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Rockwood’s Cole Dempster has been named a finalist in the Canadian Olympic Committee’s RBC Training Ground.



Rockwood’s Cole Dempster has been named a finalist in the Canadian Olympic Committee’s RBC Training Ground.  

The invitation comes after the 17-year-old Acton High School student made fast progress in track cycling, a sport he was introduced to through RBC’s annual cross-country talent search.

“I have done a lot of different sports over the years and recently found my passion, track cycling,” said Dempster, whose sister Madison was a former gymnast before also being identified for track cycling at RBC Training Ground in 2019.

“This is the second national final I have been invited to and I know how amazing these events are. I look forward to having the opportunity to compete at the highest level, testing my skills and abilities against top athletes and achieving my personal best.”

Now in its eighth year, RBC Training Ground is a nation-wide talent identification and athlete-funding program dedicated to finding and supporting the next generation of Canadian Olympians.

This year 2,200 athletes, aged 14-25, participated in local qualifier events across the country, performing core speed, strength, power and endurance tests in front of Olympic talent scouts to find the sport for which they are most suited.  

The top 100 deemed to have great Olympic potential will now compete in the RBC Training Ground national final on December 2nd in Toronto. Thirty athletes from the final will earn funding, a spot on Team Canada with one of twelve partner national sport organizations, and an accelerated path to the Olympics. 

Cycling Canada coach Tanya Dubnicoff, began working with Dempster after he was identified at an RBC Training Ground event in 2022.

“Cole has made a tremendous transformation in one year. With his inclusion into the National team program in May, he has benefited from top coaching and on-track training. This led to a bronze medal at the recent Junior World Track championships,” Dubnicoff said.  

“I’m glad Cole is back competing for the boost that can come with winning RBC Training Ground. He would really benefit from RBC support to help fund continuous high-performance training.”

Dempster said winning the bronze medal is one of his greatest moments as an athlete.

“After returning from Junior Worlds in Cali, Columbia, I am now determined to continue training and come back even stronger for 2024,” he said.  

“Training on the national team, is one step closer for me for fulfilling my dream of competing at the Olympics,” he said.

Dempster trains in Milton and is thankful for all the support received from family and friends.

“Everyone is so supportive. And my coach, Rob Good from my old team, was such a huge help last year. I had to really work at getting faster to qualify for Worlds. He pushed me to train harder, and I ended up qualifying,” Dempster said.

“My family is proud and my friends are really happy for me. I’m really lucky because I have such supportive teachers. I miss a lot of school because the national team hours, but my teachers have been very understanding.”

The top 100, who will have transportation, hotel and food covered by RBC, will be joined at the final by RBC Training Ground alumni and Olympic medalists.

Dempster said he is thrilled to have found his one true sport, cycling.

“What I love about cycling, after trying so many different sports, is definitely just the sprinting part of it. It's so much fun being able to go so fast, over 80 km around a track. It's such an amazing feeling,” Dempster said.

“It’s just awesome, and definitely being with my team everyday, being a part of that is really special.”

 The 30 athletes selected for funding will be announced early in 2024.

“My goal right now, is just to really focus on this. I hope to get to the 2028 Olympics and then potentially the 2032 Olympics,” Dempster said.  

“Regardless of the outcome, the experience of competing at the national final is something I will remember throughout my sporting journey.”

The complete list of 100 finalists is available at RBCTrainingground.ca

Since its inception in 2016, the RBC Training Ground program has tested 13,000 athletes at free local events across Canada, with close to 2,000 being identified as having Olympic potential. 


Miriam Snow

University of Guelph, ON

Bachelor of Computing, Honours Co-op - Software Engineering 

"I am currently in my first year enrolled in the Bachelor of Computing, Honours Co-op Major Software Engineering program at the University of Guelph. To me, Acton District School was an amazing place to spend the four most important years of a teen's life. The teachers, staff, and small-town community feel make Acton a wonderful environment to be in, and most importantly, learn in. The teachers take the time to know each student individually, and accommodate for each one’s different learning styles in order to prepare them with the necessary material for post-secondary study. While applying for post-secondary schools the staff at Acton District School were incredibly helpful, giving thorough information and answering any questions that may arise. The extra-curricular activities I participated in throughout my high school career, including SSAT, Me2We, Concert Band, Bearcat Crew, Skills Competition and the Talent Show, were great experiences and opened up many opportunities for me. As students in grade 12, and moving onto to post-secondary, directly into the workforce, continuing at the high school or other, we were all lucky to be a part of the Acton District School Community."

Ontario Champion

Congratulations to Madison Dempster who won 2 gold Provincial medals, a silver and a bronze, and also broke a Canadian record for the Women U17 200m at the 2017 Ontario Track Provincial Championships during the March 4/5th weekend. 

Alfred Piccioni 

University of Waterloo, ON

Mathematics & Computer Science 

"Acton District provided a comprehensive and detailed secondary education filled with unique experiences. Through small classroom sizes and passionate teachers, Acton High provides an experience tailored to your learning rather than to passing exams. I especially recommend the Drama department, for great experiences in teamwork and comradery,  and the Computer Science education, which is still relevant and useful nearing my third year of university." 

Brian Morris

Sheridan College, ON

Systems Analyst Program / Junior Programmer Analyst Co-Op Meridian Credit Union / Freelance Web Developer 

"When I reflect upon my journey at Acton District School, the generous support provided to me is the first thought to come to mind. In class, around the school and during extracurricular activities, every interaction I had with teachers and staff was encouraging entirely throughout each of my four years at Acton. A large element of the experiences I had during high school came from being a member of the Jazz and Concert Bands. The strongest bonds between my friends and I were created during rehearsals, performances and our remarkable trip to New York City. I participated in 3-on-3 hockey tournaments which highlighted the ability of my high school to organize creative fundraising events that allow every student to come together and participate regardless of their relationship to the sport. The size, diversity, and enthusiasm of Acton District School cultivate the best values found in its students and prepare them fully for life after high school. For example, Computer Sciences swiftly became my favourite subject as my exceptional teacher inspired me to compete in the Halton and Ontario Skills competitions for Web Development. As a Systems Analyst student at Sheridan College, a Junior Programmer Analyst Co-op at Meridian Credit Union and freelance Web Developer, I continue to share my immense appreciation and praise for the guidance and inspiration I received in my Computer Sciences courses and competitions to this day." 

Bronte Bean

Web Developer @ 180 Marketing

Graduate of Niagara College , New Media Web Design Program 

"Upon graduating from Acton District School in 2014 I set off to Niagara College and enrolled in the New Media Web Design program. My decision to study this subject comes from my learning experiences at Acton Distrcit School. After taking a combination of Computer Science, Visual Art and Communications Technology I knew I wanted to pursue a career in Web Design / Development.

Teachers helped me prepare for post secondary school, even going above and beyond to teach me skills that were not even included in the course curriculum. Starting College I felt I was more prepared than most of my classmates and I have Acton Distrcit to thank for that. 

Fast forward to 2016, I am proud to say I have now graduated from Niagara College and am currently working full time in my field as a Web Developer at 180 Marketing in St. Catharines, ON. I have many fond memories of Acton District and I will always be thankful for the experiences that helped me get to where I am today."

Sydney Hayward

Brock University, ON

Concurrent Education Intermediate / Senior (French & Math) 

"As being apart of the Acton District community for four years, I have had so many positive experiences that have helped shape who I am as a student, and a person. The teachers, staff and students all made my high school experience, the best that it could be. As I participated in Me2We, SSAT, Link Crew, the soccer team and Student Council, I can honestly say these involvements helped me reach out of my comfort zone and build my confidence. When I think back about my time at ADHS, I am grateful I had to chance to be apart of such an amazing and kind school community. Currently, I am pursuing my dream of becoming a high school French and math teacher, at Brock University. It was through my leadership class and volunteering as a math tutor that I decided I wanted to teach math. No matter where I am or what I am doing, I will always remember my time at Acton District!" 

Kaitlyn Andrews 

Graduate of University of Texas, ON

Secondary Teacher, OCT - Intermediate / Senior 

"After graduation from Acton I attended school in Texas on scholarship. The work and the teachers in the classroom prepared me for university beyond what many other student had coming into their freshman year. I was able to transition easily from high school student to university student seamlessly in my freshman year. Having come from a school where teachers expected you to study at a higher standard than basic board requirements I also had the opportunity to mentor and tutor other students throughout my time in university. I was also prepared as an athlete from my time at Acton and became a record holder in my sport at the university. Acton gives students an opportunity to get involved in as many extra-curricular activities as a person wants to from being on sports teams to being in band to being on student council to being involved in a wide variety of clubs. After graduating from university in Texas I obtained my ESL teaching qualifications and went to South Korea to teach for a year. Upon my return to Canada I started teaching in an occasional position at Acton and have been placed in many schools across the board over the past four years. I am also in my third year of coaching with the University of Toronto and have 2 CIS women's team titles with track and field." 

Jordan Lenz 

Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON

Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Lakehead University Resident Assistant 

"After graduating from Acton District in 2013, I found myself travelling a 16 hour drive away to the city of Thunder Bay - a move that, quite frankly, I would have never expected from myself coming into grade 9. 

Through my vast extracurricular involvement while a part of the Acton High student body, I gained valuable life experience through interacting with my peers and teachers. I played part in a variety of leadership roles throughout my high school career, and those transferable skills have helped me adapt seamlessly to my new community at Lakehead University.

I am currently in my third year of the four year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program where I have solidified my love for this career and have dedicated many hours to class as well as clinical opportunities. In addition to my academics, I have been a Resident Assistant with the Residence Life team for both my second and third year - which has continuously challenged me to use all of my resources and experiences to better the community around me. 

The skills and knowledge that I developed throughout my time at Acton District School has played a tremendous role in my success to both my employment as a Resident Assistant and to my future as a registered nurse. Throughout high school, thanks to my peers and teachers surrounding me, I was able to gain a tremendous amount of self-confidence and self-assurance by getting involved in my community. I believe that this new-found confidence is what lead me to find the courage to move away from the comfort of my small hometown, which ultimately brought me to the most perfect campus which I now call home." 

Lindsay Christopher 

Actress & Assistant Director

IMBD PAGE: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7892715/

"Going to school in a small town enabled me to connect with my teachers on a deeper level. They knew everyone by their name and actually cared about how you were doing in their classes, or when they saw you around.

Moving from a very small town to the heart of downtown Toronto was definitely a challenge, but I'm happy to say I was very prepared for it. 

Acton District provided me with many opportunities to further myself not only academically, but also professionally and personally. I had opportunities that not every high school is able to offer, like an internship in a local radio station and the chance to host a teachers training video for all teachers in the Halton School Board. It was in those experiences that I fell in love with being a part of productions, and learned my passion for broadcast. 

I'm very thankful for the time I spent at Acton District School. " 

Julie Holmes 

McMaster University, Hamilton ON

Honours Molecular Biology & Genetics Co-Op. Program 

"When I graduated from Acton District in 2014 (which seems like an eternity ago) I was ready to take the next step at university and say goodbye to Acton. I chose to attend McMaster University and I’m now in my third year of the Honours Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op program. When I attended Acton District I was involved with various sports such as volleyball and soccer, and clubs such as Me to We as well as the school plays. Through these experiences I learned how to be a leader and how to be confident in who I am. I was surrounded by so many people who supported me, especially the teachers, who were so genuine in caring about each and every student. The education that I gained here set me up for many successes in university (as well as failures, let’s be real here-first year Physics destroyed me).

I remember in Grade 9 I was sitting in the science room on one side of the lab benches and hearing the teacher from across the room talk about evolution to his Grade 11 biology class. Every class after I barely listened to what was being said in my own science class and was fascinated by what was being discussed in the class across from us. This moment lead to my interest in and love of the biological sciences. I was lucky enough to attend a school research trip to South Africa while at Acton, which really brought science up close and personal.

Acton District was such a great environment to help my passion for biology grow. My favourite question to ask in class was “why?” and the science teachers encouraged my questions and curiosity and helped shape who I am as a person.

Now, in university I’ve had the opportunity to learn about amazing new discoveries in biology and even conduct my own research and present my findings. I am also a representative for the Faculty of Science, where I can share my passion for my faculty with first years and prospective students looking to come to McMaster to study science.

Acton is where I was able to grow as a person, whether I was in the classroom, on the court or field, or on the stage. My four years at Acton were some of the best years of my life and gave me experiences that I will never forget. " 

Andrew Hilson 

University of London, UK

Bachelor of Arts, Honours Degree English & Philosophy  

"Acton District School was an inspiration to me. Due to the phenomenal experiences of the arts department, my perspective toward future aspirations was expanded exponentially. The crew in the Drama Department honed my skills and provided me with the opportunity to work with Soul Pepper Theatre Company in Toronto which I am still actively connected to. Also, only Acton could have given me the chance to write, direct, present and perform over six one act plays. From playing Captain Hook, to performing Shakespeare, to performing a multitude of shows with the Concert Band, Acton has it all for one interested in the performing arts, which is something I know I am very grateful for. Personally, I credit my varied experience with the Drama Department for allowing me to produce three local productions of my own.

Also, Acton District granted me an opportunity to participate in the Ontario Legislative Assembly Mock Parliament, an experience that I would not have missed.  And with the help of Acton’s teachers, I was also encouraged to run for Student Trustee at the Student Senate and attended the Ontario Student Leadership Conference in Niagara.

Currently I am in my second year at the University of London, England and have completed work in English and Creative Writing, primed by my interest in scripting at school provided by the English and Drama Departments. The school has a very close knit community providing the best interaction with staff and students, helping them to achieve their goals.  It is a place where students make life-long friends and feel part of the greater community. As I head toward my third year of University, I couldn’t imagine my life without Acton District School." 

Amit Mehta 

University of Waterloo, ON

Nanotechnology Engineering 

"What made my time at Acton District so valuable and formative was not just the school as a whole, but the teachers. staff, and community who make the place great. Unlike at larger schools, I felt that the teachers at Acton High were truly invested in my success; after all, learning is experiential, and is something that is best taught via discovery. My teachers were always quick to support my curiosity while giving me the resources to explore everything from math and science to literature and language. This taught me important critical thinking skills early on, as well as characteristics like responsibility for my own success and adaptability in tough situations. At Acton District, it was not always about the grade; it was about growth.

I'm now in my third year of Nanotechnology Engineering at UWaterloo, but moving to post-secondary has exposed me to more than just academics-- something which Acton District's teachers definitely prepared me for. I am one of four Entrepreneurs in Residence at UWaterloo, City Lead and Co-Founder at Sofar Sounds Waterloo, Startup Coach and Co-Founder at Startup Waterloo, Founder at reboot, and work as a Startup Consultant & Pitch Coach in the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as a local event organizer and product launch consultant. I've completed co-ops in everything from electrical design, to medical research, to sales and project management, and will be taking on a new role as Sales and Growth Hacker at Shopify Plus in 2018. I credit a lot of my ability to adapt and learn in new situations to the challenges my teachers encouraged me to tackle both academically and otherwise while at Acton District."