Only a few weeks after Herzliah High School inaugurated its new campus in snowdon, JPPS-Bialik in Côte Saint-Luc’s District 2 formally unveiled a new regulation-sized, state- of- the -art artificial turf sports field, basketball court and healthy living curriculum under its Project Fit banner.
I was pleased to be at the VIP breakfast-time ceremony and tour, attended by parents, supporters and some community leaders. Dubbed the Cons Family Sports Facility and Tehrani Basketball Court, it is an absolutely extraordinary facility.
Officials noted that Project Fit will benefit the entire JPPS-Bialik Community through Mind, Body, and Spirit. This will include ensuring that their rigorous International Baccalaureate Programme is balanced with physical activity to promote a healthy mind and body; building on strong academic programs with an enriched and accelerated curriculum; and backing up sport science studies which show that participation in sports activities improves school performance and builds self-esteem, especially in schools.
JPPS will introduce the Brain Break Program, with lunchtime fitness activities, such as CrossFit and yoga for students and teachers at JPPS and Bialik. More team opportunities at the high school level, providing students with physical activity options to counter sedentary screen time .A new hockey program is being launched in conjunction with the City of Côte Saint-Luc., to prepare for the new GMAA regulations. In the area of spirit, Jewish life events and programs designed to highlight all aspects of Judaism to our students and community. Mindfulness will be practiced daily at JPPS. It allows students and staff to focus inward and start their day intentionally and purposefully.
JPPS-Bialik President Lee Wise, Foundation President Joanna Yufe Naimer and Co-Heads of School Avi Satov and Marnie Stein were elated with the final result of the complex. “Today is a very happy moment for all who love sports and our school,” said Wise. “I have been here daily for weeks and I am still in awe of what was transformed here. The community at large can take great pride in knowing JPPS-Bialik has taken a leadership role in creating an environment where every student is seen as an individual, and where every student can challenge themselves to excel with confidence and enthusiasm in sports and all areas of their education. “
It was a couple of years ago that a past board officer, Etan Jagerman planted the seed that grew into a comprehensive effort to implement the concept of Project fit. The baton was then passed to Dave Perlis, who along with Jeff Fixman worked diligently assessing what was to be built and how. Bobby Titleman, Ora Loeb and John Dore were also in the mix. “The next stage was meeting with contractors and designers,” Wise explained. “I am going to be blunt now and tell you that we would not have such a gorgeous facility here without Luciano Catalogna and Ken Gilman.”
Gilman is a new parent in the school and has a long family history in the artificial turf industry. He introduced Wise to Catalogna whose family owns the huge The Catalogna Soccerplex in Lachine. “Together, they helped design, pick colors and most of all negotiate an incredible deal for us to build something that many thought was impossible,” Wise said.
Yufe Naimer credited Foundation staffers Amy Finkelstein and Naomi Blumer for their diligent work on the project. "Tuition alone cannot cover all of our costs," she said. "Fundraising is critical today."
Satov said the opening of the complex marked an important moment in JPPS-Bialik’s history, “a moment that will propel our school to new heights.”
Satov said that when he was growing up, his favorite movie was Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner. “For those of you who may not be familiar will the movie, the premise revolved around farmer Ray who heard mysterious voices one night in his cornfield,” Satov said. “The voices said ‘If you build it, they will come.’ Despite taunts of lunacy, Ray builds a baseball diamond on his land, then baseball legends start emerging from the crops to play ball. As Ray learned, the field of dreams was about much more than bringing former baseball greats out to play.This project has been in the making for a few years. Just as in sports, teamwork, dedication and commitment reap great results. “
Past presidents and board members, under the leadership of Jamie Ross and Harley Eisman, were thanked for their guidance, insight and support for the project
Satov said that the new field will be used for regulation sports such as soccer, touch football, track &and field, field hockey, lacrosse to name a few, as well as Physical Education classes. " It will also allow for winter sports. It will provide and support a higher profiled academic sports leadership; most recently with the hiring our Senior Athletics Coordinator Matt Starr," he said.
Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum were also at the ceremony as was JPPS-Bialik parent, alum and present-day board member Glenn J. Nashen with his wife Dr. Judy Hagshi.