Students climbing to new heights at Comox Valley school

GRADE 4 HUBAND PARK student Frances Nye demonstrates her spider-like climbing abilities on the school
GRADE 4 HUBAND PARK student Frances Nye demonstrates her spider-like climbing abilities on the school's new traverse climbing wall.
— image credit: Renee Andor

Huband Park Elementary School is now home to the Comox Valley's first traverse climbing wall.

Past Huband principal, Ian Craigon — who had spearheaded the project but retired last June before it was completed — returned for the unveiling of the new wall during a school assembly last week.

"It's lovely to see it up," Craigon told students. "The challenge now is on you and the staff to make great use of it, and I see wonderful things happening with it already, and I'm sure you will enjoy it for years and years to come."

The traverse wall is designed for more activities than simply climbing, and students demonstrated some of the various ways it can be used. Some students climbed up to dry erase boards to solve math problems while standing on the holds, while others moved short foam noodles and magnetic flags from one hold to another.

The climbing wall stretches 48 feet along the gym wall but is only 10 feet tall, which means no ropes are needed to ensure student safety. It features a red line that students must not have their feet above, making it easy for teachers to see how high up students are.

The wall cost about $12,000, and the school received a school community connections grant for $8,750, and a $500 donation from the Rotary Club of Courtenay. As well, the school community joined together to raise funds for the wall; the school held a penny drive, parents held a garage sale and individual students donated money.

Grade 1 student Jasper Fellbaum donated $100 last year when he was in kindergarten by asking his parents for the money for his birthday in lieu of presents.

Active learning class teacher Brad Fraser said the wall has so far been a hit with his students. Activities like solving math problems while climbing the wall combine activity with learning to promote student engagement, he added.

As for how students feel about their new climbing wall, those doing the demonstration all had huge grins and shouted, "It's fun," when asked their opinion.


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