Balancing athletics and academics can be tricky.
But more than 300 students seem to have found a winning formula thanks to the ideas and facilities at Edge School in Springbank.
“Every student here is a student-athlete and for the most part, virtually every athlete here is able to be seconds away from where they want to be,” said Bruce Randall, director of admissions for Edge School, which began in 1999 and fully opened its new campus in February of 2009.
“Our athletes will use other facilities too, like the golfers and soccer players, but at the same time they can use the gym and the training areas. There’s a whole host of things they can do. It’s about helping kids follow their dreams, without sacrificing athletics or academics for the other.”
The school boasts a number of world-class facilities including a big double gymnasium, a golf simulator, and a state-of-the-art fitness centre, where Hayley Wickenheiser and Craig Conroy were spotted during a recent tour.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to have everything under one roof,” Randall said.
There are twin ice arenas, which are both NHL-size at 200 feet by 85 feet, and also get used by Springbank Minor Hockey, Calgary Minor Hockey, the Calgary Adult Hockey League and community user groups during the evening hours.
“It helps connect us to the community, so they don’t see us just a private facility school,” Randall said. “It’s unbelievably fast ice, good and hard.”
The school has four hockey teams for Grades 6-12: a prep team, two Midget AA teams and a girls prep team, as half of the students are hockey players. Forty more of them are dancers, 25 golfers, 25 soccer players and a number of flex students, who compete in sports such as luge, tennis, and swimming, where travel forces them to be away from the campus for longer periods of time.
“They can do long distance learning,” Randall said. “If they are away for a week or a month at a time, we’ll provide them with a homework load ahead of time through an academic co-ordinator and our website.”
The recent Fraser Institute Report Card on High Schools had Edge ranked #18 in Alberta.
“It’s all about the development model, so the kids are on the ice, or other surfaces, three or four times a week and they’re training three or four times a week,” Randall said.
“But the beauty is that it coincides with the academic world. Other than the diploma exams, we can control our academic schedule. The kids are not missing tests and they’re not scrambling on a Monday morning, as they will have study hall on the road. And the kids are performing way better academically. Edge is just the right school for student athletes.”