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High school athletes take on Highland Challenge in Lawrencetown


LAWRENCETOWN - Anthony Daniels can throw a tree. Literally.

The Lawrencetown Education Centre student proved that he has what it takes to compete in an arduous and elite sport few have tried – Scottish heavy athletics. Highland games. He came out on top in an afternoon of competition that capped a day of students putting into practice some of the things they learned in Gaelic Studies 11.

“Heavy events, they’re so far off the beaten path in relation to traditional sporting events it’s fun to see the students go through a clinic and get that knowledge and then turn around and put it together in a friendly competition in the afternoon,” said LEC principal Jamie Peppard. “And feel good about themselves.”

Wednesday, May 11 was the Lawrencetown school’s Highland Challenge that drew athletes from Middleton Regional High School and West Kings High School -- along with the LEC kids.

Middleton student Natacha Rowsell can throw a 12-pound, four-foot hammer more than 40 feet. Who knew? And LEC’s Leanne Wilkins can toss a 28-pound weight almost 11 feet in the air.

The Lawrencetown Education Centre student proved that he has what it takes to compete in an arduous and elite sport few have tried – Scottish heavy athletics. Highland games. He came out on top in an afternoon of competition that capped a day of students putting into practice some of the things they learned in Gaelic Studies 11.

“Heavy events, they’re so far off the beaten path in relation to traditional sporting events it’s fun to see the students go through a clinic and get that knowledge and then turn around and put it together in a friendly competition in the afternoon,” said LEC principal Jamie Peppard. “And feel good about themselves.”

Wednesday, May 11 was the Lawrencetown school’s Highland Challenge that drew athletes from Middleton Regional High School and West Kings High School -- along with the LEC kids.

Middleton student Natacha Rowsell can throw a 12-pound, four-foot hammer more than 40 feet. Who knew? And LEC’s Leanne Wilkins can toss a 28-pound weight almost 11 feet in the air.

Confidence

“I know with our students, very few of them have ever played team sports,” said Peppard. “And we know that playing sports can lend a lot to self-esteem and confidence. So when you can get them out and experiment with very little pressure in a non-traditional event like this and watch them improve their skills, you can see the confidence come up.”

And from years of watching it happen, Peppard can attest that the confidence gained on the field can carry over to the classroom.

Danny Frame, a Canadian champion in Scottish sports, conducted that two-hour clinic with the kids in the morning. He teaches at LEC and agrees with Peppard.

“The camaraderie was phenomenal – people were trying to do the best they could but cheering on others,” said Frame who also judged events in the afternoon.  “It seemed with every round of positive re-enforcement from the other athletes and the adults involved on the field that you could just see the confidence of athletes rise up.”

Lawrencetown Education Centre principal Jamie Peppard did the play-by-play at the LEC Highland Challenge May 11 at the school. Students from Middleton and West Kings also took part.

Frame knows how it works. He’s competed around the world.

He said some of the students were anxious but went out and realized they could do it and that there were people believing in them.

“You could just see it go full circle of more confidence equals better throws, better throws equals more confidence,” said Frame. He said the goal is to make the youngsters better individuals athletically -- but also academically and socially.

 

Improve

Bailey George of MRHS amazed organizers as she continued to compete with an injured shoulder while improving her technique and distances as the afternoon wore on.

Frame described students like her and Rowsell, and LEC’s Leanne Wilkins and Jasmine Brushett as role models for the younger girls who had come over from Lawrencetown Consolidated School to watch the challenge.

Top five about Highland Challenge

  1. The caber toss (a15-foot spruce tree weighing about 55 pounds)
  2.  The Braemar stone (males throw 22 pounds and females throw 16 pounds)
  3.  The hammer throw (males throw 16 pounds and females throw 12 pounds)
  4.  The weight-for-distance throw (males throw 28 pounds, and females throw 14 pounds)
  5.  The weight-for-height throw (males throw 42 pounds, and females throw 28 pounds)

Peppard, who made the announcements and did the play-by-play, was impressed at how the kids improved.

“They go through that clinic in the morning and they pick up the basics, and once they’ve got an interest in it then they want to fine tune it – ‘how can I make this throw better?’ ‘How can I make it look more like your throw?’ It’s part of the mentoring, in and out of the classroom for Danny.”

And it’s about engagement.

“That’s the object of it – if you engage them in a particular goal, whether it’s academic based or not, and they’re engaged, they can project-solve and come up with methodology to make it happen,” said Peppard. “And the big thing about it is they are very proud to bring students from other schools for events, like snowshoe challenge and this type of event, and they feel that they do a quality show and I think with very little interference with the teachers, they pulled it off. We didn’t have to step in and do a lot except play on the microphone and the kids did the rest.”

In the end, it was about having fun and learning.

“It’s always great to put on events like this linked to curriculum and just learning new things about the heritage of something that a lot of people in the province have in common – which is the path from Scotland.”

The school also accomplished something else.

“They all had haggis today -- so they can all go home and say that,” said Peppard.

Bailey George was among Middleton Regional High School students who took part in the Lawrencetown Education Centre Highland Challenge May 11 in Lawrencetown. They competed in a number of the Scottish heavy sports including caber toss, Braemar, hammer throw, throw-for-distance, and throw-for-height.

Fast Facts

  • Dave Ross teaches Gaelic Studies 11 at Lawrencetown Education Centre
  • Students researched Scottish culture and picked out events, food, and music for the day
  • Students research Scottish attire and even wore kilts during the competition
  • Trish Bruce cooked the food that the students researched – including haggis
Along with teachers Danny Frame, Dave Ross, and Jamie Peppard, students from Lawrencetown Education Centre, Middleton Regional High School, and West Kings District High School hold up the caber at the end of a long afternoon at the LEC Highland Challenge Wednesday, May 11. Students were Kendall Kerr, Jasmine Brushett, Leanne Wilkins, Donavon Crouse, and Anthony Daniels from LEC; Devan MacDonald and Joe Ciarrocco from West Kings; and Derek Smith, Connor McCabe, Bailey George, and Natacha Rowsell from MRHS.

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