Students with Purpose

June 9, 2023 - 3 minutes read

After only a short time in the role of Principal at Hollyburn Elementary, it became apparent how keen students are to play basketball and soccer – morning, noon and night.  From my office window I have a clear view of the sports court and the expansive grass field.  The court is rarely idle, and I just love the sound of healthy play.

As I arrived at school, I noticed a young teenager in the sports court working on his basketball skills almost daily.  We exchanged smiles and nods each morning.  What struck me was his discipline, determination, drive and his cool blue shoes.  He went through a series of drills and was working hard on improving various aspects of his game.  I really wanted to know more about him.

One day I motioned him over and told him he had fine form and an impressive shot. I learned that he lives nearby and gets to the court at 6:45am every morning.  He attends West Vancouver Secondary School and his goal is to make the school basketball team next year.  When I asked him what skills he is developing,  it wasn’t about shooting or dribbling.  He told me it was important to work hard without a crowd cheering you on.  I was struck by his humility and his insightful response.

The young basketball player reminded me of Noah, a grade 7 student at Hollyburn who I just learned is an outstanding ice hockey player.  I asked Noah about his hockey experiences.  He started playing around the age of three and has played every year since then.  His dad played hockey and his grandpa was a hockey coach.  Noah practices twice a day, every day.  When I asked him what skills he is developing, he responded that it is more about purpose.  “My coach says that playing hockey helps improve us as people.”   Noah added that it is important to be humble and kind.   What a mature response from a 13-year-old.

Superintendent Kennedy invited Scott Rintoul to speak at our district’s annual Athletic Coaches Appreciation BBQ.   He spoke about the important role coaches play in the lives of our youth and the impact they may have on their development, not just as athletes, but as human beings.  He shared how coaches give students value and belief in themselves. Photo credit: Matt Lawson

I thought of Noah and how his coach has shaped him.  I reflected on my sports court conversation with the young basketball player with the blue shoes.  We have some amazing youth in our community who have the uncanny ability to look inward and can articulate what really matters.  And it’s not about fame and glory.  It’s about being a better person.

Written by Judy Duncan