio, and is helping other young wrestlers reach great heights in Canada and around the world.

When Nick began coaching wrestling at Barrie Central, he saw an opportunity to take a team approach to athlete development in Barrie and the surrounding area. With only four students on the Barrie Central team, all in different weight classes, Nick connected with Al at Innisdale. The two schools partnered up for practices to provide their athletes with a better training experience.

With the students wrestling together in school practices, Al and Nick formed the Kempenfelt Bay Athletic Club to let the athletes compete together. Athletes from the club have gone on to compete at the national and international level. One example is Jasmine Mian.

Al first saw Jasmine when she was on his flag football team. He saw an athleticism in her that he thought would be well suited to wrestling, and asked her to join the team.

“It is incredible to see where Jasmine began and how far she has come,” said Al. “Watching her walk in during the Opening Ceremonies made a tear come to my eye. It is pretty impactful.”

Al and Nick encourage their students and athletes to explore and follow their dreams, just like Jasmine. “Just follow a passion. There are many opportunities for success, and not all students take advantage of it. In wrestling, everyone makes the team. There are no cuts, and you can participate right through university,” says Nick.

Al adds, “I remember my experiences from outside of class the most. I tell my Grade 9 students to get out and experience the social aspect of school. Experience a team, a sport, a club. Don’t look back and say you could’ve or should’ve.”

Great words of advice for all of us.

Stories of Simcoe is a place to share the stories of our staff and students, past and present. Do you know someone with a story to tell? Let us know! Contact us at info@scdsb.on.ca.

Ideas include: students or staff with a passion, comeback stories, people with a cause, success stories, exchange student experiences, what I want to be when I grow up and more. Subjects can include students, parents, staff, volunteers, graduates and other members of the school community.

Stories of Simcoe: Darcy and Frasier

Picture of Darcy and Frasier
Frasier surprised his friend Darcy by raising $1,500 for components for a new wheelchair.

Meet Darcy and Frasier.

They are Grade 4 students at Mountain View Elementary School in Collingwood, and are best friends. Darcy has Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, and is looking forward to getting a new wheelchair. Frasier wanted to help, and decided to raise funds for a camera mount for Darcy’s new wheelchair. He set a goal of $150, and did 15 hours of pogo stick and skateboard tricks in his neighbourhood. After his mom posted his goal on Facebook, Frasier raised $1,500!

“He didn’t know about it,” Frasier said. “It was a big surprise. I went to his house and gave it to him. It felt pretty good.”

“He is kinda my best friend,” says Darcy. “I actually felt pretty good. If your friend needs help, then definitely help them.”

 

Stories of Simcoe is a place to share the stories of our staff and students, past and present. Do you know someone with a story to tell? Let us know! Contact us at info@scdsb.on.ca.

Ideas include: students or staff with a passion, comeback stories, people with a cause, success stories, exchange student experiences, what I want to be when I grow up and more. Subjects can include students, parents, staff, volunteers, graduates and other members of the school community.

 

 

Stories of Simcoe: Kellie

Kellie
Kellie McNabb holding her book and her “Ellen shoes”, the shoes she will wear if she makes it onto the Ellen DeGeneres show.

Meet Kellie.

Kellie is a French teacher at Assikinack Public School.

After going through a divorce a number of years ago, she decided to set some goals for herself:

  1. Complete an IRONMAN triathlon.
  2. Write a book about it.
  3. Find a publisher and get her book published.
  4. Be on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
  5. Get her book made into a movie.

Kellie has accomplished her first three goals.

When she first set out on this mission, she had a long way to go to reach her first goal. Kellie began training in 2011, and completed her IRONMAN race on Aug. 18, 2013. She thought that becoming an Ironman would put the pieces of her life back together, but she ended up learning a lot more along the way. Kellie began volunteering at a homeless centre and found a great amount of joy through her work there. Throughout her journey she wrote about her experiences, which has led to her being a published author.

Her book, ONE – The Power of One Step was five years in the making. It took two years to write and three years to edit and get published. The book explores her journey, her experiences helping the homeless, the excitement of her IRONMAN race and inspiring people to go for it. “If we want something bad enough, we can do it,” says Kellie.

Looking back on everything she’s done so far, she says it’s the little things or the almost failures that stand out. “Like being told you’re going to be pulled off the race course if you don’t hurry. Or my first day working at the homeless centre, there was a man with very shaky hands and he was spilling his coffee all over his hands. I went up to him and I took a napkin and wiped the coffee from his hands. He looked at me so gratefully and was so happy, and that really stuck with me.”

Kellie says that what she hopes people take from her book and from her experience, is “courage in themselves to follow their dreams and to look inside themselves for their source of happiness. I hope  they will be inspired to take joy in having compassion for and helping others.”

Kellie still has two more goals she wants to reach, and is ecstatic about what she has accomplished so far. She even bought a special pair of shoes she plans to wear if she is on the Ellen DeGeneres show, and created a vision board of who she imagines starring in a movie based on her book.

For more information on Kellie and her book, visit https://kelliemcnabb.com/

Stories of Simcoe is a place to share the stories of our staff and students, past and present. Do you know someone with a story to tell? Let us know! Contact us at info@scdsb.on.ca.

Ideas include: students or staff with a passion, comeback stories, people with a cause, success stories, exchange student experiences, what I want to be when I grow up and more. Subjects can include students, parents, staff, volunteers, graduates and other members of the school community. 

Stories of Simcoe: Joe, Logan and Caiden

Meet Joe, Logan and Caiden.

Joe is a resident of the Barrington Retirement Residence. Logan and Caiden are Kindergarten students from Hewitt’s Creek Public School.

Joe has loved drawing his whole life. He never took lessons; it’s just something that comes naturally to him. He began drawing when he young and has recently started to slow down. He says now that he’s older, he doesn’t enjoy it quite as much as his abilities aren’t what they used to be. Nevertheless, Joe still dabbles in his sketchbook, and joins the kids when they come to visit. He says it’s great to see the kids interacting, drawing and having fun.

Logan and Caiden want to be artists when they grow up. They want to paint and draw.

Caiden is currently in the midst of illustrating a picture book, and Logan likes to draw fish.

(The kindergarten classes from Hewitt’s Creek have received grant money from the Ministry of Education for an inter-generational relationships project. They visit the Barrington Retirement Residence each Wednesday to play and interact with the elders. The project began in April and runs until the end of May. A joint field trip with the students and the elders is also planned for June.)

Stories of Simcoe is a place to share the stories of our staff and students, past and present. Do you know someone with a story to tell? Let us know! Contact us at info@scdsb.on.ca.

Ideas include: students or staff with a passion, comeback stories, people with a cause, success stories, exchange student experiences, what I want to be when I grow up and more. Subjects can include students, parents, staff, volunteers, graduates and other members of the school community. 

 

Stories of Simcoe: Darlene

Darlene

Meet Darlene.

Darlene is an office assistant at Nantyr Shores. She lost her twin brother David eight years ago.

Since then, she’s struggled with depression. The journey has affected her, as well as her family, friends and co-workers.

Darlene copes by writing in her journal and talking to others who share similar experiences. When asked if she had any advice for people suffering from depression or loss, she said communication is key.

Darlene has found love and support from the people in her life. This has made a world of difference. Her family and co-workers continue to stand by her side. She loves her job, the staff and students at her school, and being around these people brightens her day. Darlene still has bad days, but she feels she is on her way to a better tomorrow.

“Sometimes we just need to step back, accept what is and concentrate on tomorrow being a better day. We need to allow for those setbacks without the guilt because it is an illness. An invisible one to others but it is always there. Some are lucky and experience it for a short time. Some the rest of their lives. It is about living through that and I am trying so very hard. I just wish it wasn’t such a battle. Writing about it helps. I have always been better at writing my thoughts than speaking them. I have just never done it alone. I was born a ‘we’ and I am learning to live and find ‘me’.”

Stories of Simcoe is a place to share the stories of our staff and students, past and present. Do you know someone with a story to tell? Let us know! Contact us at info@scdsb.on.ca.

Ideas include: students or staff with a passion, comeback stories, people with a cause, success stories, exchange student experiences, what I want to be when I grow up and more. Subjects can include students, parents, staff, volunteers, graduates and other members of the school community.