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Congratulations Character Athletes!

May 22, 2024 | Awards, Recognition

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 from across the province. This year’s recipients inspire those around them with their involvement on the playing field and in the classroom, in both school and community.

To learn more about the award and the process to apply please go to https://www.ofsaa.on.ca/recognition/scholarships/character-athlete-award

Selecting just two females and two male winners from the over 100 submissions is not an easy task, but these four individuals stood out for their commitment to OFSAA’s values of leadership, equity, respect and sportsmanship. Each winner will receive a $500 grant from Baron Rings, a commemorative plaque and a Baron ring to recognize this outstanding achievement.


Le Prix d’esprit sportif de la FASSO récompense les efforts d’élèves athlètes exceptionnels en Ontario qui incarnent les valeurs fondamentales de la FASSO.

La FASSO reçoit des mises en candidature détaillant le caractère exceptionnel d’élèves athlètes de partout en province, qui inspirent leur entourage par leur participation aux sports scolaires et leur implication scolaire et communautaire.

Sélectionner seulement deux femmes et deux hommes gagnants parmi plus de 100 candidatures est une tâche difficile, mais ces quatre personnes se sont démarquées par leur engagement envers les valeurs de leadership, d’équité, de respect et d’esprit sportif de l’OFSAA.

Merci à notre commanditaire, Baron Rings, d’avoir décerné une bourse de 500 $ à chacun de nos deux lauréats.

Baron Logo

Gwen Appiah Headshot

2023-24 Female Recipient: Gwen Appiah

Nomination by:  Nick Vescio

Gwen Appiah, a 12th-grade student at James Cardinal McGuigan High School (TDCAA), is a shining example of leadership, excellence, and advocacy both on the track and within her school community.

As a dedicated athlete, Gwen has excelled in track and field, showcasing her talent and determination. Her achievements as a TDCAA Champion in the 100m and high jump, along with her success in various other events, highlight her athleticism and competitive spirit. Gwen’s role as the anchor on the 4x100m relay team reflects her reliability and leadership on the track, contributing to her team’s success year after year. On the school’s 2023 flag football team, Gwen was the main weapon on offence.

Beyond athletics, Gwen’s impact extends into various clubs and initiatives within the school community. As the founder of the Girls Fitness Club, she has created a supportive environment for female students to engage in physical fitness, promoting health and well-being. Additionally, her involvement in the Book Club and Safe Space Inclusivity Club demonstrates her commitment to fostering intellectual growth and creating spaces of inclusion and acceptance for all students.

Gwen’s leadership extends beyond her school’s walls through her involvement in ThriveSMH, where she works to promote mental health awareness and provide resources to students across the province. Her dedication to advocating for mental health reflects her compassion and empathy for others, further solidifying her status as a role model and leader.

Despite her initial reservations in large groups, Gwen has emerged as a confident and influential leader within the James Cardinal McGuigan community. Her commitment to excellence, coupled with her unwavering dedication to her peers and causes she believes in, has earned her the respect and admiration of both staff and students alike.

As Gwen looks towards the future, with aspirations of pursuing teaching and track at the university level, her impact and legacy within her school community will undoubtedly continue to inspire and empower others for years to come. Her selection as the representative for James Cardinal McGuigan at the Jean Augustine Awards speaks volumes about her commitment to advocating for equality and social justice, particularly for black female empowerment.

Gwen Appiah is a true leader, both on and off the track, and is deserving of recognition for her outstanding contributions to her school and community.


Julia Elmslie Headshot

2023-24 Female Recipient:  Julia Elmslie

Nomination by:  Cisca Campolongo

Julia Elmslie, a 12th-grade student at John F Ross CVI (CWOSSA), epitomizes dedication and leadership both on and off the field. With a rich array of extracurricular involvements, Julia stands out for her commitment to community service and sportsmanship.

In her role as Founder and Coordinator of the Tomorrow’s Leaders Initiative, Julia has showcased her ability to organize and lead impactful projects. Her initiative, aimed at nurturing leadership skills in elementary school classrooms, demonstrates her proactive approach to addressing community needs. Moreover, her volunteer engagement with the Darling Home for Kids underscores her commitment to supporting vulnerable populations, showcasing compassion and empathy. She is also a Deca chapter participant and a member of the KidsAbility Youth Council. Her vast number of 600 volunteer hours has allowed her to grow as she had to alter her goals due to injury and make new ideas come to fruition.

Julia’s contributions extend beyond community service to the area of athletics. As a member of the U18AA Guelph Jr. Gryphons Hockey Team and participant in field hockey and ice hockey teams throughout high school, Julia has demonstrated her versatility and dedication as an athlete. Her involvement in sports has not only fostered personal growth but has also provided her with opportunities to give back, such as her role as a lifeguard and as a hockey referee for the Guelph Hockey Referee Association.

Despite facing challenges, Julia has remained resilient and adaptable, exemplifying the spirit of perseverance. Her positive attitude and commitment to excellence have earned her the respect and admiration of her peers and mentors alike.

In recognition of her outstanding character, leadership, and sportsmanship, Julia Elmslie is a deserving candidate for the character athlete award. Her contributions both on and off the field embody the values of integrity, compassion, and service, making her a role model for her peers and the community.


Emmadson Jean-Baptiste Headshot

2023-24 Male Recipient:  Emmadson Jean-Baptiste

Nomination by:  Crystal Ferguson

Emmadson Jean-Baptiste, a graduating student at Notre Dame High School (EOSSAA), is an exceptional leader both on and off the field, embodying the essence of a character athlete through his dedication, compassion, and principled approach to life.

As a versatile athlete participating in various sports such as volleyball, tennis, cross country, soccer, track and field, badminton, and ultimate, EJ has showcased his athletic prowess and commitment to excellence. He has participated in OFSAA championships for volleyball and he has aspirations for javelin and high jump at OFSAA Track and Field in June. EJ’s leadership on the field is evident through his role as a motivator and team player, inspiring others to strive for greatness and embodying the values of sportsmanship and teamwork.

Beyond athletics, EJ’s impact extends into his school community through his involvement in various initiatives and organizations. As the Athletic Council president, he has demonstrated organizational skills and dedication by overseeing and managing intramural sports activities, as well as volunteering with Special Olympics. His compassion and dedication to inclusivity are further evident through his involvement with the Black Student Alliance and ND Leads, where he has organized events and mentored grade 7 and 8 students, fostering a sense of community and empowerment.

In summary, EJ’s exemplary leadership, dedication to athletics, and commitment to making a positive impact within his school community exemplify the qualities of a true character athlete. His influence extends far beyond the playing field, and his genuine compassion and principled approach to life serve as an inspiration to others. EJ’s contributions and leadership are a testament to his character and the positive legacy he leaves within the Notre Dame High School community.


Ben Huziak Headshot

2023-24 Male Recipient:  Ben Huziak

Nomination by:  Tyson Grinsell

Ben Huziak, a 12th-grade student at Fort Frances High School (NWOSSAA), exemplifies outstanding leadership, sportsmanship, and selflessness both on and off the field, earning him the respect and admiration of his peers and coaches alike.

Throughout his high school career, Ben has been actively involved in various sports, including football, basketball, badminton, track and field, and curling. His dedication to athletics is matched only by his commitment to serving his school and community.

As a member of the Athletic Association, Ben has consistently volunteered for various events and sporting activities, demonstrating reliability, trustworthiness, and a strong work ethic. Whether it’s maintaining the football field, operating the scoreboard during basketball games, or refereeing tournaments for Grade 7 and 8 athletes, Ben’s willingness to go above and beyond has had a significant impact on the success of these events.

Ben’s leadership extends beyond his roles in sports. As team captain and role model, he leads by example, exhibiting exceptional work ethic, communication skills, and respect for teammates, coaches, and officials. His dedication to helping younger athletes develop and grow is evident through his coaching efforts in badminton and his willingness to assist and support his peers both on and off the field.

Ben’s character shines through in moments of selflessness and kindness, such as his decision to forego starting in his last home basketball game to allow a teammate’s parent to witness their child’s moment in the spotlight on Senior Night. This act of generosity and empathy speaks volumes about Ben’s character and underscores his commitment to putting others before himself.

Ben is an excellent student and athlete and always displays great sportsmanship. He was a member of the school’s curling team which was recognized with the 2023 Boys’ Curling Team Sportsmanship Award.

In summary, Ben Huziak embodies the values of sportsmanship, leadership, and selflessness both on and off the field. His dedication to serving his school and community, coupled with his exemplary character and integrity, make him a true asset to Fort Frances High School and a deserving recipient of the Character Athlete Award.



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