EIDES students participate in the 2018 EIDES Winter Olympics, Thursday Feb. 8. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Youth compete in winter Olympics

Bundled up under layers of fluorescent clothing, children excitedly participated in École Isabella Dicken Elementary School’s Winter Olympics Day, last Thursday.

Coinciding with the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, each class of students represented a different country for which they prepared a flag, and a cheer.

“Their chants were beautiful when they came in,” said EIDES Vice Principal, Janet Kuijt.

Before Olympic Day commenced, students met in the gymnasium, each standing by the flag of their country. Each athlete was sworn in under the Olympic Oath. Students from kindergarten to grade six, all 438, participated. Age groups were mixed and combined into teams of 21, and teachers saw older students take on the role of a leader in their groups.

“It was just amazing to see the older kids looking after the younger kids,” said Kuijt.

Outside, students participated in competitions including Paralympic snow soccer, tug-of-war, snow sculpture creation, team ski plank walk, and more.

The temperature outside was unforgiving, but the students seemed not to notice as they went from station to station with smiles on their faces. Starting off hovering at zero degrees with rain, the temperature quickly dropped to approximately negative ten, with strong winds blowing in from the north.

These Olympic-themed activities also coincided with the current curriculum in the school.

“There’s just so much learning to be done through the Olympics,” said Kuijt.

“They (students) realized that either the Olympics, or life, presents its challenges. With dedication and teamwork, you can end up having really great lessons and great experiences together.”

This was the first year EIDES held Winter Olympics Day. When the idea was proposed to the school, many teachers enthusiastically jumped on board.

Recently retired EIDES Principal, Dawn Voysey, was a torchbearer in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and made a special visit to the school dressed in her Olympic uniform, holding her torch. This was a pleasant surprise for many of the students, as they were not aware of her participation in the Olympics.

Kuijt extended a big thank you to all the staff and parents who helped make this event possible.

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