High School Rugby – February 2021

*Cowichan Valley Board of Education Partners with MacDowell Rugby Academy to Add Classes on Sport, Leadership & Rugby at Cowichan Secondary School*

Congratulations to Robin MacDowell for getting his Rugby Academy program adopted by the Cowichan Valley School District. It means students in Grades 10-12 will be able to add rugby to their regular classes. The Cowichan Valley School District media release is below.

media release from Cowichan Valley School District

Cowichan Valley, BC – The Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District is thrilled to partner with Robin MacDowell to bring the MacDowell Rugby Academy to Cowichan Secondary School starting in the 2021/22 school year.

With a proven track record of helping foster excellence in students, MacDowell Rugby Academy at Cowichan Secondary School will not only focus on building the skills for a successful career in Rugby and strong academics, but will also foster community leadership in all students.

The program is open to students of all abilities and levels in grades 10-12. In addition to regular classes, students will also take classes on the principles of sport, athletic leadership, and rugby.

“As a Board we are committed to providing the highest quality of educational experiences to our students. Offering a world-class rugby academy for students in the valley and beyond truly fits that mandate,” said Candace Spilsbury, Chair of the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley.

MacDowell Rugby strives to develop athletes and people, by giving them the tools on and off the field to support their academic, athletic, and life aspirations. The MacDowell Rugby team strongly identifies with the idea of developing an athlete to reach a potential that would otherwise be untapped. Their main goal for our aspiring athletes is to Dream big, Believe in themselves, which will ultimately help them Succeed in rugby and life!

“I am thrilled that the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District has approved our rugby program! First of all, I would like to thank International Student Program Principal Liz Hollands-Gamble for leading the initiative for the Cowichan Valley alongside her Vice Principal Kevin O’Donnell and Cowichan Secondary School Principal Darcy Hoff, they all have been instrumental in bringing this program to life. Liz was my Phys-Ed Teacher at Mt. Prevost Middle School and was the first person that lit a fire inside me and told me I could do anything I put my heart into, her impact on me at that time was life changing. As she moves onto retirement later this spring I am thankful that her last legacy was to inspire me to realize this dream to bring a fulltime academy to my hometown!” offered Robin MacDowell.

A COVID-safe student information session will be held at 11:30 am on February 17th in the Cowichan Secondary School gym for interested current students. Quamichan School students will have an information session on February 16th at lunch time in their gym. For interested families that are not able to attend the in-person event, a Zoom information session will be hosted at 7 pm on the 17th. The link for that session can be found on the Cowichan Valley School District, Cowichan Secondary School, and Quamichan School Facebook pages.

The program will run out of Cowichan Secondary School and will safely host athletes from around the world.

Registration information will be available by contacting robin@macdowellrugby.ca

About Robin MacDowell

Robin is an athlete centered coach who has been coaching sports for over 27 years. He was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley and moved to Europe at 19 years old to pursue a professional rugby career in France, and Italy. After returning to Canada he pursued his dreams of representing The Canadian 7s Team on The World Sevens Series.

Aside from being involved with rugby at every level across Canada from grassroots, age grade, club, university (Uvic/UBC/University of Regina), provincial programs (BC/Alberta/Saskatchewan), and operating his own Canadian Academy based in Saskatchewan Robin was involved with Rugby Mexico for the 5 years at the international level.

Robin has taken his 14 years in business in approaching how he operates his rugby programs. On top of leading Rugby Mexico Women to a historical Rugby 7s World Cup Qualification Robin has been fortunate to work with Rugby Canada in both the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas, the 2018 Youth Olympic Qualifying Champions in Las Vegas where the team went undefeated beating host USA in the Cup Final, Team Canada Men 7s World University FISU Games Naples, Italy, and most recently working with Rugby Canada as Lead Talent Identification Women’s National Team Program, as well as Rugby Canada Development Academy in Langford, BC. Working with two rugby nations at the same time has helped shape Robin as a coach and giving him a unique perspective of challenges and opportunities.

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