The Gleaner
Education

Volunteers from across the community make Valley track-and-field event a success

It was a picture-perfect day. The sun was out, the humidity was low, and the temperature was a balmy 26 degrees Celsius as approximately 350 students from six elementary schools across the Valley assembled their tents on the newly trimmed grass of the Ormstown soccer field, which is located behind the Ormstown recreation centre.

Volunteer David Brisebois looked out over the scene and recalled track and field events from years past. “Before 1967, the six Valley high schools competed for the prestigious awards each spring. In 1967 the high schools all moved to form a regional high school, CVR [Chateauguay Valley Regional], in Ormstown,” he said.

After that move, the buildings that were previously housing those high schools became elementary schools. That’s when the track-and-field event became an elementary school event, involving students from Grades 4, 5, and 6. Students from the six elementary schools (Howick, Ormstown, Hemmingford, Heritage, Gault, and Franklin) participate in nine different events: the 80-metre run, 150-metre run, 600-metre run, high jump, long jump, softball throw, turbo-javelin, shotput, and the relay race.

Preparation for the event starts a month in advance. The field is booked, and school coaches start preparing their students for the nine sports. There is a lot to organize “getting volunteers and the paperwork ready,” said Chad Campbell, a physical education teacher at Ormstown Elementary.

There was excited chatter over the field as students got ready for their chosen events. “The camaraderie amongst the students, as they compete, is remarkable. To see the Grade 6 students mixing in a relaxed outdoor activity builds bonds that carry over to their next year at CVR, when they will compete on the same team,” observed Brisebois.

 

David Brisebois looked on as the girls relay race began The excitement of the relay races puts an end to a great day of competition he said PHOTOS Yvonne Lewis Langlois

 

“I find fun now in watching the children of students I taught, building the next generation of athletes,” he added.

Brisebois recalled his involvement over the past years. He joined the school board in 1976 and coached Franklin until 1990. When he moved to CVR, he coached track and field there. “Once I became an administrator, I became more involved with the organizational part of the Valley sports program. I have been a part of every event since 1976.” He is proud to remember the names of many of the volunteers that he has worked with over the years. “Fraser Matheson, Bill White, Carl Glenn, Roland Greenbank, Tony Evans, Gerry Carrigan, Brian and Norm Woods, Cathy Dunn, Faye Craig, and others paved the way to keep track and field a successful end-to-the-school-year event.”

Across the field stood volunteer Gerry Carrigan, clipboard in hand, and in the announcement booth Cathy Dunn called out the day’s winners. Both are retired employees of the New Frontiers School Board. “I can always count on them,” said Chad Campbell. Along with the old stood the new. This year’s coaches were Michelle Blair, Kacie Sproule, Crystal McCormick, Chad Campbell, Kent Erskine, and Daniel-James Anderson. “These people are charged with keeping this longstanding event going for many years to come,” stated Brisebois.

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