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Education & Learning

Rodeo Academy at Foremost School continues to look for ways to improve and grow

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Foremost School Rodeo Academy gives students enrolled something to look forward to each day, which motivates them to get their other schoolwork done. The Academy is looking for interest from students in Medicine Hat and will explore transportation options if there is enough.

Rodeo Academy at Foremost School continues to look for ways to improve and grow
March 21, 2024

The Rodeo Academy at Foremost School is now in its second year with 11 students enrolled, two who are from the Medicine Hat area and billet in town. Recently, the Academy put out feelers over social media to find out if there is enough interest from students in the Medicine Hat area to run a bus out to Foremost School each day.

“This is our second year and over the past two years we’ve had lots of enquiries from all around the province,” stated Principal of Foremost School Corey Steeves. “This year we have two students who attend from the Medicine Hat area and billet in town and a couple of students transferred from the Horizon School District.”

Connor Harty is in Grade 12 and finds the most challenging part of the Rodeo Academy is staying focused and taking opportunities as they arise. Alternatively, being involved with the academy helps motivate Harty to get his schoolwork done early so that he can go to practice because he knows he won’t have time after.

Grade 8 student Roan Bosch was born and raised on a ranch bull yard and joined the academy to improve his roping skills. “When we do roping and steer wrestling, you are riding up to a calf you have to brand or treat. You can rope them, flip them and get them treated and it helps to know how to do that,” explained Bosch. Feedback from the instructors is incredibly helpful for Bosch and he’s learned to overcome his fears and make a run without overthinking.

Kendyl Hollingsworth used to barrel race but now focuses on goat tying and breakaway roping. “The year I started Rodeo Academy I was leaning towards the livestock end of rodeo and was getting out of barrel racing and entering the roping side,” she stated.

While it was a long process, Hollingsworth persevered and has seen lots of improvement in her technique. “I didn’t know how to swing a rope about a year ago and now I’m competing with the girls in high school rodeo,” said Hollingsworth. “I think it helps push me to do my schoolwork because if I’m going to practice, I’m finishing my schoolwork first. That kind of thing helps me keep in track.”

Brittney Chomistek began teaching at Foremost School two years ago just as the Rodeo Academy was launching. With a lifetime of rodeo experience and as the 2018 Miss Rodeo Canada, Chomistek is able to bring the connections she made on the circuit into the school to provide different opportunities for students.

Outside of instructing at the Rodeo Academy, Chomistek teaches Grade 2 and is thrilled about how the academy filters down to the younger kids. “We let them go rope dummies sometimes, or we’ll have the high school kids teach them how to tie goats. There are kids who have never been around horses and just want to be a part of it, so it’s also building that sense of community,” explained Chomistek.

Based in Medicine Hat, she thinks the commute out to Foremost each school day is worth it. While the roads can be challenging at times, this year has been much easier now that her dad, Guy Chomistek, is also teaching at the school and they commute together.

Chomistek is a huge advocate for Prairie Rose Public Schools and what the division offers all students. When she talks about the academy to those on the pro circuit, they often respond by saying they might have tried harder in school, or stayed in school, had they had an option such as the Rodeo Academy to look forward to most days.

“What I love about Prairie Rose is that we have all these specialized areas in all these other communities that allows us to have other kids involved,” stated Chomistek. “The division goals of fostering futures and igniting minds, that’s what we are doing with these academies while also keeping them accountable in school. We hold our academy kids higher than average students because we expect them to be attending their classes, we expect them to be doing their best, whatever their best is. We’ve taken away practices because we want a well-rounded student athlete, which is what PRPS promotes.”

It’s important to note that not all students in the rodeo academy have their own horse and gear. “It’s about giving kids experience in rodeo and our western heritage while also giving them practice so they can see if this is an avenue they want to pursue or not, which is another beautiful thing about it,” concluded Chomistek.

By Samantha Johnson, Prairie Rose Public Schools Content Writer

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