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Oilers ICE School Celebrates 10 Years of Learning

by Andrea Goss / Edmonton Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF), Edmonton Public Schools and Northlands celebrated the 10-year anniversary of ICE School Monday along with their partnership that has captured curiosities, stimulated the imagination and encouraged hands-on learning for over a decade.

VIDEO: Ice School Feature

“ICE School was a program that we started 10 years ago in partnership with Edmonton Public Schools and Northlands,” said Natalie Minckler, EOCF Executive Director. “The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation really has an opportunity to provide some enrichment to young students’ lives and their educational initiatives here.”

ICE School is an Inquiring Minds site in Edmonton where students from Grades 2-9 get the opportunity to uproot their classroom to Rexall Place to engage in a week of learner-led, hands-on, inquiry-based learning and exploration through tours, interviews, journaling, and a host of creative activities. “We have an opportunity to run the concourse, measure the concourse, look at concession prices and allow children to learn in a real-world situation,” said Diane Gurnham, ICE School Program Coordinator.

To kick off the 10-year celebration, students from George P. Nicholson School were joined by some special alumni students in the ICE School classroom located on Level 4 of Rexall Place. Following some brief presentations, the students were then invited to participate in a session on ice making at the Zamboni entrance along with a Q & A with Trent Evans – famously known for putting the loonie under centre ice at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Finally, the students joined five other fellow ICE School classes for a special morning of skating on the Rexall Place ice surface.

“It’s an experience these children will never forget. One class that was with us this morning from George P. Nicholson School was up in the classroom and they were just so excited to be back, they had their journals open and they interviewed.” said Gurnham.

“I think the kids are extremely excited to be here, not only in terms of skating at Rexall Place where they normally watch their heroes, but really it’s a unique opportunity to bring real-world experiences to young kids’ lives,” added Minckler. “This is just one of the initiatives that the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation provides with education being one of our core pillars of support.”

Over the course of the last decade, ICE School has welcomed over 4,600 students, 780 presenters and 182 schools from across Oil Country including classrooms from Fort Saskatchewan, Hobbema, NorQuest College and the Alberta School for the Deaf. “I think it’s very important for teachers, for parents and for students to learn that learning happens every minute of every day of your lifetime. We don’t have to learn from a textbook in a classroom - that is one facet of learning - but learning can take place when you’re driving in a car, when you’re riding on a school bus or when you’re wandering around Rexall Place. Learning is always happening,” said Gurnham.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2012-13 school year. For more information on ICE School please visit

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