FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Canadian Olympic Bobsledder Alysia Rissling was at Bert Ambrose Thursday evening to take pictures with and sign autographs for students who completed the Classroom Champions program.
Classroom Champions is a program that pairs teachers with Canadian and U.S. Olympians, as well as Paralympians who use video lessons and live video chats to engage students and encourage them to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big.
The program was able to get Rissling to come to Fort St. John thanks to Progress Energy, who was the main partner with the school.
“I think it is fantastic, Classroom Champions is a great program, we are honored to be apart of it,” said Progress Energy External Affairs Vice President Liz Hannah. “We feel strongly about giving back to the community and Classroom Champions does that in Spades.”
Classroom Champions was created six years ago and since then have mentored over 24,000 children. The program’s Director of Operations Geoff Couldrey explained that the program is all about finding a mentor for the children, and giving the athletes a chance to give back to the community.
“It’s never hard to run, its such a great program, whether you’re a teacher, a student, or an athlete, its a win for everybody. Some of the athletes say its the best thing they do in their entire career.”
Over 350 people were at the celebration on Thursday evening, which was much more than Rissling expected.
“This is so above and beyond… I was expecting to have a more personal interaction, but the fact that we have everyone out here is pretty incredible.”
Rissling will visit four classrooms at Bert Ambrose on Friday to talk to students about her Olympic career and her time with the program.