June 5, 2019 --
Students from Blackburn Elementary School gave cheers and spirit to the 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships when they were held in Prince George in February. This week, the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships gave back to the students.
On Tuesday, the Blackburn children – in the school's Grade 4-5 Leadership Program – were presented with thank-you stuffies. Each student received his or her own Fraser the Moose, the official mascot of the event.
The world championships took place Feb. 15-24 at Otway Nordic Centre and drew 120 athletes from around the globe. To make the visitors feel welcome one particular afternoon, the Blackburn students went to Otway with teacher/librarian Breanne Reinheimer and did their best to make some noise for the competitors. Each student (or a group of students) brought along a customized poster representative of a country that had athletes in attendance. And, posters in hand, they made their presence known to all.
"They were supporting several different countries," said Blackburn staff member Lise Hyam. "The idea was that these athletes had come from around the world without their cheering squads, so let's go cheer them on.
"The students were enthusiastic and involved."
In preparation for the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships, many of them worked on their posters for a few weeks.
For the Blackburn group, the championships humanized the concept of overcoming challenges and accomplishing goals. The students were witnesses to the fact that all participants at the event were able to perform at elite levels despite physical impairments.
When the students were handed their Fraser the Moose stuffies, they were asked to take the furry mascot with them on their own travels and to snap his picture in fun and interesting locations.
"They've been encouraged to take their moose with them and show him the world," Hyam said.