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West Van high school students to study history of sport

West Vancouver school trustees give green light to history course examining role of sports in society
Photo of the bronze statue of Harry Jerome in Stanley Park. photo Laurent Belanger, Wikimedia Commons

High school students interested in how politics have played a part in the Olympics, athletes who decide to “take a knee” and how racism and sexism plays a role in professional sports will soon have a chance to study those issues in school.

A new History of Sport course was one of two new locally developed elective courses approved by the West Vancouver board of education Tuesday night for Grade 11 and 12 students.

Locally developed courses are created by local teachers and approved by the board of education to provide relevant course offerings to local students. Students in grades 11 and 12 can take the courses for elective credit.

Diane Nelson, director of instruction for the West Vancouver school district, described the History of Sport course as one that will analyze the historical role of sports in society and provide a unique lens through which to examine issues like equality rights, ethnicity and politics of the day.


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Students will be exposed to stories like that of Tom Longboat, a runner from the Six Nations reserve and Boston Marathon champion, said Nelson.

“History tells it that he was one of Canada's greatest distance runners, but he faced extreme racism during his career,” she said. “An interesting tidbit is that he was deemed the best athlete from Brantford until Wayne Gretzky appeared on the scene.”

Trustees also approved a locally developed organic chemistry 12 course, which Nelson said will be helpful for any students going into health sciences at the post-secondary level.