Antigua Champions 2017 Countdown Begins!

23 01 2017


Happy Holidays!

20 12 2016

Wishing you a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season!

From the 2017 Champions for Health Promoting Schools Program!



Apply Today for the Champions 2017 Team!

18 10 2016

Check out the information sessions available on October 19, at 11:30-12:30 or October 24, at 2:30-3:30 in room 1355 on CEP Campus! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Sheppard at

You can find applications outside Dr. Sheppard’s office!

A Final Farewell by Dr. Joanna Sheppard

22 05 2016

Dear Champions, Family, Alumni Champions and Friends of the Champions Program,

As I prepare to leave  Antigua once again, I can only thank you all for your dedication and support towards the 2016 Champions Program.
It has been many months of planning, preparing and organizing, and I want to thank each and every one of you for being with me every step of the way.

Thank you to all of you who donated your time, resources and financial contributions to the Champions Program. Without your support, this program would not be so successful.

I would also like to thank the Faculty of Health Sciences Dean Dr. Joanne Mac Lean for her continued support for our program, as well as KPE Lab Professor Brian Justin for his third annual Coaches and Athletes Certificate Program and collegial support. I would also like to thank our UFV Teacher Education Department, but more specifically Awneet Sivia for dedicating her time to sustaining this impactful collaboration  And last but not least, a big  thank you to my 2016 Teaching Assistant Marissa Lucas for your steadfast, dedicated passion for this program throughout the entire year.

So family and friends, thank you for allowing me to be a part of each of your children’s/friend’s lives. I have watched them grow from students to successful young professionals that I am very proud of.  I look forward to watching many of my students walk the convocation stage this coming June as well as guiding those still at UFV towards their goals and aspirations.

Just because the 2016 program is over, does not mean not to check out our Champions Website! I will be posting over the next few weeks with many more pictures, videos and reflections from this year’s program!


Joanna/Momma Jo


Until Next Time by Marissa Lucas

21 05 2016

Dear friends, family, followers and alumni champions,

My name is Marissa Lucas and I recently finished my degree at UFV. This is my third year as a Champion, and hopefully not my last. My role this year was the TA (Teacher Assistant) for Momma Jo. I taught at Adele School for Special Children and Victory Center with Jade McGhee and Melissa Pawluk. Every year I’ve been on this beautiful island it feels more and more like home to me, and this year that feeling grew stronger due to the very solid team we brought down with us!

First, I’d like to say Congratulations to the 2016 Champions for completing a wonderful month of teaching and collaborating. I can honestly say this month went faster than any other month here because we not only became a TEAM but also a tight knit FAMILY! Also want to give a huge shout out and thanks to all our friends and families for following this journey, donating supplies, and showing your love and support through your comments on this blog.

I can’t believe the time has come, but today Jo and I said goodbye to the Champions at the airport. It was a very strange feeling walking to the “caarrs” without them all following us. We drove back to the house in a very quiet vehicle. I hope everyone arrives home safely and shares their indescribable experience with their loved ones. I don’t think the end of this program has officially hit me yet since Jo and I have one more night here. Once I enter the plane tomorrow and fly into the cloud I will most likely be an emotional wreck.

The Champions of Health Promoting Schools program is beyond life changing, it is transforming. All the champions have grown into spectacular educators throughout their experience here. For myself, this program has solidified my passion for teaching. Being apart of this program over the last three years has shaped me into the woman and teacher I have always wanted to be. The students at Adele and Victory Center really capture the most loving, caring and passionate side of me. They truly bring the biggest smile to my face everyday I teach them. Every time I leave this Island a piece of my heart is left behind. It a very hard and emotional feeling to leave Antigua and the students here, however I am very excited to start the SFU Professional Development Program in September and see where these students are in my future trips to Antigua. Jo will never get rid of me! Until next time…..


Marissa Lucas

Up Up and Away!

21 05 2016

Well…. we did it! All the Champions are at the airport to fly home to Canada. Marissa and I are missing them already!


Third Times the Charm by Rochelle Smith

20 05 2016

Dear Family, Friends, and Followers of the Champions for Health Promoting Schools Program,

Today marks the final day of the Champions for Health Promoting Schools program in Antigua. At this point you, our avid readers, know what our program is all about. So let me begin with saying THANK YOU! Thank you to everyone who have followed, and supported the Champions program. Thank you for your time, donations, thoughts and well-wishes.

This is my third year as a member of the Champions program, and although I am not convinced that this will be my last year I also do not know when I will be back. I truly believe that this program is creating an important collaboration among all teachers involved including myself. In addition, the impact the Antiguan schools, staffs, and students have on the Champions is unbelieveable, as they bring out the best in all the Champions involved. I am so blessed to have been a part of this program for the past three years, and I look forward to the future of the Champions for Health Promoting Schools team.

Today was a long and busy day for the Champions, as we had two Unity Games to run. We began our day at Adele School for Special Children, for a mini track and field meet. There were 5 stations that the students rotated through, each station worked on a variety of fundamental movements.The mini track meet concluded with dancing in a classroom and an award ceremony. The Champions attempted to dance, and of course were out performed by the students at Adele. Even though I have only been to Adele for Unity Games the past three years, I was so impressed with the growth each and every student has made. Everywhere I looked today I saw big smiling faces and physically active students, mixed with equally smiling and profusely sweating Champions. Adele, as always, was an amazing experience. The students  are so full of life, and energy that it is difficult to feel exhausted, despite the heat. The atmosphere at Adele is like no other school I have been to. I can easily say that all of the Champions left Adele with an excitement that I have yet to see on this trip.

After lunch we made our way to T.N. Kirnon Primary School, where I have been working alongside Blair Cumming and Marissa Corea for the past four weeks. I must admit that when I was first told I was going to a new school this year I was hesitant. In a way, I felt no school could ever compare with Five Island Primary where I had taught the past two years. However, I could not have been more wrong, I was meant to be at T.N. Kirnon Primary School this year. Yes, the students are phenomenal, but even more so are the teachers, who allowed us to be a part of their classrooms, and their students’ lives. Thank you all staff members at T.N. Kirnon for making us feel welcome, for lending us your students, and for providing us with new knowledge and feedback. A special thanks goes out to Principle Barrarow, who has made T.N. Kirnon feel like a second home, as well as provided us with an opportunity to pursue our passions.

T.N. Kirnon is a large school with just around 300 students. This meant that unity games was a large and complicated process. With everything that could go wrong, it went amazingly. The students were on their best behaviour and were so excited to see that their teachers had brought even more Canadian friends to play. I am so proud of the Champions team, who brought their absolute best for our final unity games. Every student I saw, was smiling, active, and beyond ecstatic to be a part of the program. As for every Champion, I could see their passion and enthusiasm in every game. After what felt like a thousand goodbyes, and hugs from both staff and students, I begrudgingly got into the car. This is always the hardest part of the trip, saying goodbye for now, and leaving the island.

Although I am not ready to say goodbye to the island, I feel like the Champions team this year has impacted Antigua in ways we will never know or see. Even more so, are the impacts that this island has had on every member of the Champions for Health Promoting Schools team. I am returning home with a restored passion for teaching, learning and inspiring students to be physically active. Thank you Dr. Joanna Sheppard for creating a program that has changed my life, along with so many others.


Rochelle Smith

Teacher at T.N. Kirnon Primary, 3rd Year Champion, and Curriculum Coordinator