November 2002
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An Organized Run
By Jada Patey and Lindsey House (SNN Editor), Roncalli Central High, Port Saunders, NL

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During the weekend of November 1st, 2002 Roncalli Central High School in Port Saunders, Newfoundland and surrounding communities undertook the huge task of hosting a provincial cross-country running competition. Over 185 students, along with their coaches, arrived in Port Saunders on Friday, November 1st and were billeted with families in the surrounding communities of Port Saunders, Port-Aux-Choix, Hawke's Bay, Eddie's Cove and River Of Ponds. Students and coaches spent two nights in the area. The weekend was the result of much organization and extreme dedication from parents, teachers and students.

Throughout the event there were countless volunteers who were on task to make sure everything was on schedule. Mrs. White, teacher at Roncalli was responsible for overseeing and organizing the opening ceremonies, the banquet and making sure everyone received their tournament t-shirts. "It was stressful trying to keep track of who had their t-shirts and who didn't. However, the opening ceremonies didn't involve a vast amount of work on my part because two Phys. Ed students took over the job for me. I just had to make sure they were on task and things were running smoothly." Parents and students were involved with the event by working in the canteen, setting up tables and arranging a seating plan for the banquet, serving at the banquet and cleaning up.

Members of the Volunteer Fire Department of Port Saunders also attended the event. They were on hand to make sure that if anyone got hurt while running the course, they were seen to and received the attention they deserved. "We had to be at specific locations on the trail in case one of the runners collapsed and needed to be taken to the rescue van. We were able to provide oxygen and first aid if need be. Besides us, there were a number of nurses from the Rufus Guinchard Health Center on hand to do the things we were not trained to do," local fire fighter, Dwayne McCarthy remarked.

Physical Education students at Roncalli worked extremely hard helping prepare for the big event. Charmaine Coles spent two weeks preparing for the opening ceremonies along with the help of another Physical Education student Kristel Brown. "Preparing for the opening ceremonies was very hectic. We had to take time off class, trying to get things finished on time, and then we had homework to catch up on as well. We had to prepare 31 signs and 31 runners for the trail to stick on the wall. We had to trace, color, and cut out each sign and runner. A lot of time and effort was involved." Charmaine stated.

In order to make this event happen, certain individuals needed to create a billeting committee so that students and coaches from the province had places to stay during the weekend. The billeting committee was made up of teachers and parents in the area. According to Mrs. Bonnie Bussey, teacher at Roncalli, this was a huge responsibility. "It involved hours of phone calls. As well, some coaches wanted three or more students to be billeted together and this created a problem because it is very hard to find a family who can provide meals and accommodations for so many people. It took a lot of organization because you can't have a child without a place to stay. The most difficult thing was when coaches changed plans without letting us know ahead of time. However, in the end everything worked out fine and the response we got from the billets was positive."

According to Mr. White, Physical Education teacher at Roncalli, the school could not have organized and run the event without the help of volunteers. "It would have been impossible to pull off an event like this on our own. The number of people and the amount of things that had to be done would have been overwhelming to do without the help of volunteers in our communities."

During the weekend many people offered not only their time but their skills as well. Mr. Keith Fudge, teacher at Roncalli Central High School created a database to register all runners and assign billets. This database was used to produce quick reports for placings in the individual and team results for the cross country races. It took Mr. Fudge three to four hours to design the program. "On the day of the races, results were given to me, and I took care of all the results. It took about two hours to enter all of the data." Mr. Fudge explained.

It was not only the teachers who spent time working with technology for the races, five Roncalli students spent the day inside at opening ceremonies and outside in the cold alongside the runners taking pictures and filming the events. These students took the pictures and film they had captured and put together a three minute multimedia clip of the day's activities. This clip was then viewed at the banquet at the end of the day. Katrina Alyward, one of the students involved mentioned that she had to be everywhere and film everything that was relevant to the day, races, runners, injuries, winners, anything of that nature. "The one thing that I really learnt about hosting a big event like provincials," Katrina acknowledged "was that you must prepare in advance. You can't leave anything until the last minute. And most importantly, teamwork is essential."

All of the work put into this event was not done just by the organizers, you cannot overlook the months of hard work and dedication put in by the runners and coaches. Roncalli senior girl runner Nikki Ryan commented, "This year there's been a lot of hard work put into everything. Especially when we had to practice every day and help plan the event as well. It was stressful for us having to train, prepare for the competition and keep up with our school work at the same time." Runners competing at this level are highly trained athletes. Most competitors began training months ago. "You have to train whether there's a practice or not," added Nikki. Baltimore High coach Carl Johnson from Ferryland, acknowledged, "Our team has been training for 14 months, not to mention the countless hours of fundraising. To attend this event we had to raise $3000.00 dollars. But it was all worth it, it was an amazing and enjoyable experience." Coaches also must volunteer time and skills to perfecting their team. They must motivate, keep track of and push each member of their team. They have to manage finances, organize rides and make sure each runner is mentally and physically prepared for each race. This huge job takes great amounts of time and energy over and above the call of teaching.

It seems that the accumulation of all of this hard work paid off. "This event was a wonderful chance to meet new people. To have a variety of people here from so many different places across Newfoundland and Labrador was really exciting and a lot of fun. It was great to see so many students from across the Province displaying school spirit," concluded Katie Biggin, resident of Port Saunders and volunteer at the events. Linda Allingham, mother of a runner from Plum Point also expressed appreciation for the events. "The event was very well organized and a pleasure to attend. It was exciting to get out there and see the kids run. Everyone was very helpful and everything we needed was on hand." Many students were impressed with the level of organization and hospitality the school and surrounding communities provided for the events. This could not have been accomplished without the help of volunteers and their dedication toward school activities.

Any school or organization who undertakes a huge event like this must have the support of their local communities, commitment from students and parents and many helping hands.


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