- Cherry Creek School District No. 5
Goals and smiles for Colorado Avalanche's visit to Willow Creek Elementary
Fifth-grade students at Willow Creek Elementary were all smiles when they had some special guests from the Colorado Avalanche teach them about focus, goal-setting, and working with others.
The visit was part of the Colorado Avalanche health and wellness program to expand students’ access to hockey. Funded by the Colorado Avalanche, students attend a “skill and drill” assembly where they learn and practice basic hockey skills. Students are also given the opportunity to try hockey for free at local arenas such as Big Bear and the University of Denver.
“It’s so important to give students opportunities because not every school can teach hockey,” said John Michalec, program coordinator. “For some kids, this is their first time holding a hockey stick and we’ve already seen kids excited about trying something new.”
The program donates hockey sticks and practice balls along with a curriculum to help guide physical education teachers in how to help their students learn hockey.
“Physical education is an important way for students to develop confidence, explore new skills, and find something they may love for years to come,” said Tina Book, physical education teacher at Willow Creek. “I grew up playing field hockey and want to provide students with a way to experience the joy of movement and fitness.”
Principal Mary Whitney explained that the district’s core values of Growth Mindset and Whole Wellbeing are important components of the school’s culture.
“Watching our students’ joy as they try new things, then practice and grow is the heart of education,” said Whitney. “Our Willow Creek Wildcats are lucky to have this and other community partnerships that give them new opportunities.”
The district partners with the Avalanche to provide Community Nights as a fundraiser for the district and will host two nights in February where a portion of ticket sales go to the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation to fund mental health programs, classroom grants, and emergency relief.