Learning about Russia, Olympics
Students at Spring Street Academy in Amherst are getting into the Olympic spirit.
AMHERST – Let the games begin.
With the 2014 Winter Olympics set to begin this weekend in Russia, students and staff at Spring Street Academy got into the Olympic spirit here Monday with their own official opening to a week long of activities to celebrate the Winter Olympiad.
“We’re trying to build the Olympic spirit and national pride within the school and we’re also trying to teach the students about culture,” Spring Street Academy principal Aaron Stubbert said following the ceremony. “Everything is tied into the curriculum and academic success. It’s about merging the two of them so the students have a positive experience and learn at the same time.”
During the official opening, students participated in a parade of classes with each class led by a flag bearer and students showing examples of some of the events in the Winter Games.
The national anthems of Canada and Russia were played and Dr. Victor Freeman from the University of Moncton spoke to the students in Russian.
“We wanted to bring the spirit of the Olympics to the kids,” teacher Daren White said. “The kids are doing so many sports in the gymnasium that we wanted to do something to coincide with the Olympics.”
Members of the Grade 5 and 6 classes performed several Olympic-themed dance routines with a Russian flavour, while members of the Atlantic Dance Academy performed a Russian dance as part of the finale before the Olympic torch entered the gymnasium and the cauldron was lit.
White said the students will learn about Russia and Russian culture and participate in a variety of events including cross-county skiing, skating and snowshoeing. There will also be Russian doll making and cooking.
“It’s all kid driven. They made all the flags and planned all the dances,” he said. “It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the Olympic spirit.”
White said the students are making medals that they will exchange during the closing ceremonies on Friday afternoon.
Stubbert thanked the Town of Amherst for helping the school by providing icetime for the students at the stadium each afternoon this week.
He said teachers also received materials from Team Canada that they can use to teach students about the Winter Olympics.
“It pairs up nicely with our virtues projects where we talk about respect, responsibility and excellence. That goes along with the Olympic model. It’s a natural fit,” Stubbert said. “We hope each of the students gets a greater understanding of culture, sport, activity being physically fit and using your mind and body.”
A highlight of the morning was a conversation via Skype with 2006 Olympic curling gold medallist Jamie Korab from Harbour Grace, N.L. Korab, a member of the Brad Gushe-winning team from Torino, Italy, spoke to the students about his Olympic experience.
“I started curling when I was 11 and I started right away to dream about going to the Olympics,” Korab said. “It was hard work, dedication, listening to my teachers and eating healty that helped get me there. We trained hard every day. We went to the gym, went running, worked with a nutritionist and dedicated ourselves to the sport,” he said. “It’ doesn’t have to be curling. If you show dedication and work hard you’ll be good at whatever you do in sports, the arts and academics.”