Keyano College is this year's recipient of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Innovation award for its partnership with a local high school on an online broadcast project.
Wade Kolmel, Sport & Wellness Director at Keyano College, accepted the award this evening at the CCAA Hall of FameBanquet in Toronto.
The Innovation award recognizes a CCAA member institution that has developed an initiative that demonstrates unique marketing, communication or technological advances in its athletic program.
"Keyano College is to be commended for their innovative partnership initiative that created successful connections between high school students and the Keyano sports teams," said David Munro, CCAA VP Sport Development. "It was a win-win situation for everyone."
Keyano partnered with Fort McMurray Composite High School and developed a program to broadcast their athletics competitions, including basketball, volleyball, soccer and hockey.
The students were trained with the equipment and process of broadcasting and received credits for their work, which was praised throughout the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference season. The program culminated with the broadcast of the 2016 CCAA Men's Basketball National Championship.
Meanwhile, the experience was also enjoyable for Keyano coaches, who had many positive interactions with the students. Even opposing ACAC coaches were impressed and regularly noted the quality of their work.
The high quality broadcasting – which resulted in some of the highest broadcasting results in Keyano history – came at a nominal impact to the Huskies Athletics budget and it became obvious early on that the high school students brought many great technological ideas to the production.
It also brought an increase in awareness of Keyano College sports at the local level. As high school students became involved in Game Day operations, their classmates attended games in support of their friends.
The program also gave many high school students, who were never involved in athletics before, some exposure to sport. Others experienced a new facet in their schooling; some of whom are now looking into broadcasting as a post-secondary education and career path.
"Giving the students from Fort McMurray Composite High School an opportunity to learn so many professional and personal skills has literally been life-alternating for some students," said Doug Nicholls, Superintendent of Schools at Fort McMurray Public School District.
"The commitment, the learning, the pride, and the service are all aspects of the program that many of our students would not have experienced without this project."
Mark Wilson, a high school teacher involved in the program, was recently awarded the school district's first ever "Innovation Leadership Award". And due to the overwhelming success of the collaboration, Keyano College and Fort McMurray High School have agreed to continue working together next season.