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Local businesses boost student engagement, learning with hands-on opportunitiesDecember 17, 2013 Category: NewsBack to News Page

Eastview students develop ideas for new terrain park components at Horseshoe Resort

Horseshoe Resort will add to its terrain park this month, and the new rails are based on designs created by students in the Business Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program at Eastview Secondary School in Barrie. The students were challenged to come up with ways the resort could recycle metal from an old chair lift into new, usable equipment for the park. Eastview students will be at Horseshoe Resort for the installation of their rail designs on Dec. 19. The installation will be completed in time for Horseshoe Resort’s Rodeo Rail Jam on Dec. 21. 

“The staff at Horseshoe challenged the creative mindsets of students by encouraging an innovative approach to solve a workplace problem,” says Dana Barakauskas, Principal, Eastview Secondary School. “These types of hands-on learning opportunities are incredibly valuable. We appreciate the support of local businesses.”

“This is a win-win for us,” says Jonathan Reid, Director: Partnerships & Events at Skyline Horseshoe Resort. “Not only is it a chance to give back to our local community, but we were able to tap into the creativity of these students and they suggested some ideas we hadn’t yet thought of.”

The business challenge is part of a pilot project called ICE (innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship). Eastview is one of a few secondary schools in Ontario to pilot the ICE project, which stemmed from the release of the Jobs & Prosperity Council’s Advantage Ontario report and Great to Excellent: Launching the Next Stage of Ontario’s Education Agenda by Michael Fullan. Both reports highlight the need for the continued development of entrepreneurial skills in youth, specifically creativity and innovation.

Also as part of ICE, students participated in a Spark workshop facilitated by Chad Ballantyne, owner of The Creative Space in Barrie. Spark includes a range of hands-on learning opportunities designed to build students’ entrepreneurial skills.

Spark is infused with differentiated opportunities that allow students to direct their own learning journey based on their skills and interests,” says Chad Ballantyne, owner of The Creative Space. “We challenge students to think creatively to find solutions to various problems.”

About SHSM programs
Partnerships with local businesses and organizations, industry certifications and other hands-on opportunities are central to the SHSM programs offered in the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB). Students can start the programs in Grade 11. For more information about SHSM programs, visit your local SCDSB secondary school or
About Horseshoe Resort
Horseshoe Resort, named for the horseshoe-shaped series of hills in which the resort is nestled, is located north of Barrie, less than an hour away from the Greater Toronto Area. The resort is the ultimate place for adventure, offering an extensive Adventure Park, two award-winning golf courses, 29 ski runs, six lifts including the new beginners carpet lift, expanded Terrain Park and nearly 40km of groomed Nordic and hiking trails. Horseshoe also offers learning programs through Horseshoe MultiSport Academy, Yamaha Riding Adventures, Segway Adventures, Treetop Trekking and more. The Inn at Horseshoe boasts 101 rooms, a conference centre, upscale dining at Silks Dining Lounge, and the top-rated Shizen Spa, which blends the latest holistic techniques with classic spa treatments. For more information, visit

About The Creative Space
The Creative Space is Simcoe County's one and only coworking space. It is open to start-ups, freelancers, students, digital artists and those who can work anywhere but choose to gather to collaborate, socialize, teach, learn, play and work. A self-sustaining local business and arts community centre – one which acts as a hub of activity for anyone with an independent disposition and a beacon for those who seek a chance to build great things alongside the city’s best and brightest. Together we’re building an affordable place where people can work happier, be more successful and thrive. Visit for more.


Justin van Diepen, Instructional Resource Teacher - Cooperative Education and SHSM, Student Success, 705-734-6363 ext. 11465
Dana Barakauskas, Principal, Eastview Secondary School, 705-728-1321
Katie Thomas, PR Manager, Skyline Hotels & Resorts, 416-700-9399,
Chad Ballantyne, Owner, The Creative Space, 705-812-0689,