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A Community Ice Rink for Sarnia Christian School

Written on February 24th, 2015

Sarnia Christian School Students

Construction on a public outdoor skating rink at Sarnia Christian School (SCS) is now underway, thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Awesome Foundation, and some dedicated students in Nicole Rekman’s grade 4/5 class. The finished public rink will come complete with boards, floodlights and benches.

You could say that the whole idea began with a few splashes of cold water on grass.

“Some kids in our class were bringing water bottles outside and and pouring it on the grass to make little ice rinks to have fun,” explained Quintin Bouma, a student in Rekman’s class.

When Rekman heard about the slippery patches of ice appearing on the SCS property, a light bulb went on.

“I made the suggestion of how great it would be if we could actually skate during recess, and of course they agreed!” she said. “I suggested we write a letter to our principal after taking the afternoon to brainstorm and research what it would take.”

Impressed by the proposal that the students eventually came up with, SCS Principal, Len Smit, advised the class to apply to the Awesome Foundation for a grant.

The Awesome Foundation describes itself as “a worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe”. The international organization distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants to projects and their creators. Projects have included efforts in a wide range of areas including art installations, technology, social good, and more.  All of them have one thing in common: they were selected based on a convincing and well crafted pitch.

So, students in Rekman’s class worked together and made use of the different talents in their class to create a playful and persuasive ice rink proposal.

“One group who felt their gift was acting decided to write a skit to introduce the pitch,” said Rekman. “We have been talking a lot in writing this year about how important it is to have a good ‘hook’ at the beginning.”

Another student with a flair for writing took the initiative to write out a script for everyone, and a group with artistic gifts began designing a poster for the proposal. Other students wrote a paragraph outlining how the community would benefit from the rink. Meanwhile, the technologically inclined members of the class researched the cost of materials online.

“Within those groups, many students had opportunities to take leadership,” said Rekman. “What I loved the most about this project was seeing how much the students were engaged and realizing that they could accomplish this! It was also great to see them constructively critique their classmates to make the pitch the best it could be. They really learned a lot about self reflection.”

Naturally, the class was delighted when they found out that their pitch had earned them a $1000.00 grant from the Sarnia chapter of The Awesome Foundation.

Once the rink is ready for the public, the students will be involved in tasks like shoveling, moving sprinklers, and taking care of the space.

Snow has now been cleared on a large area of the SCS property, so that flooding can start this week. Rekman noted that a few parents have offered to help get the rink “off the ground” and maintain it. According to Quintin, “volunteer parents and a whole bunch of other people are helping out”.

For now, the school can rely on snowbanks to serve as edges and use the ice as a base. Some of the rink’s features, like boards, won’t be installed until next winter. Rekman likes that the project comes with an exciting set of long term goals for the class to anticipate. “It helps students take pride in their work,” she said. “They can be excited about seeing a project all the way through!”

Eventually, the outdoor rink will be lit up and open to the community during evenings and weekends. The fact that the surrounding neighbourhood can take advantage of the ice is important to Rekman and to the students who helped make the rink a reality. The space, which will measure 60-by-100-feet, is “a good way for members of the school to meet new people,” said Quintin.

Did you know that Sarnia Christian’s School’s ice rink is making local news headlines?

To read an article The Sarnia Journal, click here.
To read an article in The Observer, click here.