B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

A Lower Mainland teacher has set a new standard in field trips after he took 36 Agassiz Elementary Secondary School students on a Canada-wide Amazing Race adventure.

Science teacher Leonard Naimi spent 10 months organizing, coordinating and fundraising for a trip that had grade 11 and 12 students racing across 5,000 kilometres, three provinces and 12 cities in only 10 days. Teams of three to four students (and an adult guide) followed a series of clues across the country, taking on new feats – big and small – as they went.

The race started Oct. 31 at the school, where teams received their first clue. That day Amazing Race-ers faced six challenges including Halloween costume shopping at Value Village, a ‘smoked oysters challenge’ and navigating the Chilliwack Corn Maze, before heading to the Abbotsford International Airport to catch a 5:30 p.m. flight to Hamilton, Ont.

Upon arrival, the students took on a “massive pancake eating challenge” at Denny’s.

And that was just day one.

In Laval, Que., students got to try indoor skydiving at Skyventure Montreal. (Submitted)

Over the next nine days, teams faced everything from a poutine challenge in La Banquise and indoor skydiving in Montreal to a surprise scavenger hunt around the Parliament Building in Ottawa and rides in military tanks at the Ontario Regiment Museum.

A series of checkpoints throughout the trip not only helped guides keep track of kids, but allowed Naimi to track their time. Points were also added or taken away from teams for their completion of smaller, detail-oriented challenges like taking 40 pictures with different strangers in the Toronto Eaton Centre Mall, finding and photographing a series of monuments or locating the same book in three different libraries.

Along the way, teams had to find their own transportation and used trains, buses and rental cars to get to each checkpoint or challenge.

Inspired by the CBS TV show, Naimi has been taking students on ‘Amazing Race’s’ for a few years – his first was smaller, with teams racing across Agassiz. The second race covered more ground, taking students across seven B.C. cities. This year was Naimi’s biggest yet, and planning was no easy feat.

READ MORE: AESS students compete in an ‘amazing race’ around Lower Mainland

“I usually come up with a final destination, and then it’s all about, ‘how do I get them there?’” he said. “This year, it was the CN Tower…everything was planned around getting to that point…I’m a big fan of the TV show and I wanted to make this feel like the real thing.”

And the race didn’t just take students sightseeing – it had them exploring every nook and cranny of Canadian cities, taking on thrilling new challenges like indoor surfing in Quebec City and zip-lining in Niagara Falls.

The final challenge was as big a hurdle for Naimi – who took part in challenges alongside students – as it was for participants.

Two members from each team had to complete the Edge Walk on the CN Tower. Strapped into harnesses, participants walked the circumference of the tower, the tallest building in Toronto, a cool 356 metres (1,168 feet) above the ground.

“Some people were terrified to do some of the [challenges] but they still did them and they loved it afterwards,” said Grade 12 student Maykayla Morissette. “You’re like, ‘wow, I’ve done this before, what if I do this next?’”

Sciences teacher Leonard Naimi and AESS Amazing Race co-host Jaydin Lees pose during the CN Tower Edge Walk – one of the final challenges of the race. (Submitted)

Some challenges were less exciting, like navigating public transit and learning to work with team members in a stress-filled, high-pressure, competition. But Naimi is proud of his students and confident they now have memories and skills that will last a lifetime.

“Most of the kids won’t go into chemistry after they leave my class – I get that. So I thought, what can I actually teach them that they can take away with them once they graduate?” he recalled. “The Amazing Race gives them those lifelong lessons but it also gives them lifelong memories…and that’s something I think is more valuable than what I can teach them in class.”

Students returned Saturday and Naimi is still calculating the results of the race. He expects to determine a winning team soon. Winners or not, participating students feel they already won the jackpot by having Naimi as their teacher.

“It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and when we look back at our high school experience, we’ll say, this was it,” Grade 12 student Rionna Vander Wyk said. “Knowing our teacher planned all this for us – to benefit us…to push us out of our comfort zones. He did it all with the class in mind, it’s just super cool.”

Vander Wyk’s peer, Annalise Wilkinson, agreed.

“In chemistry I learned how to balance equations, but with the Amazing Race, now I know how I can push myself to do stuff,” she said.

Morissette said the trip “was the peak moment of her high school life.”

“Naimi is the most dedicated teacher you will ever meet and we are blessed to have him at this school.”

READ MORE: Amazing Race Canada competitors face B.C. challenge



nina.grossman@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

A shot from within Leah McDiarmid’s new gallery shows a sneak peak at June 13’s opening exhibit. (Leah McDiarmid photo)
New gallery promises engaging experience in Tofino

Tofino Gallery of Contemporary Art unveils inaugural exhibit on June 13

Louise Rodgers and Georgina Valk cup a handful of freshly sifted, nutrient-rich compost. The duo met about 10 years ago while their kids were in kindergarten. They saw a need for composting in Tofino so they founded Tofino Urban Farm Co. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino moms turn mounds of organic waste into “Black Gold”

Curbside residential and commercial compost pickup to begin in 2022 for West Coasters

(file)
Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks thanks Tofino businesses for becoming allies

Businesses say they can play a part in reconciliation by supporting Indigenous stewardship

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Ucluelet mayor and council will wait until further in-person engagement can take place before making their final approval regarding the draft OCP that went to public hearing on May 13. (District of Ucluelet photo)
Future public input session planned for Ucluelet’s draft OCP

“A couple little changes and some housekeeping items and we’ll get to it in September”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read