Built six years ago, and serving 1800 students on the west side of Calgary, Ernest Manning is a modern school, in every sense of the word. In addition to core subjects, the school has a wide range of programs, from broadcast journalism to robotics and even yoga.
Broadcast journalism, robotics and yoga are just of the few of the unique courses offered to students at Calgary’s Ernest Manning High School.
The original facility, built in 1963, was demolished in 2011 to make way for the west leg of the LRT. A replacement school with the same name opened in the southwest neighbourhood of Springbank Hill that same year.
The new Ernest Manning offers students courses that many other schools do not.
“High school is different now,” media, design and communication arts teacher Brendan McDermott said.
McDermott supervises broadcast journalism students who produce a three-minute newscast every school day.
“We learn how to properly write a script, and you learn the different aspects of journalism, like the different ethics and the different ways the journalism communicates to people,” Grade 11 student Katie McMartin said.
“It helps people know information about the school that not everyone would really know,” she added.
“It’s a step up from the announcements that we used to have, just because it has that visual component,” Grade 11 student Fraser Lamb said.
Lamb said the newscast, called EM Daily, was something he wanted to be a part of from Day 1.
“When I first heard about it, I knew that it would spread school spirit, it would bring the school together, and invoke a sense of school community… so I wanted to be a part of that initiative.”
Unlike the broadcast journalism students, who start their day at 7 a.m., the Ernest Manning robotics team does most of its work after school.
In January, they were tasked with building a robot in just six weeks. It meant a lot of long days.
“We are here every single day, five days a week, for four hours a day until eight o’clock, after school,” Grade 12 student Drew Ingelson said.
The reward for their hard work was the recognition their mechanical creation drew at an international robotics competition.
“We did pretty well,” Ingelson said. “We came third place this year, which is one of the best we’ve ever done.”
For Grade 10 student Kelly de Chastelain Finnigan, it’s not about winning or losing, she’s looking to the future.
“I have thought more seriously about going into engineering or programming based on what I have done here on the team,” she said.
Meanwhile, the yoga course is what has benefited Grade 11 student Hanan Mohammed the most.
“We had different types of breathing exercises that helped me during tests and stuff,” she said. “I usually stress out a lot, so for me to take a moment and catch up with my breath helped me more focus on my schooling and exams.”
Another yoga enthusiast, Grade 11 student Katia Novogrudsky, hopes to take yoga outside of the school.
“I’m looking into the mentorship program that we’re working on developing right now,” she said. “It’s not only working with athletes, but it’s also working with elementary students.”
“If the program will happen then we’ll be going around to elementary schools around Calgary and we’ll be teaching kids yoga too.”
There are many other programs offered at the school, and McDermott said they’re all about helping students realize their potential.
“Ernest Manning is really all about the students. Every single program that we offer here is really looking at empowering them and making 21st century learners.”
“The world is changing and our school is doing everything possible to support them and their growth for the future ahead,” McDermott added.