St. Francis Elementary “Boucle”-ing up for cycling challenge

St. Francis Elementary “Boucle”-ing up for cycling challenge
St. Francis Elementary School Principal Mark Warnholtz with fellow riders Charles-Étienne Brault and Stephanie Jonker (Photo : courtesy)

By Gordon Lambie

Every year, schools from across Quebec participate in the Grand défi Pierre Lavoie through its “energy cube challenge,” where students track their daily physical activity over the course of the month of May in the form of “energy cubes.” Eerie 15 minutes of momement equals one cube. The Grand défi as a whole, however, includes a range of other activities all aimed at encouraging a more active lifestyle, particularly among the province’s young people.
This coming June 11, three staff members from St. Francis Elementary School will be taking on the challenge known as “La Boucle,” a 135 kilometre cycling course that runs from Sorel-Tracy down the St. Lawrence River to Varennes, cross-country to Sainte-Julie and then back up the side of the Richelieu River to return to the starting point. The 5,000 cyclists who sign on to take the challenge all commit to raising funds for programs at an elementary school of their choice.
Mark Warnholtz, Principal at St. Francis, said that he brought the idea of participating up at a staff meeting based on his own past experience.
“A few years back I was a part of the RSEQ, the local regional sports authority, and they had set up something similar,” Warnholtz said, explaining that the group would participate in the Grande Defi Pierre Lavoie every year to help promote active living. In 2019 Warnholtz completed La Boucle as a member of the RSEQ board of directors, raising funds for Lennoxville Elementary School in the process. “I’ve been wanting to do it again, but of course for the last two years the event hasn’t been happening, like everything else.”
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