Adversity Award Nominees  |  Coach of the Year Nominees  |  Past Winners  |  Past Features  |  The Province School Zone

Voting is now closed. The voting winner will be contacted by phone May 21.

Watch for the winners of the Readers’ Choice Awards in The Province Head of the Class 24-page feature published in print and online Monday, June 22.

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Adversity Award Nominees

The finalists below are Grade 12 B.C. high school athletes. They were nominated for consideration by friends, family and coaches. The Province sports department selected them from all nominations received over the 2014/2015 school year. These finalists have already received prize packages because we consider them all winners for the challenges they have overcome.

Your vote will help select one them to win an additional prize that includes a $500 scholarship and a $200 Subway gift card.

The winner of this category will also be the subject of a full page story in our Head of the Class feature published June 22 in print and online.

Jordynn Denness - Earl Marriott (Surrey)

Just before starting high school, a student flipped her backward and the fall resulted in a broken back and a serious brain injury. Subsequently suffers from chronic illness and a learning disability. Played sports Grade 8-11, but fractured her spine on basketball court in Grade 11. Unable to play, she now coaches hoops with Special Olympics, and co-authored a brain-injury work book for young kids.

Said one of her nominators: “Jordynn has overcome every aspect of her disability with positivity and determination, which is why I believe she’d be an excellent recipient for the Head of the Class award.” 

Madison Egli - NorKam (Kamloops)

The skinny: In Grade 11 year, suspected separated ribs were diagnosed as a 15-cm cancerous growth. Aggressive chemotherapy and her desire to return to the court helped her beat cancer, and she returned this past season to make her school’s senior varsity team as a Grade 12.

Said one of her nominators: “She epitomizes someone who loves the sport and has hurdled many physical, mental and psychological barriers to play it. Madi is living evidence that hard work, determination and a positive outlook pay off.”

Thomas Franklin - South Delta

The skinny: Suffered a gruesome broken leg on the field in Grade 11 during a playoff game, and before that season had even ended, his father Randy passed suddenly. Played this season in his father’s memory and helped South Delta to a surprise B.C. Triple A championship win in Subway Bowl.

Said one of his nominators: “He quietly goes about doing his job on both sides of the ball, with his beautiful smile and supportive attitude. Thomas is also an artist and musician and an outstanding student in the classroom. He is an inspiration to all.”

Ashley Sykes - Clayton Heights (Surrey)

The skinny: In 2009, after breaking her femur and having it fuse to her growth plate, one leg wound up growing much faster than the other. The result? One leg was three inches longer than the other. Four surgeries over two years led to taking 2.5 inches of bone from the good femur to balance it out. Went out for the basketball team this season and made the squad.

Said one of her nominators: “Ashley never let it get her down. She was more determined than anyone I’ve ever met to continue life better than normal, with a bright positive outlook.”

Coach of the Year Nominees

The finalists below are B.C. high school coaches for the 2014/2015 school year. They were nominated for consideration by friends, colleagues and athletes. The Province sports department selected them from all nominations received over the school year.

Your vote will help select one them to win and a prize that includes a $250 for themselves, $750 for their athletics program and a $200 Subway gift card.

The winner of this category will also be the subject of a full page story in our Head of the Class feature published June 22 in print and online.

Erich Buecker - Terry Fox (Port Coquitlam)

Longtime volunteer coach with both Terry Fox and community-based teams, was noted as a tireless individual who never shied away from the opportunity to help a young athlete learn about the sport of basketball. He passed away suddenly in January, and a memorial was held for him soon after in the gym at the school following a senior boys basketball game.

“He will help any kid who is on the court wanting to improve even if he is not asked,” said one of is nominators. “There are many athletes from various schools that respect and adore this man. He has the biggest heart and will be sorely missed.”

Scott Kent - Earl Marriott (Surrey)

A firefighter by trade who has developed some of the province’s best young track and field and cross country runners. Currently head coach of Surrey’s Earl Marriott team he is also the founder of Coastal Track Club, the middle-distance coach at Trinity Western University and a tireless volunteer at local marathon clinics.

“He comes from saving peoples lives to helping us make our’s better,” said one of his athletes. “Last year, he showed up at one of our races in his uniform, driving, you guessed it, a firetruck. His dedication to our school’s track program is amazing.”

Jane Kozniuk - Argyle (North Vancouver)

For over 15 years, she has coached the girls field hockey team at Argyle, despite the fact her two children — both former HOC winners — have graduated to university careers. Besides being an inspiring force behind the careers of so many student-athletes, she also chaired this season’s B.C. girls high school field hockey championships.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have her continued support long after her own daughters graduated,” said her nominator. “Jane has incredible insight into the game and brings out the best in the girls she coaches. She nurtures and teaches the students the fundamentals of the game as well as advanced skills.”

Mitra Tshan - Britannia (Vancouver)

Has been a constant influence on the basketball youth of Vancouver, through multiple roles at Britannia Secondary, the Strathcona Community Centre, Basketball B.C. and B.C. Special Olympics. Since 2008, she has been the head coach of Britannia’s Grade 8 and junior varsity girls teams as well as an assistant coach with the senior girls team.

“She can recognize potential in every player,” said one her players. “I don't even know, why I am doing this whole nomination thing. I guess I am just trying to find a way to pay her back for everything she did. Without Mitra I would not be where I am right now.”

Past Winners

The Province Head of the Class Coach of the Year Winners

Ian Hyde-Lay - 2014
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."

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

Jordan Sidoo - 2014
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.

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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