A new school program, focusing on fitness and wellness for Indigenous students, is set to launch at Saskatoon’s E.D. Feehan Catholic High School.

The Miyo Machihowin Academy will include typical high school math and science classes, but will also offer specialty fitness and wellness classes, according to an announcement on Wednesday afternoon.

Scott Gay, a superintendent of the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools board, described the new program as a “school within a school.” The program will accept about 25 students, with priority given to Indigenous students.

“We will have students who are seeking an elite athlete experience, but a lot of time we want students to identify, ‘How can I set goals for myself? How can I improve?’ And so by doing this as part of their education, it will complete that,” Gay said.

More than $200,000 — most of which is from an anonymous donor — is going toward renovations and equipment for the Miyo Machihowin Academy.

Gay said the new program is aimed to improve the Indigenous graduation rate and help curb diabetes, which is also higher among the Indigenous population.

The new program is set to open for Grade 9 students in the fall.