Olympic skeleton racer Jane Channell made a surprise visit to the G. H. Dawe Community School Grade 4/5 class she has been mentoring through the Classrooms Champions program. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff

Updated: Olympian inspires Red Deer students

Olympic skeleton racer Jane Channell made a surprise visit to the students she has been mentoring

Who better to give advice on chasing your dreams than an Olympian?

Canadian Olympic skeleton racer Jane Channell made a surprise visit to her video pen pals in a Grade 4/5 class at G.H. Dawe School on Tuesday.

Channell had been corresponding with the youngsters through the Classroom Champions, a non-profit organization that matches Olympic and Paralympic athletes with classrooms.

Her young fans were thrilled to meet the hero whose Winter Olympic exploits they had been following so closely. The North Vancouver athlete finished 10th in skeleton at the PyeongChang Winter Games with her G.H. Dawe fan club cheering her all the way.

Skeleton racers slide headfirst down the course on a small sled reaching speeds well over 120 km/h.

Channell said she first got involved in Classroom Champions when helping a teammate who was in the program work on his videos for his young fans.

“This is my first year as a classroom champion mentor and the impact it’s had on me is unbelievable. I don’t know if I could even put it into words.”

Her message to students is to dream big.

“Once you think of something big, challenge yourself and think of something even bigger.”

Grade 5 student Keira Dussoye said she learned to never give up and follow your dreams.

“Be who you are.”

Teacher Lana Beierbach said for the students knowing there was an athlete with the stature of an Olympian “makes all the difference in the world.

It’s a person who they can look up to and trust their advice,” she said.

“It’s like a special friend who’s outside their regular circle of friends.”

The class had regular reports from Channell, including through a live video chat.

Tuesday’s visit was her first time in Red Deer and she did not know what to expect, she said.

It turned out to be an overwhelming experience. She was almost brought to tears when presented with a book, each page an entry from a different student.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Scares and chills await at haunted house in Red Deer

Zed Haunted House helps raise money for Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer District

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

Queens raised $12,035 for the Central Alberta Cancer Centre.

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Turkey to reveal details of probe into Khashoggi’s killing

ISTANBUL — In a sign of growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey… Continue reading

Utah truck driver is jailed without bond after crash kills 6

HEBER, Utah — A man suspected of driving under the influence remained… Continue reading

A ragged, growing army of migrants resumes march toward US

TAPACHULA, Mexico — A ragged army of Honduran migrants streamed through southern… Continue reading

Postal workers to begin strikes in 4 Canadian cities Monday if deal not reached

OTTAWA — The union representing 50,000 Canada Post employees says it will… Continue reading

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Most Read