Congratulations to East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy students, Charlie Ashawasegai (Grade 9) and Haley Paul (Grade 12), who completed their first Half Marathon in the Cayman Islands on December 2, 2018!! This event is an incredible opportunity where First Nation students from the East Coast come together with Indigenous youth from across Canada including Nunavik, Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec, as students, athletes, roles models and as philanthropists.
Since July 2018, Linda Peters, Physical Activity Leadership Coordinator with the Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation has been working in collaboration with Maggie MacDonnell, the 2017 Global Teacher Prize recipient, to encourage Paqtnkek youth to attend the Cayman Islands Half Marathon. Ms. MacDonnell has done extensive work with Indigenous communities up North, in building capacity and leadership development through sports and recreation. Upon implementing run programs in the North, Ms. MacDonnell and her students saw improvements in student's physical health, mental well-being, and increased school engagement and resilience. As a former graduate of East Antigonish school, Ms. MacDonnell wanted to give back to her community and give students the opportunity to dream big. She generously agreed to sponsor Haley’s attendance and local business owner, Joe Jellow, Petro-Canada in Monastery, graciously offered to sponsor Charlie’s participation.
Since August of this year, Charlie and Haley have been dedicated to training four to five times a week both at the school and in the community and have been involved with event fundraising. They followed a half marathon-training schedule and completed workouts at the Paqtnkek Fitness Centre. As neither Charlie nor Haley were runners before this time, it is impressive to say the least to see their progress in such a short period of time and the success they achieved!
In addition, the students’ participation has been supported by the school administration, staff and school community. In particular, special thanks also goes out to Marsha Purcell, Grades 7 to 12 teacher at East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy who not only trained with Charlie and Haley but also ran in the marathon. All three of our athletes placed in the top third out of 900 runners!!
East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy and the Strait Regional Centre for Education are so very proud of Charlie and Haley’s commitment to the marathon, their exceptional efforts and hard work, and extends sincere congratulations to them on this very impressive achievement. This educational opportunity and experience will remain with them forever. We look forward to seeing what’s next for these two student leaders!
Picture below are Charlie and Haley at the start line of their very first Half Marathon in the Cayman Islands!