Feature Story                                                                                           Saturday, February 16, 2013


Beginning of the "End"

Bernard Elementary students learn to curl with Capital One's Ring and Rinks Program

Staff/Voice photos


Vice principal David Wellingham encourages a student trying out curling at the school last week.


ernard Elementary School rocks — literally! If you’re thinking rings and rinks then you’re thinking curling, and that’s what Bernard Elementary School vice principal David Wellingham wants his students to learn.

Last Tuesday, Wendi Prinse from Curling BC, spent the day in the Bernard school gym teaching several classes the fine art of curling.


Prinse tours schools throughout the Fraser Valley with the Coast Capital Rocks and Rings, a program developed to introduce the elementary school children to the sport of Olympic curling.


The 40-minute interactive demonstration covers basic curling strategies and gives future skips a chance to get a feel for the sport.


Part of the hands-on fun is learning how to score and block with wheeled training rocks that looked more like flying saucers than throwing stones. They also get to learn neat things like how polished granite curling rocks only come from quarries in Scotland.


As each class filed into the gym, they were were split into two teams. On one end Wellingham encouraged throwing style, while Prinse explained scoring and blocking techniques on the other.


Wellingham frequently engages the kids in sports like soccer, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics and track and field. He also runs a floor hockey team.


“The idea is to provide students with an opportunity to learn about a variety of different sports,” he told the Voice at the school last Tuesday.


He says they took grade 5 and 6's skiing in January, and the school plans to bring in someone to teach golfing in the spring.



“It helps them understand that physical activity is something that they need in their life, and there are many ways to get physically active and be involved in a sport that they enjoy.”


This is the third year the program has come to Bernard. Later he’ll be taking grade six students to the rink.


“It’s a chance to walk on real ice and really get a sense of how heavy the rock is and how to curl it and how much strength and coordination it takes,” he said.


To say Prinse loves curling is somewhat of an understatement. Aside from teaching the sport, she’s also a member and secretary of the Chilliwack Curling Club. Both of her own kids curl, but oddly enough, she doesn’t.


According to her, the club has a junior program with about 50 kids split into two age groups. “Little Rockers” start curling around 8-years-old and the second group is the 11 to 19-year-olds.


Prinse says her son Matthew has curled at a provincial level, and her daughter Stephany’s team placed 5th in the junior Women’s provincial finals, with the winners now training for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia.


“Now, they're both in the Mixed Playdowns coming up in the next few weeks,” she said.


Prinse is back at Bernard February 21st to finish teaching the rest of the classes and then at Tyson Elementary February 22nd.


See more photos below.


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