ESTEVAN - Students from Sacred Heart School/École Sacré Coeur in Estevan had the opportunity to hear from a Paralympic medallist on May 3.
Brittany Hudak, who hails from Prince Albert and was born without part of her left arm, spoke to the kids through the Classroom Champions program, which partners up school classes with world-class athletes.
Each month she has been sending videos on different topics to Grade 5 and 6 students at the school, with a challenge at the end of each month.
“It helps bring the topic to life, and it’s a way of seeing how the students are comprehending some of the lessons and really putting their learning at the forefront,” said Hudak. “Some of the lessons that we’ve really kept in mind are more along goal-setting and perseverance. So, it’s more important to set a goal and be working towards achieving it.”
Even if a child doesn’t achieve the objective, it’s better to have one because it will put you in a good position.
She was excited to be at the school and to see all of the kids in person.
Hudak won two bronze medals at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. She earned one medal in the women’s standing 12.5 kilometre individual biathlon race – the second straight time she has won bronze at the event.
Earlier in the Games, she was third in the 15-kilometre cross country race.
She also competed in cross-country skiing at the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.
She started cross-country skiing when she was 18 after meeting a Paralympic skier who though Hudak would be a good fit for the sport. A couple of years later, a biathlon coach asked her to try the sport, which combines cross-country skiing and shooting.
“I think biathlon in general, it’s always so exciting because you’re trying to combine two completely different sports together and try to be good at both on the same day,” said Hudak.
It forces her to ski hard, arrive at a range and hit a target.
They also get to see so many different trails and locations while competing outdoors.
Many of their competitions in the past two years have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID, so it was different getting ready for the Paralympics with fewer competitions. But it was still great to be part of the games.
“I always enjoy the experience of just getting to represent Canada, and being with all of my teammates and staff. Everyone comes together to create a culture of excellence when you’re at the Games, so that’s always surreal to be a part of that.”
This year’s Paralympics didn’t have the same festive atmosphere or interactions due to concerns over COVID-19, but she believes organizers did a good job of keeping everyone safe.
Hudak became involved with Classroom Champions through a mutual friend. The agency asked her to see if she would be interested.
“I had a mentor when I had first started skiing, so right away I knew the benefits of mentorship, and I was intrigued to be an athlete mentor with Classroom Champions, so it went from there,” said Hudak.
The students were receptive to her message. Goal-setting seemed to be their favourite message during the year.
It didn’t take long for her to realize it was a great program to be part of, thanks to the live chats throughout the year that allow her to talk to the kids and answer their questions. And they get to put a face to the name.
This was her second community event through Classroom Champions. The first was in Surrey, B.C., prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.