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A Joyful Return to School Sports

There have been many smiles on the faces of student athletes in Burnaby with school sports back on.

Athletic directors at the high schools and district staff collaborated to ensure that health and safety remained at the forefront – all while getting students back to what they love.

Jennifer Oatway is the Athletic Director at Burnaby North Secondary and coach of the Senior Girls Basketball Team. She’s also President of the Burnaby New Westminster Schools Athletic Association. Ms. Oatway says seeing community and staff come together to make sure students are offered as many sports teams as possible has been heartwarming.

It takes such a massive team to run the athletic program from the athletic directors, the administration, staff coaches, our community coaches, to our student leaders. And to have everybody working so hard together to restart this – collaborating across the District about what’s working in your school, how we can all help each other and get as many kids back being a part of their school program – has been pretty incredible.”

Speaking from outside her school’s gymnasium after helping to set up a four o’clock volleyball game, she apologizes for the noise and squeals of laughter in the background.

There’s nothing like the excitement of two courts side by side of Grade 8 girls. It’s their first high school sport experience. It’s awesome. Some of our kids, like our Grade 9s, have never played high school sport, so that’s pretty incredible even to think that their whole Grade 8 year they didn’t know what this was about. They didn’t know what it was like to be a part of this culture.”

Oatway says the return of what, before the pandemic, she “didn’t realize could ever be taken away” has had a positive impact on the school community with the friendships and school spirit that come with being part of and supporting sports.

High school competitions for the fall season are underway in sports such as volleyball, rugby, field hockey, soccer and cross country running. Across the three seasons of play, as many as 19 different sports are offered to student-athletes in Grades 8 -12.

You can see some of the excitement in the photos below.


Posted October 2021