Some volleyball players were feeling right at home on the court.
The Brant Christian School Eagles were helped out by four home-school students from the Okotoks area en route to finishing second at the high school Senior boys 1A South zone championships in Lethbridge in November.
“I really enjoy it because usually I wouldn’t be able to make a team,” said Eagle Jack Pavier, a home-school student who lives in Okotoks. “It means a lot to me because I love sports.”
Pavier said it can be difficult for home-school students to participate in team sports. This is the third-year of volleyball for Brant Christian School, which has an enrolment of 23 Grade 10-12 students.
Principal and assistant coach Kevin Bailey wanted to bring more team sports to the school on the MD of Foothills east border, and reaching out a couple years ago — including a plug in the Western Wheel — for more players was a step to bigger things.
“We knew there were kids that were athletic who were at home and wanted to get involved,” Bailey said. “Being a small school we are an ideal opportunity.
“[For a home-school student] to break into HTA or the Comp, I think it is really difficult.”
The four home-school students did not bump Brant Christian over the 99- student mark, which would have bumped the Eagles from 1A to 2A. Brant Christian has to take in all the students living in the school’s boundaries within the home-school learning area when adding a home-school student to its roster.
“For example, I had one boy from NorthStar Academy [out of Strathmore],” Bailey explained. “Along with him, I had to take in I think it was 13 kids who educate with NorthStar and live in Okotoks.”
He said with all the home-school students from their respective school districts that were living in the boundary area were added, it bumped Brant Christian’s total in the 70s.
Bailey said unfortunately, to take a student from the Okotoks-based, Centre for Learning @ Home, which is with Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools, it would have bumped Brant Christian into the 2A division.
Eagle setter Will Ritz, who attends the school and has played for the team in each of its three years, said 2017 was the best season yet.
“I love it, when I come to school I now have more motivation to do my work,” said Ritz, an MD of Foothills resident. “This year, I played club and a couple of guys went to volleyball camps and it made a huge difference.”
Ritz is also a member of the Foothills Volleyball Club, who like the Eagles, practice out of the Crescent Point Regional Field House.
The Eagles finished fourth at zones their first two seasons, before picking up the silver in Lethbridge. They lost in the zone final to Bow Island’s Senator Gershaw Gators. The Gators went on to win the silver medal at 1A provincials in Eckville on Nov. 25.
Brant Christian School is planning to participate in badminton and track later in the school year.