Athletes Exceptional Both On & Off Field

Last night was the high school athletic banquet and every year, it allows me to reminisce. I take a look around the room to see how the Grade 12s have matured as students, athletes and human beings since I coached them in Grade 9. At the same time, I look at the Grade 9s and wonder who will be the leaders of our sports programme when they are in their graduating year. For the Grade 10s, I try to decide who will be a difference-maker in their first year of senior sports and I think in my head which Grade 11 student-athletes will be the backbone of next year’s teams.

This year, athletic director Mr. Miller invited two alumni back for the event to present two of the awards. Lynda Vu and Jesse Kokorudz just finished their 3rd year of university as student-athletes (Lynda at McMaster as a wrestler and Jesse at Wilfrid Laurier as a rugby player) and when I asked them at the last minute if they wanted to say a few words to the crowd, they eagerly accepted (must be all that Speech Night training!). Lynda encouraged the Grade 12s to ignore all the little excuses to not be involved in collegiate sports and that she would have not been nearly as successful in her studies if not for her wrestling endeavours. Jesse took the opportunity to thank both his rugby coaches and his teachers for both his athletic and academic success at TSS/Mentor and that he continues to apply the foundational tools he learned here in the classroom and on the field.

What impressed me most about these two though, was what they did after their 5 minutes on stage. Not only were they at the event before it started, they stayed afterwards….but not, as you might think, to stand around and chat with their coaches. It was like they were back in high school again; Lynda helped the Athletic Association team cleaning up tables and Jesse rolled up his sleeves and helped with the final job of the night…rolling up the tarps.

Congratulations to all of the student-athletes who participated in Marauder Athletics this year and to the graduating students, Jesse and Lynda are great examples of how the lessons you learn in school and in sports will continue with you when you start the next chapter of your education…if you give yourself the opportunity.

Chris Starkey
Administrative Principal
Mentor College / TEAM School

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