Maple Ridge High School Hosts Inaugural Football Match, Honors Beloved Coach Carl

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With an air of excitement and anticipation, the newly erected Maple Ridge High School in Barrie staged its premier football match this past Thursday. In its nascent third year, school officials have identified athletics as pivotal in forging a sense of unity and camaraderie within the student body.

“Football, being a universal game, has the inherent power to bring people together. Everyone has a friend cheering on the sidelines, and before long, we see our stands filled with supporters revelling in the thrill of the sport,” expressed Katie Cain, the Athletic Director of Maple Ridge.

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Building a sense of togetherness and shared goals within a school is of utmost importance. This sentiment was echoed by the Simcoe County District School Board Director of Education, John Dance. Dance is optimistic about the burgeoning community spirit he’s observed at Maple Ridge thus far.

Thursday’s match saw Maple Ridge contend with Eastview Secondary School. The occasion posed an opportunity to pay homage to Eastview’s iconic coach, Martin Carl, with his family joining the event. Coach Carl, who sadly passed away in 2020, had dedicated three decades of his life to high school athletics.

Observing the game, Eileen, Carl’s widow, noted, “It was never just about the game. Martin truly believed in being a part of the community. School was not only about academics to him but also about being a part of something larger, a club, a team. He emphasized on volunteering and fostering a sense of community.”

Mackenzie Piotrowski, Martin’s daughter, elaborated the coach’s involvement, highlighting his nurturing nature. The legacy of his caring spirit was enforced by the Athletic Director Cain, who remembered Martin as her mentor and a figure who created an ambiance of positivity at all times.

Interestingly, the man of the hour, Coach Carl, was instrumental in Maple Ridge acquiring an artificial turf field last year – one of the exclusive facilities in Barrie of its kind. People who were familiar with Martin unanimously agree that his modus operandi was to prioritize his students. He epitomized the spirit of unpaid work, making amateur sports a reality.

“Martin was steadfastly ready to offer support to the students. While sports served as a medium, his real mission was the development of young minds,” opined Dance.

Fighting tears, Eileen recalled, “One of the defining features of Martin was his practice of ‘others before self.’ He was ceaselessly dedicated to transforming lives.”

As part of their attendance at the inaugural football match at Maple Ridge, the students, and their families were encouraged to make a goodwill donation of five dollars. All the contributions collected went to the noble cause of the Terry Fox Foundation.