Cori Boguski has dedicated much of her life to physical fitness and wants to share the importance of moving your body with both the young and the old throughout Kitimat. (Clare Rayment photo)

Cori Boguski has dedicated much of her life to physical fitness and wants to share the importance of moving your body with both the young and the old throughout Kitimat. (Clare Rayment photo)

In Our Valley: Cori Boguski

Kitimat-born and raised, Cori Boguski has always made physical fitness a key element in her life

Cori Boguski has always made sure to keep physical fitness as a top priority in her life.

“I was always into health and fitness,” Boguski said. “I was a figure skater and I grew up figure skating here in Kitimat.”

Boguski spent many years at the arena in Kitimat growing up and always had to do extra activities and make sure she was staying in shape to stay on top of her skating.

She went to school at the University of Victoria for a Bachelor of Science, in the Human Performance strand, which she said was more like a Kinesiology degree. However, she had always been part of different fitness programs and groups around Kitimat and no longer had that out in Victoria. So, she decided it would be good to not only start taking fitness classes again, but to go even further and become a fitness instructor.

After graduating university — and becoming a fitness instructor on the side — Boguski came back to Kitimat, where her first job was teaching fitness classes at Riverlodge and around town.

“They didn’t have a lot of fitness instructors at the time, so I just started teaching everything.”

After being in Kitimat for about one-and-a-half years, Boguski decided to apply to a teaching program and an elementary school teaching certificate from Simon Fraser University (SFU). It was helpful that she was able to do it based out of Terrace, with SFU sending instructors up and only having to go to the physical SFU campus for two months in the summer.

“I was able to do my teaching practicums here in Kitimat and worked with some people that had taught me, so that was kind of interesting,” Boguski said. “And now it’s going around full circle because now I am teaching children of people that I taught when I first started teaching, so that’s a little bit crazy. But it’s pretty fun, as well.”

Boguski has moved around quite a bit in her many years teaching in Kitimat, and has taught at Kildala Elementary School, Roy Wilcox School (which is now the Kitimat CDC), Alexander School (which is the current Kitimat Valley Institute), and currently teaches at Nechako Elementary School.

She’s Taught every grade from kindergarten to Grade Seven, she’s been a resource teacher, a teacher-librarian, and has been back teaching physical education (P.E.) for last 15 years. This year, as well, is Boguski’s first year back in classroom, where she’s teaching science to Grade Five students.

“The unit I’m doing right now is actually the human body, so it’s perfect for me,” Boguski said. “Like, I know that stuff!”

She also loves her job as P.E. teacher, because she loves keeping active and seeing the students’ happy faces when they come to the gymnasium.

“Everyone loves going to the gym, so it’s a nice feeling.”

One of Boguski’s favourite parts about being a teacher is the school community and the events they get to participate in, the fundraising and charity events, especially, such as Jump Rope for Heart and Relay for Life.

“I think those are probably the times that are, not necessarily most memorable, but bringing everyone together for kind of a common cause is kind of neat to see. You know, just kids being active and having fun.”

Boguski said she works hard to make sure her P.E. classes are inclusive and enjoyable for all her students, because she doesn’t want any of them to feel like physical activity is a chore, or something to be avoided because you may not be as good at it as someone else.

“I have, you know, not nightmares, but I hear teachers’ stories about, like, ‘I hated gym. I was always the last one picked’ and things like that. And really my goal for teaching kids and being physically active is to never have that feeling,’ Boguski said.

Boguski said she just wants the students to “always just want to move their bodies, feel good, and gain confidence so that they can be lifelong movers and shakers, because it’s so important to instill that at a young age . And if they can gain the skills that they’re going to be confident and competent with, they’re going to be adults that are going to, you know, participate in all the activities that we have and, you know, just have a great life.”

Shortly after Boguski first started teaching in Kitimat, she went from full-time to part-time due to some layoffs that were happening because of low student enrolment. Because of that, she applied to work at the Fitness Programmer for the District of Kitimat to help supplement her income.

She ended up falling in love with the position and has worked as both a teacher and a fitness programmer for the past 20 years.

However, recently some changes came about and she resigned from the Fitness Programmer position to focus her attention in one direction going forward.

“Just recently, I had to choose what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I’ve gone back to full-time teaching,” Boguski said.

Boguski’s sister ended up taking over as the District’s Fitness Programmer, and Boguski still works as a contract fitness instructor when she’s needed. She said she’s happy to see that many of the programs she’s implemented over the years are continuing on, even with her no longer in the position.

“I love it. I love the people, I have taught every age from, you know, little ones in the preschool levels, all the way up to seniors. So, I enjoy all different types of community-based groups,” Boguski said. “It’s nice to see that the work that I’ve done here is continuing on.”

Several years ago, Boguski was given the B.C. Parks and Recreation Award for Fitness Programmer of the Year, and still doesn’t know who nominated her for it. She was also nominated for, but unfortunately didn’t win, an award for Fitness Instructor of the Year. Her Programmer award was presented to her at a Council meeting, and Boguski said it was a lovely feeling to be recognized for her efforts.

More recently, Boguski said she’s been trying to move her fitness to the outdoors, as well, something she hadn’t done a lot of previously.

“Living here my entire life, I frequented the indoor recreational facilities, but I didn’t do a lot of the outdoor,” Boguski said. “It’s kind of fun to see what’s in your backyard, which I had no clue until I started, you know, kind of branching out and getting beyond the four walls and out into the forest. It’s a pretty cool place to be.”

She’s been exploring many of the hiking trails in and around Kitimat, and said she’s found some she really enjoys, including Fire Mountain near Cable Car and North Cove around the Industrial Area.

“We live in such a rich recreational type of place, and I think that I just encourage everybody to make the most of our facilities, both indoor and outdoor, because it’s quite amazing for the size of community that we have, all the things we can do fitness-wise here.”

Boguski is turning 50-years-old on Sept. 26 and said her birthday wish is for everyone to get their bodies moving and enjoy all the incredible recreational facilities Kitimat has to offer. She, herself, will be spending her birthday hiking and enjoying the outdoors with a group of friends and family, keeping her body moving and active, which is what she enjoys the most.

“I just have a passion for moving the body. I think the body is an incredible machine and it has really no limits when you put your mind to it,” Boguski said. “Your body is something that you’ve carried around since birth and it’s stuck with you through all of your ups and downs, good times and bad times, and I think it’s a pretty amazing tool and something that should be celebrated and taken well care of.”

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