By Darren Lum
It’s likely the first time in 42years the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School Annual AthleticAwards Ceremony is going virtual as part of continuous efforts toreduce the spread of the coronavirus.
When the provincial government decidedto not reopen schools on May 19 the HHSS physical and healtheducation department set in motion the necessary actions for avirtual awards ceremony.
Using a countdown format it will beheld from June 4 to June 20 which starts with team’s beingrecognized followed by major awards.
HHSS teacher and coach Janice Scheffeesaid this ceremony was important to highlight the school’s athleticachievements during the fall winter and spring sport seasons.
“We really wanted to wrap up our yearin athletics and not let it just end. Our teams and athletes thatwere able to complete need to be recognized for the success hardwork and commitment. This platform allows coaches an opportunity torecap their seasons and recognize individual contributions. It’snot perfect but considering the circumstances we’re hoping itcreates a sense of pride from our Red Hawk athletes and families”she wrote in an email.
The countdown format was an ideathought of by other schools and was embraced by the HHSS coaches.
Starting on Thursday June 4 theceremony will begin recognizing the school’s 15 sports teams thatcompeted this school season. The ceremony will not be live.
Over eight days there will be two teamsfeatured each day with photos and pre-recorded messages from coaches.On Monday June 15 the ceremony will start to recognize the school’smajor athletic awards such as the Intramural Award followed the nextday for the Cumulative Awards and the Impact Award which is thenfollowed by the presentation of the Rising Hawks awards for femaleand male students and the Colin Hood OFSAA Award for the school’smost deserving female and male students based on their athleticcareer on Wednesday June 17. The last two days will feature theFemale Athlete of the Year Award on Thursday June 18 and then theMale Athlete of the Year Award on Friday June 19 which alsoincludes concluding remarks and a slide show illustrating theathletic year.
This first week the ceremony willfeature the junior boys’ volleyball team the wrestling team thefield hockey team and the junior basketball team.
Field hockey and senior girls’volleyball team coach Steve Smith said he and the other coacheswanted to celebrate with the students in a safe way.
“As a coach I am thrilled to be ableto recognize this year’s athletes and what they had achieved. Someof our athletes/teams had banner years and it is important to ourstaff to recognize their efforts. I personally had the pleasure to beable to coach two sports at HHSS. It was fantastic to see thedevelopment of each of the athletes as they stretched and reached forthe goals we set as a team. I am sad that I won’t be able topersonally shake each of the players hands or hit some high fives butfortunately we have been able to celebrate this way with ourathletes” he said.
Hawks junior basketball team coach MikeRieger said this ceremony may be virtual but it doesn’t take awaythe accomplishments of the athletes.
“It’s great to get the chance topublicly recognize the hard work and dedication of all of thestudents who participated in athletics this year. There havecertainly been a lot of hurdles for our teams this school year! Asdisappointing as it is for students and coaches not to get toparticipate in spring sports there have still been a lot of team andindividual successes that deserve to be celebrated and I think it’sgreat that Janice Scheffee and the phys ed department have been ableto put this together. The fact that the awards are being presentedonline rather than in person doesn’t change the greataccomplishments that we are recognizing” he said.
Among the highlights of the seasoninclude OFSAA appearances by wrestlers Nic Graham left and EliSamson a OFSAA berth (championship cancelled due to COVID-19 so noresult) and an Ontario School Curling Provincial Championship for theboys’ curling team of Jacob Dobson Liam Little Corin Gervais andOwen Nicholls COSSA final finishes for the Red Hawks field hockeyand the boys’ ice hockey team and a COSSA semi-final finish forthe Hawks senior boys’ basketball team.
Scheffee said see the website(https://hss.tldsb.on.ca/2020/05/29/42nd-annual-athletic-awards-ceremony-coming-soon-2/)to see the ceremony and learn about the event’s itinerary.
“Please check the school websitedaily beginning June 4 and let’s celebrate our continued sportingsuccess. Let’s remember the great moments and memories thathappened this year on our fields on the courts and on the ice. Thankyou” she said.