LCA Making News
Orleans Star: Small school, Big heart
February 16, 2012,-big-heart/1

The Life Christian Academy Saints basketball team. (Photo: Provided)

Published on February 16, 2012 
Catherine Kitts  
The Life Christian Academy Saints basketball team. (Photo: Provided)

Life Christian Academy turns heads

Orléans private school, Life Christian Academy, may only have 60 students and no gymnasium, but that's not stopping their basketball team, composed of local residents andinternational students,  for a shot at getting noticed.

After beating out St. Paul's last week, the the LCA Saints marched to the Falcon Classic Championship where they won 71-57 against Sun Youth from Montreal. They've also defeated large schools like St. Matthews High School, a number one east division AA school.

Principal, Mike Karpishka credits the overwhelming success of the school's team to coach Silbert "Ray" Evans, a certified executive chef and a pastor with a PhD in theology from West Indies School of Theology and his 17 year old assistant coach, Lea Marte, who along with a handful of kids from the Bahamas decided to risk everything and move to Ottawa and give a school with no sports program a chance to be noticed.

"It actually happened by accident," said Karpishka who explained that Evans called the school by mistake, when looking for one with the same name in the States. Evans wanted to find a home for some players from the Bahamas so they'd have a chance to be recognized on a North American stage. "My wheels instantly started turning, and I said, 'Why don't you come here instead?'"

The choice, has proved to be a good one so far, with a couple of the players already receiving offers for full scholarships to American Colleges such as Union College, East Central Community College, Rocky Mountain College, Madison College, Salt Lake College as well as some invitations pouring in from Canadian Schools like Sir Wilfred Laurier University  in  Waterloo, and the University of New Brunswick.

Despite budgetary restraints, Karpishka's goal is to give these boys a shot in life by helping get them noticed. "These kids have serious talent, and if we can help them to get noticed then we're doing our job," he said.

With no gym in the school, Karpishka explains that the team has to practice at the local YMCA. "Some of these international students had never seen snow before, and now they're trudging through it to practice at five am," he laughs. But for this team, that's only been one of the challenges, "We are competing against schools with big budgets, large staff and facilities we could only dream of having," he said. 

The team's next goal is a shot at OFSAA in a cross Canada tour hoping to establish Special Sports Related Camps for First Nations Communities, with a stop to play a basketball tournament at the 100 Year Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede, where Karpishka has been a children's entertainer for the past six years.

"We may be small, but we're mighty. Our school is like a family and I wouldn't have it any other way."