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HIGH ACHIEVERS: OFSAA comes to the rescue for high school students, offering athletic virtual challenges

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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

OFSAA will offer online sports competition this season, including a volleyball pass and volley contest. File photo

By Martin Cleary

Ontario high school students have been faced with major academic challenges this fall, studying in spacious classrooms with fewer of their peers or doing it remotely from home. But OFSAA has developed a challenge they may like and enjoy.

In an effort to get the students active physically and mentally, the Ontario association which governs high school sports devised the OFSAA Virtual Challenges for a school or a team/class, or an individual to earn points and prizes.

The opening fall Virtual Challenge is a three-kilometre cross-country test by walking, running or using a wheelchair. Decide which of the three options is best for you and record your time in minutes and seconds.

Make sure your student-leader and teacher-coach verify your time and then have your individual or average team/class time submitted by the teacher-coach. But hurry on this one because the cross-country deadline is Friday, Nov. 20.

If you can’t take part in the cross-country test, you still have time for the basketball free-throw percentage challenge. Take 50 free throws with a ball at a basket 15 feet away, count your successful shots and determine your percentage. Deadline is Dec. 5.

During the course of the school year, there also will be challenges in volleyball (pass and volley), golf and field hockey (30-second bounce challenge), and football (throw and kick).

“In an effort to provide safe, accessible and affordable activities for students and teachers with a focus on participation and well-being,” OFSAA is staging physical and mental challenges to help students balance and bolster their lives.

By completing a challenge, students not only earn points for their school, but also for their team/class (which can have a name) or an individual entrant. Top point scorers receive prizes in three classes: Overall school, overall team/class and overall individual.

Each school will have a student-leader to promote the challenge, make sure rules are followed and submit the results. A teacher-coach will supervise, confirm the results are accurate and ensure the activity follows health and safety protocols because of COVID-19.

There are two ways to play: teams or classes can be formed or individuals can participate on their own. They are responsible for organizing when, where and how the challenge plays out and share all safety concerns related to the challenge.

Challenges can be done at home or at school, the results must be placed on a submission form with the teacher-coach and submitted before the deadline.

Every school earns one point for each student who participates in a challenge. The grand prize of an eight-foot scoring table from The Scoreboard Man will be awarded to the school which has the most participation and overall points.

Ten points are awarded for every team or class that takes on a sporting challenge. The top team or class will receive a sports equipment prize pack courtesy of Molten, Yonex and Baden.

If a student decides to accept a virtual challenge, he or she will receive 25 points for completing the assignment. The winner will earn an apparel pack sponsored by The OFSAA Shop and courtesy of Canuckstuff.

And there’s more recognition, too. The top four participants (first name only) and top four teams or classes (team name only) will be announced through OFSAA’s social media platforms.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 47 years. The Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree “retired” from the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but has continued to write his High Achievers column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at

Martin can be reached by e-mail at and on Twitter @martincleary.

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