Since he graduated from the Université de Sherbrooke in 2009, Jordan Demers has always worked in special education, in one capacity or another. The physical education teacher now devotes himself full-time to the field. And as the 39th edition of the Défi Sportif AlterGo (AlterGo Sports Challenge) approaches, he hopes to pass on his passion for sport to his students at the Polyvalente Hyacinthe-Delorme in Saint-Hyacinthe, where he currently works.
“I stepped away from special education for a few years, but when I arrived in Saint-Hyacinthe (in 2016), I wanted to return to it full-time. This is where I belong. I love to get these kids moving, not only in physical education class, but through sport in general,” he explained.
As an ardent fan of physical activity himself, Demers quite naturally initiated his students to the regular practice of sport. As he explains it, many of them had never been physically active outside of their compulsory physical education classes at school. He therefore made it his goal to get them moving, both in school and in their everyday lives.
“I wanted to get them interested in playing recreational sports. As I talked to them about the options available to them, about the RSEQ, about the advantages of playing sports and being part of a team, I could see their level of interest grow. I’ve been telling them about the Défi sportif AlterGo for a while now, and they can’t wait to participate!” he said enthusiastically.
“I really appreciate my relationships with my students,” he added. “They’re very endearing. They sometimes struggle socially, but I’m able to connect with them. It’s the way I’m made. I love seeing them participate and enjoy themselves. I find it very rewarding.”
A (very) long wait
Normally, Demers attends the Défi sportif AlterGo with his students every year. Given that the last 2 editions were in virtual due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Demers’ protégées have been buzzing with excitement lately.
“The younger students, who have never participated in the event, have been hearing me talk about it for almost 3 years now. They’re really looking forward to being there and taking part in a major competition for the first time in their lives. Those who have attended in the past have taken on a mentoring role with the younger ones. They know what to expect and they’re very excited as well,” he explained.
“I’m so glad it’s back! Regardless of the medals they earn, I’m just glad they get to have this experience. Some of them have never been involved in anything so big. They’ll go home happy and proud of themselves.”
Due to the pandemic once again, Demers and his group have had to limit the number of sports the school will participate in at the Défi sportif AlterGo. Polyvalente Hyacinthe-Delorme will therefore be represented in ball hockey, basketball and volleyball.
Demers, who will be participating in the event for the 7th time, is determined to continue to provide his students with this unforgettable experience, year after year.
“It’s their Super Bowl, their Stanley Cup finals, their Olympic Games. I want to create a Défi sportif legacy. I believe it’s important for them to have experiences like this on a regular basis. It’s so good for them. It pushes them to improve every year. It’s a nice way to end the season, and it’s a great goal to have at the beginning of the year,” he concluded.