Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay has been awarded the title of “Most Outstanding School” in the province by B.C. School Sports (BCSS).
On May 29, vice principal and athletics director Christine Cunningham confirmed the secondary school had won the award for the 2019-2020 academic year.
According to the BCSS website, the award recognizes the commitment of a school to improve the lives of students and staff through athletics. Winning schools are presented with a gold and royal blue banner, and the names of winning schools are also added to a large plaque on display at the BCSS office in Burnaby.
Cunningham told the Observer she did not know when the school would receive its banner, considering the award process may be different this year due to COVID-19, but the win was good news for students, who have been shut out of schools since March as part of the ongoing pandemic response.
She said the school has been building an outstanding athletics program for seven or eight years now, supported by committed coaches and a high rate of participation on the part of students.
For example, the school has been focusing on cross-training, encouraging athletes involved in sports such as basketball to run cross-country during their off-season.
Cunningham said their efforts have been translating into zone championship wins in recent years.
“Recently we have won the zone championship for wrestling, for junior boys basketball and senior boys basketball,” she said, adding that Old Massett’s Devan Boyko was chosen as a BC High School Boys Basketball Association 1A second team All-Star, and will be playing for Vancouver Island University when school is back in session.
“The kids are just absolutely committed.”
Cunningham also emphasized that local student athletes travel significant distances to play fewer games than other schools in the province.
“That just shows how committed our athletes are to practice,” she said.
The school that won the BCSS “Most Outstanding School” for the 2018-2019 academic year was Nakusp Secondary, which is part of School District 10 Arrow Lakes.
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