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Cree Communities Come Together for School Sports Tournament

On the weekend of November 17-19, 2023, students from across the Cree Nation gathered in Wemindji and Mistissini for the CSB Basketball & Volleyball Tournament. Community gymnasiums buzzed with excitement as students enjoyed friendly competition and spectators cheered along.

“The community really came together to make this happen for the students,” said Wemindji principal Patrick Chase Ritskes, reflecting on the success of the Wemindji tournament. “People came to watch even if Wemindji wasn’t playing - just to support all the young athletes.”

In both Mistissini and Wemindji, community members opened their homes to young athletes, making sure guests felt welcomed and supported. CEAs and Administrative Officers at the host schools also organized awards, banners, and giveaways to recognize athletic accomplishments. Winners in the Coed, Girls, and Boys categories for both sports were celebrated, and special M.V.P and sportsmanship awards were given to deserving students.

Overall, many people worked together to give our student athletes a chance to shine!

At the CSB, student experience goes beyond the classroom

Along with ᐄᔨᔨᐅᐃᔨᐦᑎᐧᐃᓐ and Educational Success, Student Experience is one of the Cree School Board’s three current strategic priorities. Events like the CSB Basketball & Volleyball Tournament significantly contribute to the student experience, helping students stay active, socialize, and get involved in their school community.

Principal Patrick Chase Ritskes says that school sports often go hand-in-hand with engaged learning. “In Wemindji, sports definitely create a bridge between learning and accountability. All our coaches are teachers, Administrative Officers or Readaptation Officers. So, it has an impact on the day-to-day; the kids look at you differently, and they understand the expectation, and they want to participate.”

From improved attendance to better mental and physical health, there are countless advantages to school sports. The participants at the CSB Volleyball and Basketball Tournament in November enjoyed even more benefits to their physical activity, with a chance to meet fellow students from across the Cree Nation and be part of a spectacle for their community.

We at the CSB extend our congratulations to all the students who participated in the tournament, and a sincere thank you to everyone who made this tournament possible!

Boys Basketball Champions WJHMS Boys Basketball Finalist VMS Coed Volleyball Champions Waswanipi Coed Volleyball Finalist Waswanipi Girls Basketball Champions Willie J. Happyjack high school Girls Basketball Finalist Voyageur Memorial High School Photo by Juliana Neeposh Tournament Final Scores