Students at Nashwaaksis Middle School in Fredericton got a bit of a break from the books Thursday, as the school hosted their 18th annual Firefighter Challenge competition.
Members of the Fredericton Fire Department visited the school and put students’ strength and team work skills to the test, running students through several stations similar to those used for FireFit combat training.
Grade six teacher Natalie Cormier said competition day is the most exciting day of the school year, full of school spirit.
“We take a time out to celebrate our firefighters because…we have the best of the best serving our great city ,but we also take an opportunity to engage our children and our students in a very important conversation about community engagement and selflessness and giving and community unity and what it means to be part of something something bigger than yourself,” Cormier said.
She said they also talk to students about the challenges and responsibilities of what it means to be firefighter and leaders in the community.
“We put the kids through a test of strength and endurance and camaraderie and spirit and we just celebrate what we are, what we aspire to be, and we make a great day for everybody,” Cormier said.
Students compete against other classes in the same grade and the class that completes the course the fastest is the champion for their grade.
Grade six student Maddie Crabbe said she had a great time, despite falling twice during the ‘dummy drag’, a station that challenged students to drag a dummy weight more than 100 lbs across the gym.
“I got back up and tried to keep going so I wouldn’t throw off my whole team,”Crabbe said. “It was really difficult to do.”
Crabbe said she didn’t expect the dummy to be as heavy as it was, and said the competition gave her a new appreciation for what firefighters do every day.
Grade six student Evan White was also competing and said he also appreciates the work firefighters do to keep families safe.
“First I was obviously scared, and then I had like butterflies in my stomach and after when I did it, I feel like I had the courage to do anything,” White said.
He said it was a fun day and the dummy drag was his favourite station.
Cormier said she hopes students walk away with a sense of pride in their community and that they feel like genuine and important stake holders in the community as well.
“It is a long-standing tradition at Nashwaaksis Middle School and one we aspire to do better and better every year,” Cormier said.