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Cascade Matters is the blog of Cascade Educational Consultants. Cascade has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. We are committed to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens. Learn more about us.

Cascade Educational Consultants is an educational consulting firm committed to high-quality equitable teaching, learning and serving environments for all students to succeed in school and in life. Click here to learn more about our services...




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Paralympic Experience

Image: Paralypic Experience
Last week I had the opportunity to go back to my Alma Mater the University of British Columbia and attend a Paralympics hockey game between the Czech Republic and Korea for fifth and seventh place in the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver Canada.

As a hockey fan I am always eager to attend any hockey game but was ill-prepared for the set of emotions I experienced at this particular game. Fortunately we had seats in the first row right along one of the goal lines and thus saw the action up close.
When the athletes came on the ice to warm up I was intrigued to see the sleds fitted around their bodies to support them on the ice; the sleds were balanced on a skate blade and each athlete was very capable of maneuvering around the ice. Each athlete had two hockey sticks, one end to move the puck the other end to move them along the ice.

Initially I felt very sad for the players and their condition, wondering what circumstances led to their participation

Once the game began, I quickly became aware of the players abilities and admired their capacity to work as a team to be successful; conversely the pace at which each player was able to get to the puck or to a particular area made for a slower game. But soon all these things feel to the side and I admired the courage, strength and athleticism of each team member.

The 6,000 fans in the stands cheered equally for each team and celebrated great plays and moaned near misses. It was great to be in an audience that genuinely manifested good sportsmanship while enjoying a very close game.

At the end of the third period the score was 1 to 1, and thus an overtime period was required to establish a winner. A few minutes into the overtime the Czech Republic team scored and thus won the game.

Immediately the two teams gathered around their goalie and celebrated their efforts, then just as quickly the two team joined together to hug one another and thank the fans. Adding to my sense of joy was that each of the three referees bowed down and shook hands with each participant.

This is one experience I will not forget and it reinforces my value that each individual has the ability to create their success and contribute to the success of others.

I believe this experience aligns with a commitment to create and sustain quality school climates for all students to be successful and contribute to others. It is not enough to create schools that are tolerant of people different from others; rather we need to focus on ensuring all students are accepted as capable, challenged to do their best and contribute their school and community. Otherwise we lose the opportunity to engage students with gifts and talents not always obvious or comfortable for us.

About the author: Terry Pickeral, president Cascade Educational Consultants has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. His commitment is to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens.


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