Instilling Confidence Inside and Outside the Classroom

May 18, 2022 3 min read

At one time skateboards used to be banned in schools, but now it’s the new Olympic sport and schools are embracing it, not banning it. Introducing the Calgary Academy Skateboard Club, where students have the opportunity to develop gnarly new skills outside the classroom. Whether a newbie or a thrasher; the club offers the chance to learn skills that can be applied to the school classroom.

Safety, fun, and progression are the goals of Calgary Academy Skateboard Club. The club began in September 2021 and introduces students of all levels to the sport of skateboarding. Teachers Lanny Donde, Alora Popow, and Graham Diehl lead the club with safety at the forefront of all that they do.

“The goal isn’t creating X Games champions but developing competent skateboarders for life.” – Graham Diehl, Integrated Studies Teacher.

The idea of having the Calgary Academy Skateboard Club has been in the back of Graham Diehl’s mind for six years but the major catalyst for starting this club was the fact that skateboarding is now an official Olympic sport. The pandemic also introduced students to a variety of new sports including skateboarding since they spent more time outdoors. The club is now in term four and has continued to see an increase in interest and has 50 students signed up!

“The skills and the process of learning how to skateboard apply directly to the classroom. When students are taught how to read or do math, they don’t move forward to the next level until they have mastered one skill.” – Graham Diehl.  

The club runs during lunch hours Mondays and Wednesdays for Grades 5 and 6 and Tuesdays and Thursdays for Grades 7 and 8.

For these students to get to the point of success, they have to pick themselves up time after time and keep working at it. There are long hours of practice, but eventually they get it and even if they don’t, they have gone through that process, which is empowering.” – Graham Diehl. 

Skateboarding is challenging; it requires a high level of commitment and teaches students the importance of learning how to persevere and the importance of patience. Sports like skateboarding help develop you as a person, build strong character, and provide a lot of value.

“I am always amazed at the amount of bravery these students have in trying new skills. For students with learning differences, everything can be really challenging. If they have the chance to feel success in another area, like skateboarding, that is going to build their confidence.” – Graham Diehl.