Dr. Loeffler has visited more than 80 schools in Canada and as far away as Switzerland. That's over 32,000 students and counting. But this was her first Labrador school.
Trisha Keough-Boyer, a graduate student in the masters of physical education (MPE) program, is the program director with School Sports NL (SSNL). She approached Dr. Loeffler about being "a prize" in the School Sports NL Participation Nation Education Week contest. Dr. Loeffler enthusiastically agreed and Sheshatshiu Innu School was the lucky school.
Ms. Keough-Boyer says they choose TA hoping to engage students to participate. "We provide opportunities but feel that the students need to make the decision to participate. Students may encounter challenges in their lives that hinder them from being active, or simply they are choosing not to be active. SSNL believes that TA is a great role model for our youth. She has set her goals and keeps striving to achieve them."
Dr. Loeffler presented to the K-6's first. "I showed slides and told stories about my many climbs and explorations with the hope of inspiring the youth to explore, develop curiosity and be physically active. The title of the presentation was We are all Adventurers. After the presentation she answered a lot of questions from the students about how cold it was on the mountain, how does she get to the mountains, how dangerous it was, etc.
She also presented Rising to the Challenge of Big Dreams to the Grades 7-12. "I showed pictures and told stories in hopes of both sharing my broad experiences of seven continents but also asking the students to consider what mountain, metaphoric or otherwise, they would like to aim for."
"After that, I visited about six classrooms individually (Grades 2 - 5) to answer more questions. It was great to end the day working with the children in small groups and they got a chance to ask me all the questions they'd be asking their teachers."
Dr. Loeffler also had a tour of the community of Sheshatshiu before heading home and was presented with a traditional tea doll that one of the elders in the community had made. "The tea doll is extra special to me because a tea doll is often taken when Innu folks go into the country or as I would say it, 'on expedition,' so I appreciate the connection between their journeys on and relationship to the land since it is such an important part of both my personal and professional life."
Playing host in Sheshatshiu was Memorial alum Greg Quilty (BPE '08), who has been teaching in Sheshatshiu since the school opened in 2009. "It was great to spend the day with an HKR grad and hear how he was putting into practice all that he had learned at MUN," noted Dr. Loeffler. "He's making good things happen in his school. It was a rich and full day in Labrador and I hope it opens more doors and that I can return and visit more schools and communities."