Pioneers: The Original 7

They were pioneers. The original seven Edge students began the grand experiment that would see Edge School grow into its own campus in Springbank, with hundreds of graduates across the world.

The seven students certainly represented Edge School’s hockey roots. Brett Steele, Richard Gilbank, Scott Finch, J.D. Watt, Mark Miller, Tyler Helfrich, and Dan Bertram were all local peewee hockey players who saw Edge as a way to improve in their sport and in the classroom. Looking back at the 1999-2000 yearbook, they also recognized they were pioneers.

Mark Miller wrote in the yearbook, “I like being the first seven to start the Edge School. And I like the quality of teaching at Edge. I like going on the ice three times a week and the high intensity practices. Both have helped my conditioning and my game of hockey.”

Scott Finch had a similar perspective, reflecting on the unique experience of attending school in the Calgary Academy building, before Edge had its own facilities. “I like that we are known throughout the Calgary Academy. I also enjoy being pioneers of Edge,” he wrote.

Growing from seven students to the more than 300 students now enrolled at Edge School each year is an amazing accomplishment. In the 1999-2000 yearbook, principal Brent Devost gave credit to the small group of students for their role in establishing a strong foundation for the school. “This year was filled with many wonderful, exciting moments, as we officially opened as The Edge School for Athletes. I could not have asked for a finer group of students, parents and staff to have as first year ambassadors of the program,” he wrote.

The “Magnificent Seven,” as they were described in the yearbook, embraced the new school’s focus on academics, athletics and character and helped build the culture that is so strong today. Strong support from their families and positive word of mouth would attract other passionate student athletes to join them at Edge.

Asked why he attended Edge, Dan Bertram (Class of 2004) responded in the school yearbook, “I love to play hockey and it is great to be able to play and go to school.”

Dan would continue to demonstrate that passion for academics and athletics. After Edge, he attended Boston College, winning the NCAA National Hockey Championship. Looking back now, Dan sees how Edge was the right choice for him. “Just like Edge, with college hockey you have an opportunity to get a really good education while playing the game you love. It’s hard to teach to young people that there is more to life than just being good at your sport. We were so fortunate at Edge to be able to get a great education, but also be able to follow the dream and the passion that we had for hockey.”

Thanks in large part to the pioneering spirit of the original seven students and their families, hundreds of other Edge students have been able to follow their passion for sport over the past 20 years. Here’s to the next 20!