Rick Hansen praises new direction at namesake school in Abbotsford

The "Man in Motion" was the featured guest at the Bridging the Gap forum on Wednesday afternoon

Rick Hansen greets students on Wednesday at the Abbotsford high school named for him. Hansen was at the school as a participant and guest speaker for a forum titled Bridging the Gap.

Rick Hansen greets students on Wednesday at the Abbotsford high school named for him. Hansen was at the school as a participant and guest speaker for a forum titled Bridging the Gap.

Rick Hansen said a new approach to education at the Abbotsford school named after him is “inspiring” and he looks forward to its future.

Hansen, who pushed his wheelchair on the Man in Motion World Tour from 1985 to ’87, was a participant and keynote speaker on Wednesday at the “Bridging the Gap” forum at Rick Hansen secondary.

The school recently announced it will become the province’s first science and business school this fall, preparing graduates for professional careers and success in post-secondary studies.

Classroom learning will be more reflective of life in the work world and will focus on what educators call “problem-based learning.”

Hansen praised the school for this approach.

“To be able to see the values in education be reflected in how, say, something like arts and creativity could impact business and science is really an interesting reality,” he said.

Hansen said he looks forward to seeing to how the school’s students will take “meaningful problems that exist in the world and … apply that knowledge to think creatively, to imagine a future, to engage possibilities.”

Perhaps one of these students will be involved in innovations that improve the lives of people with spinal cord injuries or even in a cure, he said.

“I can’t wait to see the potential of the Rick Hansen Secondary School and future generations.”

The forum also included 100 invited guests representing a variety of sectors who discussed ideas on how to bridge the gap between education and the 21st century workplace.