Cascades to the Caribbean

The University of the Fraser Valley Cascades women’s basketball team travels to Antigua in May to participate in a training camp and play several exhibition games against local post-secondary teams.

The Cascades will be led by UFV kinesiology and physical education instructor Joanna Sheppard, who is making her third trip to the Caribbean to teach a course called  Champions for Health Promoting Schools.

It is a program that brings student teachers from Canada to schools in Antigua/Barbuda for a four-week period. This is the sixth year in which students have worked side by side with local educators.

They promote health education in innovative and effective ways that:


l Enrich the quality of teaching and learning in classrooms.

l Help students see opportunities to play leadership roles at school and in the community.

l Relate school work to care for self, others, and the environment.

l Integrate skills for reading, music, drama, storytelling and art with health promotion

l Build bridges between community health projects and school projects, for example, safe communities and environmental protection.


Sheppard leads a team of student teachers who volunteer in classrooms.

Their job is to raise awareness of how education and health work together to improve the lives of young people. They model new teaching methods that energize students’ imagination, curiosity, ambition and talent.

They also involve community partners such as Red Cross, hospitals, planned parenthood and the police in classroom activities.

The Antiguan students learn to take better care of themselves and others.

They learn about the roles they can play as leaders, young citizens, helpers and care providers and they apply what they are learning to decisions about health at home and in the community.

Finally, they learn to respect each other, take pride in their work, build knowledge and skills, develop creative solutions to today’s problems and approach the future with optimism.

The Cascades will be in Antigua for approximately 10 days, marking their second international voyage under the guidance of head coach Al Tuchscherer.

Tuchscherer took the Cascades to China for 17 days in the spring of 2004, making stops in Chegdu and Beijing.

“I am looking forward to the post-season trip to Antigua,” Tuchscherer said.

The Cascades currently have four Chilliwack natives listed on the roster; Nicole and Sarah Wierks, Courtenay Bartel and Alexa McCarthy.

Their team finished the 2010-11 Canada West regular season with a 12-12 record and went on to earn a berth in the Canada West Final Four, sweeping the University of Winnipeg  in two straight games to earn a berth in the inaugural CIS Regional National tournament.

Get more UFV basketball information  online at

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