St. Josephs High School is looking to carve out its athletic niche with a one of a kind baseball academy in Red Deer.
“As a new school community, we are excited about the possibility of being able to offer a baseball academy that would be a benefit for our students,” Vice Principal Teresa Borchers said. “We believe there is a need and a desire for a baseball academy in Central Alberta and we would love to be part of that endeavour.”
The school is hopeful, after earning initial approval from the Red Deer Catholic School Board, that the new academy can begin operations as early as next September.
“We are moving forward with the next steps,” Borchers said. “We are hoping to have a parent information session at the end of January to provide information to parents who may be interested in having their child part of this experience.”
Borchers said interest in this project stemmed from a desire in the community. St. Josephs also has the luxury of their large field house, which can accommodate baseball training out of season.
“We have many students and children within the City of Red Deer and surrounding communities who love baseball,” she said. “They would love the opportunity to continue to develop their skill level and enhance their love of the game. This would give them the opportunity to play year-round and not just in the spring, summer and a little in the fall.”
With approval, the school can now focus on what they want to offer at their academy in order to suit the needs of the community.
“We have a few different models after looking at models across the province,” Borchers said. “We are trying to find a model that best suits our needs as a school community, as well as the students and families in Red Deer.”
With two high Catholic high schools in Red Deer, baseball athletes would have the opportunity to choose to go to St. Josephs regardless if their feeder school goes to Notre Dame High School.
“We would welcome any student who is interested in playing baseball,” she said.
Borchers said they are also looking at forging partnerships with Red Deer Minor Baseball and the Red Deer Rage softball clubs
“We are thinking about baseball for boys and softball for girls,” she said. “It is a possibility that both of those organizations could be part of this journey and we have reached out to Baseball Alberta to gather insight.”
Currently there are no baseball diamonds at St. Josephs, so outdoor play would have to be through partnerships until diamonds are built on campus.
Athlete development at the academy would be based on guidelines set down from Baseball Canada.