Irma Isaac (Grant), A Chatham-Kent Athlete Who Came baCK

Irma Isaac (Grant)

Chatham-Kent sends athletes across Ontario, Canada, and the globe each year to compete athletically.

Sponsored by baCK to Chatham-Kent, we’ll be featuring local athletes who have left Chatham-Kent, and are now baCK, living, working, and staying connected to our own vibrant sports community in CK.

This week, we feature Chatham’s Irma Isaac (Grant).

Isaac, who was born in Jamaica but moved to Chatham at age 13, won 8 Ontario University gold medals, and 9 Canadian University golds. She was named the University of Windsor’s Athlete of the Year and an All-Canadian multiple times.

Isaac who is a member of the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame, and University of Windsor Alumni Hall of Fame, is now baCK living and working in Chatham-Kent.

Here are Irma Isaac’s responses to our baCK to Chatham-Kent athletes interview:

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a town called Cornwall Mountain on the island of Jamaica. I moved to Chatham at the age of 13.

2. What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime?

My favourite Chatham-Kent pastime was attending the Festival of Nations every summer. This cultural celebration took place in the armouries at Tecumseh Park in the 80’s. It was a wonderful event where people from different cultures came to celebrate and share important aspects of their culture. I used to help my parents prepare authentic Jamaican dishes and sweet treats.

3. What did you do after high school?

After high school, I attended the University of Windsor. I earned an Honours degree in Kinesiology then I attended teacher’s college in Windsor. I ran on the university team for 5 years. The women’s team won 3 championships at the university. In the summer, I ran track with the local Kent Legion Track Club and later I ran for the Windsor Legion Club.

4. What are you doing now?

I have been teaching in Chatham-Kent for the last 27 years. I have taught in Thamesville, Dresden and Chatham. I teach elementary school. I am the president of the Canadian Caribbean Association of Chatham-Kent. The goal of this club is to showcase Caribbean culture in Chatham and promote cultural events.

5. What has made you happiest, or been the best surprise about moving baCK to Chatham-Kent?

Moving back to Chatham-Kent has been very rewarding. I am happy to see the variety of opportunities for athletes, the dedicated coaches, the local support for athletes in our community. I am happy to see that local athletes are succeeding on regional and national teams. I see that students in high schools are now able to get athletic scholarships. I am happy to see sport facilities and recreational areas that are sanctioned to host regional and provincial events.

6. What would you tell someone who is considering living in Chatham-Kent?

For someone thinking about moving to Chatham, I would tell them it is a friendly, generous community, with a great deal of diversity. It is a safe and affordable place to raise a family.

7. Why did you choose to move baCK to Chatham-Kent?

I moved back to Chatham-Kent because I had some amazing teachers in Chatham and I wanted to teach here. I was very excited to get a full time teaching job. I have close family connections and a strong church community. I also enjoy my connections with the Caribbean Community and wanted to share important aspects of my culture with future generations.

8. Describe your current sports involvement?

I have coached track and field and volleyball for the past 25 yearsI coordinate the Elementary Cross Country and Chatham area Track and Field Championship. My three children all play travel sports, so I attend their games and I coach local track athletes.

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