OFSAA and members of the Brian Maxwell Memorial Scholarship Fund were on hand for a special awards reception with the six honourees and their families in Stouffville, Ontario on August 12th.
Please meet the worthy recipients of the 2022 Brian Maxwell Memorial Scholarship below.
These student-athletes, with a track and field or cross country pedigree in high school, will continue their post-secondary education at a Canadian college or university. The scholar-athletes display qualities of honesty, integrity, compassion and an unwavering quest to accomplish the best academically and athletically while supporting fellow team members. These were all qualities of Brian Maxwell. Each recipient will receive $5,000.
The scholarship fund is in memory of Brian Maxwell, a successful distance runner. Brian competed in track and field and cross country and achieved success as an OFSAA champion, and a Canadian junior, juvenile and senior champion. In 1980, he was selected to the Canadian Olympic team and later became a successful entrepreneur who, with his wife, Jennifer, co-founded the nutritional supplement PowerBar.
Brian was born with a defective heart valve and in 2004, at only 51 years of age, died of a heart attack.
OFSAA is proud to offer the Brian Maxwell Memorial Scholarship each year to support students continuing their education in Canada.
Please check out the short video honouring the history of the award and the legacy of Brian Maxwell HERE.
Meet our exceptional 2022 recipients:
Hailey Abbott is graduating this year from Collingwood Collegiate and will be heading to the University of Victoria, where she will be taking General Sciences.
Hailey’s coaches rave about her leadership and dedication, whether it be in cross country running, track and field, swimming, nordic skiing, or ultimate frisbee. She qualified in both cross country and track and field, with her best result being a fifth-place finish in her novice (Grade 9) year in the 1500m. She also placed seventh in the 3000m that year. In cross country the previous fall, she placed sixth individually and led her team to a third-place finish. In her grade 10 year, she was 29th individually and helped her school place second in the team standings. She also had podium finishes in nordic skiing at OFSAA. Like many kids, the pandemic and subsequent cancellation of events prevented her from competing during the latter part of her grade 10 year and much of her grade 11 and 12 school year.
Hailey was a member of the Athletic Council at her school, a group that helped oversee and run intramurals. She was also a part of the school Link Crew, which helped with the transition of incoming Grade 9’s to high school, as well as a peer tutor. She was on the planning committee for the Relay for Life for their school. Thus far, they have raised over $55,000 for the cause!
In her community, she has been a swim coach volunteer and a part-time job. She also was a lifeguard and volunteered at a local multi-sport camp and a ‘Fit-girl’ Camp, where she helped encourage young females, aged 10-14 on the importance of fitness and a healthy body image.
The environment and climate change are causes near and dear to her, having been born on Earth Day. She will continue to be involved in causes like this when she enrols at university.
Claire Brackenbury, from Kingston Secondary School, has demonstrated great resilience throughout the pandemic. She is a songwriter and one line from one of her songs describes her character: “Every dark cloud has a silver lining – it’s just hard to find some days”. It speaks to her positivity in all aspects of her life. Running, to her, has been that silver-lining.
Claire referenced Brian Maxwell in her application, citing the entrepreneurial spirit that Brian and Jennifer Maxwell had in their development of PowerBar. Claire created a small business, called Heartfelt Cards and donates 15% of the profits to mental health initiatives at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
While competing for KSS, she made OFSAA in both cross country and track and field. She qualified in grade 9 and was 26th this past fall in the Senior Girls Division, helping her school capture the OFSAA Gold Medal! Her sole appearance in OFSAA Track and Field was in grade 9 and she was 21st in the 800m.
Claire is heavily involved in school activities, ranging from Equity and Diversity Club, Relay for Life, and Athletic Council to Link Crew to welcome incoming grade 9’s. She also found time to play volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and soccer.
In her community, she volunteered at Rideaucrest LTC as an aide and as a musician, where she organized a concert for three different long-term care home residents. She has also volunteered at numerous youth camps in various capacities.
Claire loves writing songs and poetry, along with felting, which is the business she created. She has written and released a 16-song album, entitled “Silver Lining”, with the goal to find hope among adversity we all encounter on our respective paths of life.
Claire will be attending Queen’s University this fall, where she will be enrolled in Concurrent Education.
Sarah Cullinan of Superior CVI in Thunder Bay will be attending the University of Calgary this fall, where she will be taking Exercise and Health Physiology.
Sarah is a unique athlete. She had third, fifth, and 12th place finishes in her three OFSAA Cross Country Championships she was able to attend. She had first and second place finishes in distance events in her association (NWOSSAA) but did not attend OFSAA Track and Field.
While a very accomplished cross country runner, she is even more impressive as a Nordic Skier. Sarah represented Canada at the World Junior Nordic Ski Championships in Norway this past February, after winning the Canadian Junior title. She has been named to the Canadian National Ski Team Developmental Program where she will be combining her schooling and nordic ski development.
Academically, Sarah is a part of the I.B program at her school. This program is very demanding and requires a great deal of time-management and skill to excel to the expectations it requires. Sarah has demonstrated throughout her academic career that she can meet those expectations and excels both in and out of the classroom.
Her teachers and her coaches cite her leadership and commitment to each and every sport she participates in, whether it be nordic skiing or cross country running.
Around her school, she has been involved in her school graduation committee and the environmental club.
Outside of school, she has sat on MP Patty Hajdu’s Youth Council, meeting with young people and helping them in a variety of ways, from engaging youth in the political process to mental health issues.
We certainly look forward to seeing her compete for Canada in the future!
Dylan Ferri fell in love with running when he entered high school. He has excelled at it ever since, achieving some great results at the OFSAA Championships in both track and field and cross country.
In his very first OFSAA cross country meet in grade 9, he placed 155th. Through this love for running, he worked hard and improved tremendously from that point on. In Track and Field in grade 9, he was fifth in the 1500m and 13th in the 800m. Pre-pandemic, his grade 10 cross country result was 20th. Post pandemic, he was 12th this past season and he capped off a wonderful high school career with two 5th place finishes in the 1500m and 800m, respectively this past June! It should be noted that his coaches had so much faith and trust in him, that they appointed him to coach the distance runners as well!
He even sat on a committee during the pandemic within his school’s Board of Education to try and organize a virtual competition for running!
Dylan has been involved in a number of sports during his high school career, including basketball and volleyball. He has played community hockey and been involved in club track and field as well.
Outside of school, Dylan has volunteered at soccer and music camps to provide some variety in his life and give back to others. He is, as he describes, fully committed to running and improving each and every day.
He is attending the University of Guelph this fall, where he will be taking Biomedical Engineering and running for the Gryphons.
Gaetano Pocchi of Neil McNeil HS will be taking his talents to the University of Guelph, where he will be enrolled in Kinesiology and running for the Gryphons.
Gaetano has quite an impressive list of accomplishments at OFSAA on his resume. At the most recently completed OFSAA Track and Field Championship, he was fifth in the 3000m and fifth in the 1500m. At cross country last fall, he placed fourth and helped his school win OFSAA Gold in the team standings. He also was 10th and 11th in grade 10 and grade 9.
His running accomplishments, as impressive as they are, do not solely define him. He distinguished himself around his school and his community through his involvement in a number of other areas.
At school, he was a part of the Athletic and the Leadership Council. The Athletic Council helped run intramurals pre-pandemic and the leadership council was a Board run program looking at ways to encourage students to develop leadership and character.
In his community, he volunteered at a church camp, where he worked with younger people in a variety of tasks. He also has worked at various track and field meets in a variety of capacities to gain experience in all facets of the sport.
He loves cinematography, music, and F1 car racing, to name but a few of his interests outside of running. He has been recognized by his school for his skills in the area of communication technology-video.
Lastly, Gaetano uses Brian Maxwell’s legacy as a guiding principle in his life, to be the best he can be to overcome any adversity he may encounter.
Jack Lehto of Assumption Catholic SS in Burlington cites Brian Maxwell as a motivating influence upon his learning more of Brian’s legacy. Jack came to love running once he entered high school and, like Brian, he has embraced the opportunity he was given and has worked hard to be the best runner he can be, all the while making life-long friends and growing through this sport.
Jack showed steady improvement in cross country, beginning in grade 9 where he placed 29th at OFSAA. In grade 10, he was 12th and after the pandemic cancelled grade 11, he was sixth this past OFSAA Championship. In track and field, he capped off a great high school career with a ninth-place finish in the 1500m and sixth place finish in the 3000m this past June.
He is a well-rounded student-athlete, who has participated in a variety of sports and taken part in other activities to help him grow as a person. He joined his school swim team this past year and having never swum competitively before, won his region title. He also joined the school Model UN team to improve his confidence as a public speaker as well as to learn about different world issues.
Other activities he is most proud of include his volunteer hours. He has over 233 hours of community service in activities with his track and field club, special needs camp counsellor, guide dog program, and as a sailing instructor.
Some of Jack’s other interests are in robotics and coding – two very unique skills for the modern world we live in.
Jack will be attending the University of Guelph this fall for Mechanical Engineering and will be vying for a spot on the Gryphons’ Cross Country Team.