By Mary Moffat
Olympic Skeleton Racer, Jane Channell, knows what it means to dream big. Watching the skeleton crew in the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 with her grandfather, he told her “They’re crazy!”, and she knew she had to try it. After 8 seasons, she made it to the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, where she placed 10th. Jane is sponsored by Crescent Point, who also sponsors Classroom Champions.
March 28 was a very special day for Mrs. Kyle and Miss Picard’s Grade 2 students, as they finally got to meet Jane in person. Each month their classroom would receive a video with topics related to goal setting, community, diversity, perseverance, healthy living and how it related to the Olympian. The students would then post pictures and a blurb of what they were doing and send it back to Jane. Each year the teachers apply to be a part of the Classroom Champions and this year Carlyle, Manor, Carievale, Wapella and Estevan schools were chosen to take part.
The Students were enthralled to see and touch Janes helmet, which weighs less than 500 grams. She has 2, one with a dragon, to honour her Japanese heritage. The one she brought with her, though has a sternum and ribcage, featuring a maple leaf where her heart would normally be. This design was inspired by the motto of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics With Glowing Hearts, and the kids were curious about why one of the ribs was broken. Jane explained that since she races down the course head first, using her head, shoulders, knees and toes to steer the skeleton, broken ribs were part of the job description.
Jane thanked each of the kids for keeping her accountable, and for being her support system that she could keep in her back pocket. Each child received an autographed photo of Jane signed Dream Big!
Also, part of the Classroom Champions with Jane was Madison Charney, who just placed in the top 20 at her first Worlds Competition. Madison said that Classroom Champions meant that someone always had her back, and the kids were her biggest fans. They didn’t care what she placed and she was so touched that this year when she finally got to see her kids face to face, one child cried. Both ladies had tears in their eyes as they explained how much being part of the Classroom Champions have meant to them. Jane said that coming here and seeing the impact they have had on the student’s lives was incredible and humbling. It puts faces to the people of Canada that she has been representing, the silent supporters behind the scenes. Janes says that on some of her really bad days, when she struggles, she pulls out all the cards sent to her by the kids and reads them all!
Students from all participating schools were treated to hotdogs, hamburgers, fruit, veggies, chips and cookies, all donated and prepared by Crescent Point and their employees. Since 2001 CP has invested $30 million dollars into the communities where they live and operate. With sports and education being two of their pillars of support in the community, Classroom Champions was a natural fit for them. Since Crescent Point has been sponsoring athletes involved with Classroom Champions for several years, they ‘ve seen firsthand what great ambassadors’ athletes like Jane and Madison are in their communities.