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Tootoo Educates Local Middle School

by Jena Smith / Nashville Predators
Rita Cochrane, the world geography teacher at David Lipscomb Middle School is very passionate about her job and her students; she also has a passion for the Nashville Predators. A few years ago Rita found a way to combine the two.

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“I still to this day have in my files an article from 2003 when Jordin (Tootoo) first came to Nashville. In it Jordin talked about his life in Northern Canada. We talk about the cultures around the world in class and ever year when we talk about Canada I pull that article out about Jordin growing up in Rankin and read it to my students.”

Nashville Predators forward Jordin Tootoo is a native of Rankin Inlet in Northern Canada. On October 9, 2003 Tootoo became the first player of Inuit descent to play in a regular season NHL game. Tootoo is very proud of his heritage and is eager to teach others about his culture.

“It’s always an honor to educate people about where I come from and the kinds of things we do back home. We are very traditional and try to stay true to our roots. I like to tell kids to stay true to where they come from” Tootoo explains.

Cochrane and her students wanted to give Tootoo a special invite to come speak about his culture at Lipscomb. Last spring while the middle school was on a trip to the St. Louis Arch, 22 students laid in the grass and made a human 2 -2. Cochrane, from high above in the arch took a picture of the students to create a very special and personalized invitation.

“We wanted to show Jordin he was our favorite Nashville Predator,” Cochrane went on to explain.

After speaking with and answering questions from the 7th and 8th grade students, Tootoo was then presented a large, framed picture of the 22 made by the students he had just spoke to.

Cochrane admitted that she is a huge Nashville Predators fan, but this was an amazing education opportunity for the students.

Tootoo agreed that this was an opportunity for him not only to get into the community to give back to the fans that have supported him from day one but also a great way to educate. “The main reason I came here was to talk a little about where I come from. The students have done some research about Northern Canada. I think it’s great that they are taking the time to learn about the artic and I think it is something that more and more students should learn about.”

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