Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations

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Character Athlete Award Winners 2015-16

Saturday, June, 18, 2016

Character Athlete Award 2015-16

OFSAA’s Character Athlete Award celebrates the efforts of the exceptional student-athletes in Ontario who best exemplify the characteristics that OFSAA is founded on.

Nominations come to the OFSAA office detailing the exceptional character of student-athletes across Ontario, inspiring those around them with their involvement on the playing field and in the classroom, in both school and the community.

Beginning in 2015-16 the Character Athlete Award comes with a $1000 scholarship from our partners at Josten’s, towards studies at a Canadian post-secondary institution.

Selecting just one boy and one girl recipient of the OFSAA Character Athlete Award is never easy, but the following two individuals stood out.

Samantha Despond

Nominated by Phil Hunks

Samantha is a Grade 12 student at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario where she is an active member of many school organizations as well as athletic teams that she persevered to be a part of.

After a serious shoulder injury took her out of the pool, determination allowed this promising swimmer to return to the water. After being forced to sit out all sports in Grade 9 while recovering Samantha began to run cross country in Grade 10 but was again sidelined for back surgery.

Finally healthy, and better than ever, Samantha blew away the competition winning the 2015 Senior Girls 1500m City Championship in Track & Field. Then after four years on dry land she churned the water to qualify for two OFSAA swimming events and placed fifth overall in the 100M individual medley.

“Although this wasn’t a medal finish the St. Mary school community was impacted by the courage, perseverance and determination she displayed to fulfill her dream of representing her school and swimming her best at OFSAA in her graduating year,” said her coach Phil Hunks.

Samantha served as assistant coach of the swim team all four years despite not being able to compete, was a member of the Healthy Action Team at St. Mary, and played a huge role with the Robotics team initiating and conducting special events and mentoring robotics rookies.

For overcoming adversity and pursuing her passion Samantha has earned the title of OFSAA Character Athlete.

Honourable Mention

  • Emily Wesseling
  • Madison Wilson-Walker
  • MacLean Press

 

Michael Bedarev

Nominated by: Bryan McAlpine

Michael is a Grade 12 student at Monarch Mark Collegiate in Toronto, Ontario whose involvement in school sports teams didn’t stop with his own athletic pursuits, instead inspiring physical participation throughout the school.

Taking on a leadership role, Michael created and implemented a “house” system at Monarch Park that generated an exciting intramural program and much more school spirit.

A respectful role model in the school to students and teachers alike, Michael was captain of the hockey team, libero for the volleyball team, learned and adapted to become vice captain of the cricket team, assistant captain of the ultimate Frisbee team, and a member of the table tennis and swimming teams as well.

Michael also represented his school as Head of Household for the athletic council, spirit chair of student council, editor and contributor to the parental newsletter, a Grade 9 mentor, and served in his community as a hockey coach, camp counselor, hospital tour guide and many other volunteer and charity opportunities.

“Michael’s greatest attribute cannot be found on a resume or a transcript,” said his teacher-coach Bryan McAlpine. “What sets him apart from other high achieving students is that he is a tremendously genuine and well-rounded person.”

For demonstrating OFSAA’s values of leadership, commitment, respect, equity and growth Michael has well earned the title of Character Athlete. Congratulations!

Honourable Mention

  • Thomas Walser
  • Evan Bodnar
  • Ethan Swailes

 

Past Recipients