North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
May 04
Blueridge school following in Fox's footsteps

By Maria Spitale-Leisk, NVSD Communications


Blueridge Elementary teachers are walking the talk when it comes to physical literacy in this era of remote learning.

Their challenge is a win-win-win: students keep active, stay connected to their classmates – all while honouring Terry Fox’s legacy during what is the 40th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope.

Team Blueridge started at the edge of the North Atlantic – just like Fox in April, 1980 – on a mission to complete the cross-country trek.

But instead of pointing their sneakers toward Highway 1, these virtual marathoners are sticking close to home.

The physical literacy champs are logging kilometres by foot, bike, scooter, wheelchair, etc., and tracking their progress through mapping apps.

Many students are exploring hiking and mountain-biking trails in the neighbourhood to get their kilometres in. 

Three Grade 6/7 classes are taking part in the challenge, underway since April 27 and led by Blueridge teachers Bridget O'Brien-Kopacek, Andrie Levey-Bates, Menina Colangelo and Stephanie Reynolds a.k.a., the 6/7 Dream Team.

“It's been awesome!” reports Bridget O'Brien-Kopacek, who is also Blueridge’s vice-principal.

“We have kids hiking, biking, running and wheeling. We have the four of us grade 6/7 teachers, our Learning Services Teacher Vicki Gilbert and Principal Susan Teegen adding kms on the daily.”

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Blueridge teacher and vice-principal Bridget O'Brien-Kopacek. 


Students’ families are encouraged to join in and contribute kilometres to this challenge, designed to foster a sense of togetherness during these challenging times.

The response has been truly overwhelming, reports Ms. Reynolds

“The students have connected this initiative into their weekly writings, and it is wonderful to see how they are not only getting much-needed fresh air and movement, but are also enjoying completing their daily kilometres with their families.”

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Blueridge Grade 6/7 teacher Stephanie Reynolds.

There is even a math exercise woven into the virtual marathon, involving students converting step data from a Fitbit into kilometres.

Moving forward, the teachers hope to make the challenge more interdisciplinary, by taking virtual field trips of the cities they are 'passing through' that day.

Team Blueridge is aiming to make it all the way to Tofino to finish Fox’s journey.

But more importantly, this challenge is about walking in Fox’s footsteps for the greater good of society.

“Our hope is to build connections and community spirit by encouraging and taking care of each other however we can during these tough times,” says Ms. O'Brien-Kopacek.


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