Soaring to achievement is not just a metaphor for Avaia Bergan, Grade 6 student at Caledonia Centennial Public School. Began is used to balancing high academic standards with a rigorous athletic training schedule to remain competitive in the sport of Trampoline, a gymnastics discipline characterized by precise technique and perfect body control while moving through the air.
This past spring, she reached new heights: a personal best that also landed her in 1st place provincially in her age division. When not training, she is an exemplary student who carries herself with grace and humility as she continues to grow both academically and as an elite athlete.
In March, Jacob Potts returned home to Brantford from the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi with a silver medal. Jacob, a Tollgate Technological Skills Centre student, placed second in the team relay event. He also finished sixth in the 800 metres and seventh in the long jump.
The international competition in the United Arab Emirates followed first-place finishes last summer during the National Games in Nova Scotia, where Jacob brought home gold medals in the 100 metres, 110-metre hurdles, long jump, and the team relay.
In addition to being a decorated international athlete, Jacob is recognized by teaching and administrative staff at Tollgate for his incredible perseverance, sense of humility, and cooperative attitude.
Nicole Kelly is a world champion in the sport of hockey. Last year, the BCI student donned the maple leaf jersey for the first time as one of 23 players on Canada’s Under-18 women’s hockey team. Then in January, she was named to the team to compete at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Under-18 Women’s World Championship in Japan. There, the team defeated the United States 3-2 in overtime, earning gold for Canada.
During her secondary school career, she’s balanced the grueling training schedule required of an international-caliber athlete, while earning a reputation for her sense of integrity, responsibility, respect, and cooperation.
For young artists, the opportunity to exhibit their work in a juried show is an important step in career development and artistic growth. For Sarah Coward, this opportunity came last October when she showcased an acrylic on canvas piece entitled The Peoples Dance during a regional competition for emerging artists up to age 25. Sponsored by Cadillac Fairview in partnership with the Hamilton Arts Council, the jury consisted of representatives from the corporate, non-profit, and arts communities, with the overall task of determining a best-in-show winner.
Coward’s work took home the highest honour in the Youth and Emerging Artists category, selected from 140 submissions from across Southwestern Ontario. Coward plans to continue pursuing the artistic field, and will be submitting a portfolio this spring for consideration of advanced placement as she begins her post-secondary visual arts career.
Gurnoor Minhas’ leadership capacity, professionalism, and tireless pursuit of success have resulted in some remarkable achievements. Most notable are her recent victories in business competitions through DECA, an organization which prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in the fields of hospitality, marketing, law, finance and management.
A year ago, Minhas wrote a business exam to qualify for DECA’s regional competition. From there, she moved onto the provincial level, analyzing a real-world case study and presenting a strategy. This achievement earned Minhas a spot at the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia last April where she garnered a financial grant to support her participation.
Minhas is president of the DECA club at BCI, and works as a tutor and mentor outside of school. She is also a Loran Scholar finalist. As Minhas prepares for further education, her successes during secondary school are sure to serve her well.
In her own words, Averie Bonin is “just a girl who loves to fish,” but her dedication to the sport is challenging gender stereotypes and inspiring people all over the world to get involved. The Port Rowan Public School Grade 7 student has been fishing her whole life, and now at the age of 11, is making a name for herself on the tournament and events circuit. She has garnered sponsorships, lead demonstrations and seminars, appeared on national television, and is building a fast-growing following on social media.
Averie has a focus under pressure and mindset of perseverance both in the boat and on dry land, demonstrating integrity, cooperation, and compassion in everything she does. It’s her can-do attitude that is breaking barriers for other young women in what has traditionally been a male-dominated sport. Be sure to check out Averie's YouTube channel.