Cross-Country Run – Way to Go Colton!

Category: District

Please find below a wonderful story of achievement by Colton Andrews, a grade eleven student in the Life Skills department at Seaquam Secondary. Many thanks to Seaquam students Soumil Walia (Editor-in-Chief of The Seaquam Gazette) and Avleen Kaur for this article.

Colton Andrews, a grade eleven student in the Life Skills department completed a cross-country run of 1.7 kilometers at Crescent Park on October 27 of this year. He alongside Ty Carreiro, a student in Ms. Withenshaw’s P.E. class, and with the help of Ms. Withenshaw and Mrs. Miller allowed Colton to access this wonderful opportunity. As Mrs. Miller mentioned, “He’s super athletic, super cool kid, really social, loves to be around people, and loves to run. So this was the absolute perfect opportunity for him to feel like he’s part of the school community and be truly a part of the school community in this race.”

Who are you and what does your job consist of?

I’m Mrs. Miller and I’m the life skills teacher. Something pretty cool about life skills class is that we get the kids out and involved in the school community as much as possible because they’re valued members, obviously, of our school body, but I’ve never had a life skills student that competed for the school in any kind of capacity. So Colton Andrews was the first student to participate in an event such as the cross country event which was super thrilling for all and Colton.

How many students are in your life skills class?

I have eleven students and I have eight EA’s that support my students.

How did Colton become involved with cross country?

So what happened was Ms.Withenshaw — Colton is in her class so she just sent me an email saying that there’s this opportunity for cross country and would Colton want to do this.

Ms.Withenshaw is always looking for ways, cool things for Colton to do. Like fun ways to get him involved with his peers and the other kids in the class. So all we had to do was fill out a form, talk to his parents, and Colton was excited to do it. So Ms.Withenshaw actually set it all up and then I asked one of my EAs, Ms. Deane, if she would be willing to take him, because the one thing about my class is that when we do outings or events or other things with the kids, we have to have EAs that are willing to go with them because they need support. And Ms. Deane right away said: “absolutely”. So that was really awesome as well because not everybody would be willing to do that for various reasons but, she was totally willing to do that. Ms.Withenshaw also asked one of the students in the same PE class as Colton, Ty Carreiro, if he would run alongside Colton as a guide to keep pace and show him where to go so he doesn’t veer off into the wrong direction. Ty volunteered and gave up his time to go and run with Colton and that was an amazing experience for Colton because he feels like he has a new buddy too.

How long was everyone preparing for this race?

Colton was not. I mean obviously, the cross country team was. But for Colton, this was just ‘We’re going to race. We’re going to do it’. He does martial arts so he’s already quite fit and in shape from that and he loves to run. So he didn’t train because training is always after school and he isn’t able to do after-school activities and he’s a natural runner. So just by participating in PE class and doing his martial arts outside of school, he’s definitely in shape to do the run.

What do you want for people to take out of this story in regards to Colton’s story and the life skills department in general?

I would like people to know that all of us, every one of us wants to belong and wants to feel included and have that feeling. When we are participating with the school community which is obviously what we are a part of — it makes my kids, my students feel a sense of self-worth and belonging and that they’re contributing to the school community.

I would want people to know that my kids want the same things as every other student in the school and they want those friendships and they want the same opportunities and our school is amazing at providing those opportunities for my students so they feel like they’re contributing to the school body. I also think that when students outside of my class take the time to see my students, to talk to my students, run with my students, it makes them feel again that they have friends that aren’t just inside of this classroom. And I know that for students like yourself, that makes you guys feel good as well because you guys understand that we are all the same. That’s what I would want people to know that most that we just want the same things and my students aren’t any different.

Ty and Colton’s friendship

One really neat thing about Ty and Colton running together was that they were halfway through the run and Colton turned to Ty and said: “I really like you”. And it was super sweet and he knew – he feels that Ty is his friend – like he’s his buddy now because Ty took the time to spend with him and run with him. And that’s what this is really all about: developing those kinds of friendships.