Maurice-Lapointe school offers flexible courses, in-house training to West Carleton students
High-level student athletes receive equal play when it comes to their training and education at Maurice-Lapointe French public school and it's offering the course to those living in West Carleton.
Dunrobin teen Evan Pilon enrolled in the hockey program at the south Kanata school to focus on developing his on ice skills as well as his studies.
The Grade 9 student, who also plays for the Kanata Blazers AA team, is on the rink twice a week during regular school hours and attends in-school training sessions every Thursday on top of his regular classwork.
“We have a great community of support around here,” said Pilon. “We have more ice time to practice.”
The specialized physical activity and health program (activité physique et santé in French or APS) is offered to students in grades 9 to 12 and includes a concentration in hockey or volleyball, while basketball will be added to the roster next year.
Three individual sport athletes – a swimmer, a tennis player and a figure skater – also take advantage of the flexible course schedule through APS while training off-site with professional coaches.
“As a school we realize sports is taking a much more predominate position in people’s lives,” said program co-ordinator Daniel Bottiglia. “What we can provide these high-level athletes is course flexibility.”
The emphasis on training doesn’t erase the importance of education. Student athletes take part in morning classes as well as online and correspondence courses so they can train during school hours.
A minimum grade average of 70 per cent is necessary to remain in the program, said Bottiglia.
He checks in regularly with students to make sure they’re staying on top of their studies and to offer additional help (tutors, extra instruction) when needed.
“Academics is our absolute priority,” he said. “We consider our students as students before we consider them athletes.”
The French public school has a wide catchment area that includes West Carleton and transportation is provided for those who pass the interview process.
“Not a lot of people know this kind of program is available at a regular high school,” said Bottiglia. “Right now we have a lot of room in the program. It’s one of the benefits of getting in on the ground floor.”
The hockey class is on the ice twice a week, while those in the volleyball program are in the gym every day. Teachers who specialize in the respective sports instruct the classes.
Bottiglia, who coaches the Goulbourn Rockets atom girls team, also instructs the hockey program at the school. The emphasis of the program isn’t just on ice play but every aspect of the sport – from planning to dialogue to positioning and leadership.
“I want to develop hockey players who are conscious of the coaching aspect,” said Bottiglia, adding students have to create, execute and lead drills on ice. “It’s a really big thing, coaching. I hope through this experience they learn enough to give back to the community.”
Thanks to a partnership with Greco Lean and Fit in Stittsville, certified trainers lead the student athletes in intense circuit training every Thursday.
“The kids love it and hate it at the same time,” said Bottiglia, who takes the training class alongside his students. “It’s rewarding and physically demanding and intense.”
For students in grades 7 and 8, the school offers an exploratory sports program. They receive a higher volume of physical education classes as well as experiences with a variety of non-traditional sports such as rock climbing, golf, fencing and cycling.
“We call it a pre-concentration,” said Bottiglia. “Before you focus in on a sport we try to expose you to as many non-traditional sports as possible.”
The school, located at 17 Bridgestone Dr. in Kanata, is hosting an open house on May 5, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. where prospective students and their parents can check out the amenities.
Those who are interested in the specialty programs are also invited to set up a tour anytime, said Bottiglia.
“I believe that our school offers an extraordinary program, which realizes the importance of our students being involved with sport and reaping the many benefits associated with a sports experience, while upholding the high expectations of academic achievement,” said Bottiglia.
“It’s too great an experience to keep it a secret.”
For more information, visit maurice-lapointe.cepeo.on.ca, contact Bottiglia at email@example.com or at 613-591-5384.