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Congratulations to our Readers’ Choice Award winners and thank you to the nominators and the readers who voted. Check back with us in the new school year.

Keep up-to-date on high school and collegiate sports by following Province columnist Howard Tsumura: Twitter @htsumura or Facebook /howietsumura.

2014 Adversity Award Winner

Jordan Sidoo - St. George's School

Born with severe club feet, Sidoo of Vancouver’s St. George's School, defied the odds of his doctors to excel at three sports. In 10th grade he broke his arm in three places playing basketball but has since rebounded, joining the school's rowing team as a coxswain. Sidoo was recently accepted to join the rowing program at prestigious Cal-Berkeley, which annually resides near the top of the NCAA rankings.

2014 Coach of the Year Winner

Ian Hyde-Lay - St. Michaels University School

For the past 25 years, Hyde-Lay has shaped the futures of young basketball and rugby players at Victoria's St. Michaels University School with his core values of hard work, perseverance and sacrifice of individual accolades. His most renowned pupil, Steve Nash, has called Hyde-Lay the best coach he has ever played for. Said a nominator: "I can honestly say Ian cares as much, and works just as hard with the 15th man as he does the first man on the squad."

About the Head of the Class Reader’s Choice Awards

Each year, The Province publishes our annual Head of the Class special section celebrating the top accomplishments of some of our province's most complete student-athletes.

Yet our 24-page, full-colour pull-out section published in June (See 2014 Feature - PDF), is never complete without the inclusion of our two Readers’ Choice Awards. During the school year we take nominations from the public for our Coach of the Year, and our Adversity Award which is presented to a Grade 12 athlete who has overcome significant obstacles to play his or her sport at the high school level.

After looking at all of the nominations, a committee at The Province narrows the list down to a Final Four in each category. Province readers are then invited to vote for the winner in each category through this website.

The winners in each of the two awards categories are honoured in the Head of the Class feature in June and receive a gift package. The adversity winner also receives a cheque for $500, and the coaching winner a cheque for $250 with a further $750 cheque which will go towards the purchase of sports equipment at his or her school.

We begin taking nominations here in October until April. The finalists are selected immediately after the nomination period closes. The public voting takes place at the end of April / beginning of May.

Past Winners

The Province Head of the Class Coach of the Year Winners

Frank Chan - 2013
The head coach of the senior girls basketball team at Mission's Heritage Park Secondary has for years, opened the prism of life's possibilities for his players, and that is very apparent by reading the many nominations that he received. Wrote one: "He goes beyond his responsibilities as a coach." Added another: "It's a privilege to be coached by a person who cares so much about his players' personal growth and achievements. A million thank you's would not be enough compared to what he has taught us."

Mark McRae - 2012
The firefighter has made Surrey inner-city school Guildford Park a B.C. high school wrestling powerhouse building the program from the ground up and introducing the sport to the many young athletes, several new to the country and looking for a direction in their high school lives. The results have been incredible, with the Sabres annually contending for all of the spoils at the provincial championships.

Kyra Iannone - 2011
Iannone is the head coach of the senior boys volleyball team at Surrey's Semiahmoo Secondary where she had led the Totems to two B.C. Triple A titles in three seasons including the year she won COY. As a woman coaching teen boys at the highest level of the sport, she has earned praise from all who have played for her. Said her nominator: "She has taught us how to be men and prepared us for the step in our lives as we graduate from high school. I have never met someone as influential at Kyra, and the relationship that we have created, the friendship and trust developed will mean she is a mentor and a leader in my life for years to come."

Kevan Gaull - 2010
Gaull coached three different teams at Sands high school in Delta the year he won. In- September, he led the senior boys soccer team to the B.C. championship title, the first provincial banner won in any sport by the school in its 33-year history. He then went on to lead an undermanned junior boys basketball team to the Fraser Valley tournament, then led the school's junior girls soccer team, comprised mainly of eighth and ninth graders, to a Final Four finish at the Fraser Valley championships.

Mike Carkner - 2009
In the year he won, Carkner coached PoCo’s Riverside Secondary junior girls to second place in B.C. When the Fraser Valley Christian senior girls team in Surrey needed a mentor to help a younger coach, Carkner also stepped up. And when another coach — due to a complicated pregnancy — could not lead a team of Grade 4-5 girls in a Steve Nash Youth League, guess who was there to add a third team to his day planner? It doesn’t stop there. Carkner has, for a number of years, run Just a Bunch of Girls basketball clinics in Port Coquitlam — twice-weekly, fundamentals based sessions for girls Grade 4 and older that he provides free of charge.


The Province Head of the Class Adversity Award Winners

Gursimran Bir - 2013
A standout player with Surrey's provincially-ranked Fleetwood Park Secondary Dragons' senior girls basketball team, Bir has excelled at her sport despite a serious hearing impairment. In addition, she has had to overcome the tragic death of her grandparents in an automobile accident. Wrote one of her nominators: "She has already faced devastation, setbacks and loss, yet she only keeps surviving, developing a character that is grounded, and always demonstrating a genuine love for people and an unflappable spirit."

Melissa Boettcher - 2012
Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 10, the senior basketball player with Surrey's Elgin Park Orcas turned in an outstanding senior varsity career, twice helping her team reach the B.C. girls Triple A championship tournament. Boettcher, who relies on an insulin pump 24/7 to stay alive, tests her blood between 15 and 20 times during every game and must adjust her sugar intake accordingly. For her, diagnosis of a life-changing disease has not prevented her from chasing her dreams.

Tessa Beauchamp - 2011
Tessa has already battled through two surgeries to remove cancerous tumours from her brain, the second of which left her deaf in her right ear. Beauchamp, one of B.C.'s top girls basketball players, found out in February that her cancer had returned. Despite a battery of tests and increasing pain, she helped lead the Crusaders to third place at the B.C. Double A championships. There is no treatment available for her rare and aggressive form of cancer yet she continues to battle and maintain her spirit.

Kiya Posthumus - 2010
Provincially-ranked crosscountry runner was hit by a car during a January training run, suffering a broken pelvis, internal bruising and head trauma. Doctors credited her survival to her extremely high level of fitness. Now back walking, she has not given up on her collegiate running dream.

John Tee - 2009
With a vision rating of 20/400, John is legally blind. But nothing could stop the gutsy senior at East Vancouver's Notre Dame Regional Secondary from competing with all of his able-eyed teammates on the Jugglers' full varsity squad for his entire five-year high school wrestling career. "Unless we tell him, he can't see the score and he can’t see the time (remaining in a match)," says Benjie Hutchison, the Notre Dame wrestling coach who nominated Tee for consideration. "Maybe that’s why he never gives up." Tee, one of the top junior players nationally in the Paralympic sport of Goalball, has attended student-led conferences and camps across the country and professes a passion for coaching and counselling young children with similar disabilities.

Past Features

Check out our previous winners features - Adobe PDF format:


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