Upgrades to our athletic facilities are speeding ahead. Plans are being made for St. Catharines Collegiate Secondary School to be home to DSBN’s ninth synthetic track and turf field, and it will be named after someone who earned a silver medal at the most recent Olympic games – one of the school’s very own alumnus – Mohammed Ahmed.
“This is definitely a great honour, because even though I don’t live in St. Catharines anymore, this is home. It’s where my history in running started and it’s always going to be an important part of me,” said Ahmed, who placed second in the 5000-metre race at the Tokyo Olympics. “The best thing about coming back home is how lovely the people are. It’s a really tight-knit community, and I hope creating infrastructure like this will tie those bonds even tighter."
“It’s a great place where everyone cares about each other. The whole community deserves this.”
The DSBN and City of St. Catharines are in the process of making the new facility official. The upgraded track and field has plans to sport four running lanes, new football goal posts and other modern features. And when the new surface is ready, it will be available for all secondary and elementary students at the DSBN to use. Public and community organizations will also have access to it through DSBN’s standard rentals process.
“These are the kinds of valuable investments we’re making in students and families. Students deserve first-rate facilities where they can develop an interest in extracurriculars, advance their skills, and just enjoy being active. And family and community members deserve to visit their local field and know that their child, family member, friend or neighbour is experiencing a top-quality facility,” said Sue Barnett, DSBN Chair of the Board.
“Athletics are very meaningful to a student’s education, and often are a cherished part of their time at school. Some of the fondest memories many students make at school are from a practice, a game or competition, or simply from when they spent time out on the field with friends. We’re looking forward to all the great moments St. Catharines Collegiate students will have on their new turf,” said DSBN Director of Education Warren Hoshizaki. “With the continued support of our Trustees, we will keep building modern turf fields and tracks for all students and communities in Niagara to benefit from.”
Benefits like extending the use of the field since these synthetic surfaces can safely withstand changing seasons, allowing more classes of students on the turf at one time thanks to the consistent field conditions, and being more accessible to students with special or specific needs, as the level-surface will not corrode specialized equipment.
“I always wanted to go to the Olympics in track. I wanted the highest possible achievement. After looking back on how much work it is to get there, and for me to have achieved that, I think, ‘man, I was crazy!’ But that’s where it starts. Just believing in yourself is the biggest thing. I hope that with this new track and field, students at Collegiate, and anyone in Niagara for that matter, will gain the confidence and inspiration to go out and train here too, and hopefully find their best self or whatever they are looking to achieve,” said Ahmed.
A date for when the track and field at St. Catharines Collegiate will be complete is still to be announced. The DSBN is also in discussions with the City of Thorold to build another synthetic track and turf field, with its home to be at Thorold Secondary School.