We’re back for the fifth Head of the Class Readers’ Choice Adversity and Coach of the Year Awards. Help identify a Grade 12 student athlete or high school coach in British Columbia who fulfill the criteria below. The nomination form just takes a few minutes of your time, but you’ll be giving your nominee a chance to win cash prizing and recognition in The Province!
If you don’t know a potential nominee, spread the word and make sure you return next spring to vote on the finalists and for a chance to win a prize yourself. Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #HOC2014.
ad·ver·si·ty (adˈvərsitē) A state, condition, or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune. A calamitous event.
Nomination Deadline: April 24, 2014. A nominee for this award is a 2013/2014 Grade 12 student who has participated in a high school sport during this school year and who possesses a positive attitude and a spirit of determination despite dealing with adversity. See below for the bios of past award winners.
Four finalists will be selected by The Province editorial department led by High School Sports columnist Howard Tsumura. Tsumura will interview the finalists and their stories will be posted to this website and the public will vote to determine the winner. The finalist with the greatest number of votes will receive a $500 scholarship, a $200 Subway Gift Card, and be featured in a full page article in The Province’s Subway Head of the Class section that will be published in mid-June 2014.
The finalist with the greatest number of votes will receive the $500 scholarship and be featured in a full page article in The Head of the Class special suction in June.
Coach of the Year
Nomination Deadline: April 24, 2014. A nominee for this award will have coached a B.C. high school sport during the 2013/2014 school year. A Coach of the Year is someone who contributes not only to the development of athletic skills in their students but to building their character and confidence while supporting academic success.
Four finalists will be selected by The Province editorial department led by High School Sports Columnist Howard Tsumura. Howard will interview the finalists and their stories will be posted to this website. The Province readers will cast their votes for the award winner. The finalist with the greatest number of votes will receive a $250 cash prize, a $200 Subway Gift Card and $750 for sports equipment for their school. They will also be featured in a full page article in The Province’s Subway Head of the Class special section that will be published in mid-June 2014.
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.
Gursimran Bir - 2013
The Province Head of the Class Adversity Award Winners
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.