Celebrating student and staff successes
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools wants to help encourage our school communities to live a healthy life. If you or someone you know has been inspired to make positive changes to your every day health and wellness, we want to know! Email our Health and Wellness Coordinator or talk to your school's Health Champion about your (or your friend or coworker's) successes. A healthy lifestyle is better attained when we work together to encourage positive changes, so let's do what we can to help each other.
This month's Health and Wellness Success Story features a student from St. Martin de Porres School. In recognition of Mental Health month, Elena Carritt started out making stress balls to give to her friends, but after doing more research about mental health, she decided that she wanted to do more for the school community.
In the words of her Assistant-Principal, Kristie McCullough, "she has visited over 15 businesses and received donations to support her mental health project. She created a slideshow that was shared at our assembly, where she discussed mental health with the student body. This is an awe-inspiring story of a little girl who has been not only motivated but has decided to take it upon herself to share her learning and passion for the betterment of students in our school community."
Raquel Hicks and Katie Murphy
This month's Health and Wellness Success Story features Katie Murphy and Raquel Hicks from St. Teresa of Avila School. Over the past couple of years, the two of them have developed a love for running and have taken it to the next level.
In the words of Katie, "I started running about four years ago after beginning an overall lifestyle change. Running was a new challenge for me and one that I never thought I could do. I started training for my first race, a 5 km. I found that despite how tough it was, I enjoyed the meditative nature of running and spending so much time outside. That first race led to a 10 km, my first half marathon, a couple more 10 km races and then this second half marathon. Though my goal is always just to finish, I have found that with each race I am getting stronger and faster! Running, along with other new habits including weekly meal prepping and daily food journaling, was very transformative for me and contributed to my losing over 70 lbs in the past four years."
In the words of Raquel, "running has always been a passion of mine. Since I was a young child, I always wanted to do triathlons and marathons. Around September of 2018, I started enjoying running again because I didn't put any pressure on myself about running a fast time. I just wanted to be doing what I loved, focused more on worshiping God and enjoying His creation. While doing this my passion for running came back. With God's help, I learned a lot about myself in the last two years and have become a stronger person through this experience. This January, I decided to go for another dream of mine, running a half marathon. The only goal I made was to run the whole time, with no walking. It was an incredible feeling crossing the finish line and proving to myself that I can recover from burnout. I am thankful to be feeling happy and healthy again."
This month's Health and Wellness Success Story features the staff at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Catholic School.
In Mrs. Zuk-Dach's words: "staff enjoyed our pound session with Char last year and we all needed a convenient way to try to 'get fit' in our own personal way. Lucky for us we found a local instructor that could come in right after school to accommodate most staff. POUND is great because you can work as hard as you are able to with adaptations."
Over the eight weeks, staff had the opportunity to participate in POUND and Zumba in the Learning Commons.
This month's Health and Wellness Success Story features Lori-Ann Dunbar of École Camille J. Lerouge School. Lori discusses how she developed a love for Pound class and leading others:
After avoiding exercise and sports for my entire life, I happened to try out one evening class of Pound and it forever changed my life!! I laughed, I got sweaty, and I discovered muscles and strength that I never felt before!
During each song, I kept telling myself that the song would only be 2-4 minutes so that whatever discomfort I was feeling, I knew it couldn’t last forever. Focussing on hitting the Pound ripstix together with the class kept me from realizing that I had been lunging and squatting until the next day when it was hard to sit or climb stairs.
After a year or so of weekly classes, I nervously went for training to become an instructor in August 2018 where I met a variety of women and men that loved the experience, too; however, I felt totally out of my league! The afternoon brought a breakthrough moment where I seriously doubted my abilities then caught hold of the truth of who I am without the lies I had been believing. The movements were so adaptable that any age, any stage, any ability could readily participate just by keeping the beat!
Once my colleagues learned of my training, they invited me to lead them Thursdays after school. They are the most dedicated, forgiving students that have continued to cheer me on. I am grateful for their enthusiasm to meet me week after week. An extra special thank you goes to Sarah Corbière for recognizing opportunities and allowing me to be a part of them. In November 2018, I just knew I wanted more training so that I could teach "Generation X Pound" for children ages six to twelve. At this training, I met the division's Health and Wellness Coordinator, Char Andrew in person and learned that RDCRS has Pound ripstix to accommodate 75 participants!!
My most rewarding bigger groups have been a Family POUND night at Camille with 50 drummers from strollers to grandparents, as well as another opportunity to lead Grade 9 students. There’s just something incredibly special about making noise together with the same beat. We have time to rock out, not just workout!! One can’t help but smile and feel great joy while drumming together! And the journey has only begun!
This month’s Health and Wellness Success Story features Dave Martin, math/science lead teacher. Over the last year, staff members have noticed a significant increase in his health, fitness routine and overall wellbeing. When asked what his secret is, Dave replied, “zombies.”
In his words, “About a year ago, I wanted to increase my fitness and I first tried running. Several moments into my first run I quickly realized there simply wasn't any joy in running for me. That is when I came across some apps involving both zombies and fitness, and my life changed instantly! The apps I use are similar to Pokemon GO, but replace cute cuddly balls of fur with decaying flesh that is trying to hunt you down for your delicious brain! These apps gave me purpose!
I found myself taking the dog for a walk lasting hours, while at the same time protecting my neighbours from virtual zombie infestations.
This gamification of fitness was the exact catalyst I needed to find purpose in daily cardiovascular activities. I found myself feeling glad to walk the dog, go for a bike ride with the family, or walk with my lovely wife, all due to the fact I was levelling up in a virtual world, increasing the power of my weapons, and ultimately making my neighbourhood zombie-free.
While there are multiple problems with technology in our modern world, one blessing technology has given me is the drive and motivation to keep my legs moving faster and faster, always preparing for the next zombie horde that could be awaiting me around the corner! The apps I love and use are "Zombie Run" and "The Walking Dead; Our World."
Our success story for December is the group of awesome staff who met each Tuesday after work (October to December) for a circuit training class at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School with our Health and Wellness Instructor, Char Andrew.
Mrs. Andrew said the staff "are hard working and highly entertaining! The great thing about this group is that they come from different abilities and strengths but work hard each time. We modify the exercises if we need to but they aren’t afraid of being challenged. I look forward to working with this group each week!"
Five teachers recently competed in Melissa’s Road Race in Banff. One participated in the 5km race, three ran the 10km race and one ran a half marathon with all five logging personal best times.
The five spent weeks training for the race and supporting one another along the way. Whether it was a text to congratulate someone on her 9 p.m. run after her kids were finally in bed, a note of motivation to get out there and get on the trails or a message of truth, sharing a photo of ice packs, heating pads and foam rollers after a long run, they were pushing each other forward.
The weather was brutal for them this year. They were scattered at the start line and lost each other but reunited at the end when Radean Lynch crossed the finish after her inspiring half marathon. It was an emotional race with tears and laughter, and each participant left with overwhelming feelings of accomplishment and pride. All five are already registered for next year’s race with new goals in mind! Teachers who run together, stay together!
Photo, L-R: Janelle Melenchuk (St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School), Radean Lynch (St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School), Amber Lansing (St. Francis of Assisi Middle School), Aarin Huseby (St. Teresa of Avila School), Charmaine Babey (St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School)
Louise Reeve, Val Norman-Organ, Miranda Wall and Joe Faught all have one thing in common besides working at Holy Trinity Catholic School. The foursome joined a community recreational volleyball league and play every Monday night in Olds. They agree that volleyball has become a great way to interact together outside of work hours, have some fun, get exercise, and balance out their busy schedules. Volleyball brings about a lighthearted way to strengthen their relationships. Congratulations on your dedication!
Lada Isaacs, Amber Lansing and Micaela Wasylik, West Coast Trail
This month's success story features, not just one, but three of our staff Lada Isaacs, Amber Lansing and Micaela Wasylik, who completed the 75km West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island this summer. They started the hike on August 11 and completed the trail in five days. In their words:
"Throughout the hike, we were challenged both physically and mentally. The varying difficult terrain tested us in many ways. We also were fortunate enough to see a variety of animals, such as orca whales, sea lions, seals, fish, crabs, starfish, bald eagles, snakes and huge slugs. We feel incredibly fortunate to have this experience together. Not only do we love teaching together at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School, but we love traveling and hiking together. We managed to survive the trip with no broken bones and our friendship intact! We are very proud of what we have accomplished, especially considering the difficulty of the terrain and weather."