Prioritizing Belonging, On and Off the Ice
In the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD), we’ve been focused on answering the overarching question of “How do we prioritize belonging?” Answers to the overarching question will guide the LRSD community through the 2022-2023 school year as well as provide insight as we reflect on the 2019-2023 MYSP and co-create the priorities for the next four years.
A recent story out of Windsor Park Collegiate (WPC) exemplifies this focus on belonging.
Brett, a grade 10 student from Black River First Nation, arrived at WPC in the fall of 2022. On his first day of school, he was hoping to try out for the school’s hockey team but did not have a complete set of hockey equipment due to a recent house fire. His new peers and teachers quickly jumped into action to ensure he had the equipment necessary for the after-school tryout.
With just two years of ‘formal’ hockey training, Brett made the team not only based on his skill and determination but also because of his infectious personality.
“In hockey circles, Brett would be called a great ‘dressing room player,” said Robbie Mager, Principal at WPC. “He’s always positive, smiling, and accepting of any role handed to him.”
“I knew coming to WPC would allow me to do a lot of things I wanted to,” said Brett. “This is actually my first time playing high school hockey, I am learning how to properly play my position as a winger. Next year, I hope I can help the young ones joining the team progress, like I am now.”
The WPC hockey team recently played against École Powerview at the Sagkeeng Arena, 40 minutes from Black River First Nation. Brett’s parents, siblings, former principal, and several home community members packed into vans and headed to the arena to show their support. Every student at his former elementary school signed a poster that his fans proudly displayed at the game.
“It felt really good on the inside, I had all the support I could ask for,” said Brett. “I really made my mother proud, also my aunties, uncles, and all my family members, they all knew I could make it somewhere with the passion I have for the sport. My dad also helps with training, he formerly played junior hockey in Winnipeg at St. Vital.”
Principal Robbie Mager and Vice-Principal Carly Friesen also provided WPC toques for his fans to proudly sport during the game.
“I’d like to thank the Royals Hockey Team, the coaches, and Windsor Park Collegiate for making a huge positive impact not only on my nephew but probably other children from the community,” said Patricia Mitchell, Brett’s aunt.
Brett says he wants to keep living in the moment of each game and make the most of this hockey season. After high school, he is considering going to university or college to play hockey.
“I’m really looking to learn a lot and make memories on and off the ice, it is nice playing with the guys,” said Brett. “For some of them it’s their last year, but I’m glad I get to play with highly skilled players that I can learn from. I’m really hoping to have that big C on my jersey next year and to be on the first line with the top skaters. I know I could be a good leader next year.”