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If the sponsors of an innovative Surrey School District program needed proof they were making a difference in the lives of at-risk students, they got it during a wrap-up event for Sticks and Stars.
Sticks and Stars is a new, out-of-school intervention and prevention program designed to physically and mentally challenge at-risk and vulnerable boys in grades 4 to 6, some of whom are already demonstrating a progressive interest in the gang lifestyle.
“These were some of the best field trips we've been on,” said Satnam Cheema, a Grade 5 student at Cougar Creek Elementary.
Sponsors include Chevron, TELUS, the Canada Space Agency and the Surrey Foundation. Partners who assist in the operation of Sticks and Stars include HR MacMillan Space Centre, SFU, High Touch, High Tech, the Pacific Titans Hockey, Gearbots and Byte Camp.
W.E. Kinvig Elementary student Austin Latzel took part in the hockey programming offered by Pacific Titans and he said it made him feel like he was part of something special.
“I want to some day inspire kids like they inspired me,” said Austin.Sticks and Stars started at Cougar Creek Elementary, where vice-principal Gregory Hopps volunteered countless weekend hours throughout the 2010-2011 school year to instill leadership qualities in Grade 5 boys by teaching them fun sports and team-building skills in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment.
After seeing success in the weekend leadership program, Hopps sought support from the Community-Schools Partnership and Business Development departments of the Surrey School District to build on the program format and that led to its growth in 2012.
Sticks and Stars was piloted at Cougar Creek and W.E. Kinvig elementaries last year with 40 students taking part in after-school and weekend activities.“Sticks and Stars is a program we’re very proud of and we know it’s making a difference,” said assistant superintendent Pat Horstead.