By Samantha Johnson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
This year marks the highest enrolment in speciality programs in Prairie Rose Public Schools (PRPS) history. Overall, close to 10 per cent of all students in PRPS are taking part in one of the various academies available.
Two new programs have been started in the South Alberta Hockey Academy (SAHA) High Performance at Margaret Wooding School in Redcliff and Seven Persons School. There are 76 new students in the program, 22 who are from outside PRPS and one international student from France. This program is now at record levels, with a total of 176 students taking part. More information can be found at https://hockeyacademy.myprps.com/.
SAHA U17 males is a new team and has 22 students enrolled with two international students, one from Alaska and the other from Australia. There are 19 students in the U18 males with one international student from Colorado and 22 students in the U19 female team.
Boyd Craven, assistant superintendent at PRPS said, “one thing about all the academies we offer is there is a big process to them and it’s lots of work. As you do them you get better at it. As of right now, the U17 team, there was a fit there that was there for us and we were able to make that one happen.”
The Flight Academy (https://www.myprps.com/dr-flight-academy) is seeing record numbers this year as well, with 32 students enrolled, 19 in grade 10 with one from Nova Scotia, 13 in grade 11 and four in grade 12.
The new Fire Academy (https://www.myprps.com/south-alberta-fire-rescue-academy) has a total of 17 students, 10 in the program at Eagle Butte High School and seven at Senator Gershaw in Bow Island.
While there are more students in the Eagle Butte Fire Academy compared to Bow Island, “from a percentage standpoint, the seven we have in Bow Island, the high school there is only about 80 kids, so percentage wise it’s really good,” explained Craven. “For Eagle Butte Fire, classes of 12 is what we wanted to have for the first year. We didn’t want to get super big in that sense because of the fire hall and the schedule. It worked out pretty good with the number we have this year. It’s roughly about the same as what Flight started off with in its first year.”
The Foremost Rodeo Academy (https://www.myprps.com/foremost-rodeo-academy) has also been attracting students from outside PRPS and currently has nine students enrolled.
Badlands Baseball Academy at South Central High School in Oyen has 19 students this year. Eight are from Alberta, two from Saskatchewan, one from Ontario, two from New Brunswick and six from Nova Scotia.
Historically, the Baseball Academy has always had lots of out of province students, which has a billet system set up for them.
“It’s like anything,” said Craven, ‘if the community or school has a champion that gets behind these programs you get established, but you have to keep working at it.”
In addition to a ballpark, the Academy has an indoor training facility. More information can be found at https://baseballacademy.myprps.com/.
“I think it’s an exciting time for us and we’ve tapped into the interests across, not just sports, but careers and learning that students have found really interesting,” concluded Craven. “It’s exciting to work with the community and build those programs. The numbers in each of the academies shows that’s where student and society interest is and partnerships are big with PRPS.”