Kinesiology students at Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute (VCI) have the opportunity to learn from some high-profile athletics and fitness professionals this semester.

According to teacher Dan Tremblay, on May 24, the class visited the Montreal Canadiens training facility in Brossard. The purpose of the visit was to allow students to gain a better understanding of the different career options within the health and wellness field. Sports Science and Performance Director Adam Douglas talked to the students about his career journey after his student days at Queen’s University, and introduced the team he assembled to help the Canadiens organization off the ice. Strength and Conditioning Coach (NHL) Dale Lablans, Dietitian Renée Racine, and Strength and Conditioning Coach (AHL) Stephane Gervais, all told their stories about how they got to where they are today.

“Their stories allowed students to broaden their vision about the opportunities that can be offered to them beyond what they may have thought,” Tremblay said. 

Students took part in a mini combine style battery of tests. They performed a peak power performance test on a Wattbike, a long jump test, and vertical jump test using a force plate which is used on a regular basis to measure power output. Students were given a tour of the replica Montreal Canadiens dressing room which is identical to their dressing room at the Bell Centre.

On April 17, the kinesiology class welcomed by video link Canada’s Fittest Woman, Emma Lawson, who is just 18 and a grade 12 student at a high school in Cambridge, Ontario. Lawson spoke to students about her journey into the CrossFit world. Emma explained to the students how she manages high school life in a similar way to them with a regular schedule and some online classes. Lawson will be returning to the CrossFit Games in August this year in Madison, Wisconsin after recently qualifying. She finished sixth worldwide at last year’s games as the World’s Fittest Woman. She won Rookie of the Year as the most impressive new athlete at the games.

On March 20, CrossFit superstar Dani Speegle of Colorado made a virtual visit to the kinesiology class at VCI. Known in the CrossFit community as a very strong athlete, Speegle spoke to students about nutrition, having body dysmorphia, becoming a role model, and empowering women to not fear being strong. She spoke about the upcoming CrossFit games and how the sport has evolved over the past few years. Students were interested in knowing what daily routine she has.

“Some jaws dropped when she explained to them that she hits the gym three times a day for two-to-three-hour sessions,” Tremblay said.

“The most important message that Speegle wanted to convey to students was to really make young people feel comfortable about being strong and being fit,” he commented.

Speegle is a four-time CrossFit Games athlete who finished in 13th place as the World’s Fittest Woman in 2022.

VCI kinesiology class activities. Photos submitted by Dan Tremblay