Shining Stars, Striving for Excellence by Jordyn Doi

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

My name is Jordyn Doi (I am the one on the right!) and I am a first year Champion. I want to start by thanking Dr. Joanna Sheppard for allowing me to be a part of this amazing experience and for showing me what true passion both looks and feels like.

The first couple of days on the island have been nothing short of amazing! I have been placed at Potters Elementary and I am extremely fortunate to have both Cole and Jas as my teaching partners. They have both been extremely supportive and have been instrumental in helping to develop my confidence, especially inside the classroom. I went into my first day of school pretty nervous about what was to come, but that all disappeared as soon as I stepped foot onto the school grounds. Right away, students ran up to Cole and Jas extremely excited that they were back and I could immediately feel the love. It was not long before a student took me by the hand and gave me a full tour of the school grounds. At the end of the day, that same student wanted to give me her pen as a token to remember her by. I have absolutely loved developing connections with the students and am excited to continue doing so.

The title of my blog post, Shining Stars Striving for Excellence, is Potters Elementary’s theme for the school year. The S within star stands for “striving for excellence”, the T stands for “take learning seriously”, the A stands for “always follow the rules”, and lastly the R stands for “respect and care for persons and property”. The Principal, Ms. Athill, really emphasized this message to the students during the first school assembly I watched and it is something that I will be trying to push to the students during my time at the school.

Today was my second day of teaching and I am already feeling much more confident. Our focus for this week has been conflict resolution and it has been amazing to put all of the lesson plans that I have put so much time into creating into action. The best part has been when students have been able to connect conflict resolution to both the games and to their lives in and outside of school. As expected, a couple things haven’t quite worked out quite as planned, but many others have. We started off by teaching a Health and Family Life Education lesson to a grade 3 class, which went extremely well. The students were fully engaged in the lesson and were excited to share their ideas. After break, Jas and I taught a grade 5 PE class, which didn’t quite go as planned due to some unforeseen circumstances, but we made the best of it. We finished off the day with a grade 3 PE class and it went amazingly well. The students brought a lot of energy to all of the activities, even having little dance parties to celebrate their successes.

I am very excited to push my practice and to hopefully grow as an individual and educator.


Jordyn Doi

First Day of School by Kirsten Lee

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

First off, I would like to say thank you for checking in to see what we are up to as we begin our journey with the 2019 Champions! My name is Kirsten Lee (Teacha Lee to the kids) (the one in the middle) and I have had the opportunity to be apart of this program for 5 years. This program has made me who I am today. I am eternally grateful for Joanna Sheppard as she has supported me and kept this wonderful program running. This is year 14 of the program and you can feel all the passion and hard work that previous champions have left behind.

Today we woke up with mixed emotions as it was our first day of school! We were extremely excited to meet the students and be welcomed into our schools, however, even after so many years the butterflies and nervousness still sets in. Our morning started bright and early with our first day of school photos and then we were off on our convoy led by Jo’s van nicknamed the “White Knight”. As our white vehicles got dropped off one-by-one we could see the swarms of children racing up the car to meet their new Canadian teachers. I have the opportunity to go to T.N. Kirnon Primary School which has been in the program for the full 14 years. This is a new school for me and I was excited for the new experience with my new teaching partners Justin and Kristen. One of the best parts of this program is that each year is completely different and I get to see things as if it is new every time.

Our school day started with morning prayers, songs, the Antiguan anthem and reciting the schools mottos. We were welcomed by the principal and introduced ourselves to the school. I was excited to start our day and I could tell the students were excited as well because all of their little eyes didn’t come off of you, no matter where you moved. Each student you passed wanted to say ‘Hi’, give you a hug or play hand games. Our day was full of teaching physical education and H.F.L.E (Health and Family Life Education). We started off with the rambunctious Grade 1’s who could not contain their excitement and as a result tested our patience. Our life skill that we focused on today was Communication and we used our lesson plans created by first year Champ, Kristen. Since September the first years have been putting their blood, sweat and tears into these lesson plans and it is amazing to watch them come to life. The effort put into these lesson plans by the people who created them and the revisions by the curriculum coordinators is evident when you play them. The rest of our day went similar to our first class and by the end of the school day we were exhausted. But from experience I know that each day you build up more endurance and more patience which makes it easier and easier. It is overwhelming how interested the students are and how much they already want to be your friend.

Afterschool we got a special first day of school treat as Jo treated us all to well deserved ice cream! Just one of the many surprises that Jo has tucked in her sleeve. What I am most excited for is watching each Champion grow and find themselves as a teacher. Each day you are immersed into the culture and learn so much in a day.

Kirsten Lee

Unity Games Practice Day!

OOur Champions got prepared for our Unity Games days which happen every Friday. Unity Games days are models after Sports Days but with a twist. Our whole Champions team travel to one school in both the morning and afternoon and teach lifeskills games for the entire school.Thank you to our Unity Games Coordinators Cassidy and Selyen for guiding us through our 4 our practice!Check out the pictures below from our day!

The Champions are Here!

Hello Friends, family and followers! The 2019 Champions for Health Promoting Schools Program has officially begun with the arrival of our Champions! We had a busy day of unpacking, grocery shopping and preparing all of our donated equipment for our 4 weeks of teaching ahead of us!!

Here are a few picks from the day!

All the Best!

Dr. Jo

2019 Champions Countdown is On!!!

Our 2019 Champions team will arrive on island April 27, 2019 to begin a four week International teaching experience within 9 primary schools and 3 highschools in Antigua, West Indies. Alongside our Antiguan colleagues, our Champions will be teaching the importance of life skills through Physical and Health Education.

Our team has been busy…. preparing lesson plans, learning about the Island and collecting donated resources in order to make the 14th year of the Champions program a success.

We look forward to sharing this experience with you. Please check out our 2019 Champions page to find out where your favourite Champion will be volunteer teaching! 

Care for self, Care for others, care for the Environment
Champions on two….one, two, CHAMPIONS!
Dr. Joanna Sheppard


2019 Antigua Team