Virtual ceremony provides real recognition for Hawks’ achievements
By Darren Lum
It’s likely the first time in 42 years the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School Annual Athletic Awards Ceremony is going virtual, as part of continuous efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
When the provincial government decided to not reopen schools on May 19 the HHSS physical and health education department set in motion the necessary actions for a virtual awards ceremony.
Using a countdown format, it will be held from June 4 to June 20, which starts with team’s being recognized, followed by major awards.
HHSS teacher and coach Janice Scheffee said this ceremony was important to highlight the school’s athletic achievements during the fall, winter and spring sport seasons.
“We really wanted to wrap up our year in athletics and not let it just end. Our teams and athletes that were able to complete need to be recognized for the success, hard work and commitment. This platform allows coaches an opportunity to recap their seasons and recognize individual contributions. It’s not perfect but considering the circumstances, we’re hoping it creates a sense of pride from our Red Hawk athletes and families,” she wrote in an email.
The countdown format was an idea thought of by other schools and was embraced by the HHSS coaches.
Starting on Thursday, June 4, the ceremony will begin recognizing the school’s 15 sports teams that competed this school season. The ceremony will not be live.
Over eight days there will be two teams featured each day with photos and pre-recorded messages from coaches. On Monday, June 15, the ceremony will start to recognize the school’s major athletic awards such as the Intramural Award, followed the next day for the Cumulative Awards and the Impact Award, which is then followed by the presentation of the Rising Hawks awards, for female and male students, and the Colin Hood OFSAA Award for the school’s most deserving female and male students based on their athletic career on Wednesday, June 17. The last two days will feature the Female Athlete of the Year Award on Thursday, June 18 and then the Male Athlete of the Year Award on Friday, June 19, which also includes concluding remarks and a slide show illustrating the athletic year.
This first week the ceremony will feature the junior boys’ volleyball team, the wrestling team, the field hockey team and the junior basketball team.
Field hockey and senior girls’ volleyball team coach Steve Smith said he and the other coaches wanted to celebrate with the students in a safe way.
“As a coach I am thrilled to be able to recognize this year’s athletes and what they had achieved. Some of our athletes/teams had banner years and it is important to our staff to recognize their efforts. I personally had the pleasure to be able to coach two sports at HHSS. It was fantastic to see the development of each of the athletes as they stretched and reached for the goals we set as a team. I am sad that I won’t be able to personally shake each of the players hands or hit some high fives but fortunately we have been able to celebrate this way with our athletes,” he said.
Hawks junior basketball team coach Mike Rieger said this ceremony may be virtual, but it doesn’t take away the accomplishments of the athletes.
“It’s great to get the chance to publicly recognize the hard work and dedication of all of the students who participated in athletics this year. There have certainly been a lot of hurdles for our teams this school year! As disappointing as it is for students and coaches not to get to participate in spring sports, there have still been a lot of team and individual successes that deserve to be celebrated and I think it’s great that Janice Scheffee and the phys ed department have been able to put this together. The fact that the awards are being presented online rather than in person doesn’t change the great accomplishments that we are recognizing,” he said.
Among the highlights of the season include OFSAA appearances by wrestlers Nic Graham, left, and Eli Samson, a OFSAA berth (championship cancelled due to COVID-19, so no result) and an Ontario School Curling Provincial Championship for the boys’ curling team of Jacob Dobson, Liam Little, Corin Gervais and Owen Nicholls, COSSA final finishes for the Red Hawks field hockey and the boys’ ice hockey team, and a COSSA semi-final finish for the 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 website daily, beginning June 4 and let’s celebrate our continued sporting success. Let’s remember the great moments and memories that happened this year on our fields, on the courts and on the ice. Thank you,” she said.