Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Top St. Mary’s alumni honoured

  • Print
 Two-time Olympian and silver medalist Janine Hanson (left) and Leisha Strachan, former sixth-in-the-world baton twirler, were honoured by St. Mary’s on May 11.

STEPH CROSIER Enlarge Image

Two-time Olympian and silver medalist Janine Hanson (left) and Leisha Strachan, former sixth-in-the-world baton twirler, were honoured by St. Mary’s on May 11. Photo Store

As Janine Hanson and Leisha Strachan sit in a St. Mary’s Academy boardroom, they seem to have known each other for years.
In reality, they’ve only met three other times in the past month. Walking into the boardroom both seemed to be taking it all in with wonder and curiosity. Not something you’d expect from two women who attended the school for six years in their teens.
"We weren’t allowed in the administration building," explained Hanson. "I feel very grown up."
The two alumni were honoured with the Marian Award by St. Mary’s Academy May 11 during a sold-out reception and brunch.
"When I heard about the award I was very surprised, because judging by the history of it everyone has been much older," said Hanson. "I think it’s really special to be still so young."
"These other people are retired professionals and very established," said Strachan. "So this is a huge honour and I was surprised when Sister Wikeem called my phone at work. I actually thought I was in trouble."
Hanson is a two-time Olympic rower, first competing in Beijing in 2008, placing eighth in the quadruple sculls. She rowed again in London 2012, taking home silver in the women’s eights. She graduated from St. Mary’s in 2001, received her degree in Human Movement Science from the University of Michigan, and now works as an ambassador for the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation’s IMPACT team.
Strachan competed in the sport of baton twirling for 18 years, representing Canada at seven world championships, earning two bronze medals and an individual ranking of sixth in the world.
Today she still coaches, choreographs, volunteers, and judges.
After leaving St. Mary’s, Strachan graduated the University of Manitoba with a bachelor of physical education and a bachelor of education. She then returned to the academy to teach physical education for three years.
She returned to her studies and earned a master’s in human kinetics from the University of Windsor, then a PhD in Sport Psychology from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
Today she is an associate professor of kinesiology and recreation management at U of M.
Sister Susan Wikeem, director of the academy, said the school started the awards in 2005 because they were so proud of what their graduates were doing in society.
"I often flip through the newspaper and cut out stories about our past students," said Wikeem. "We have a board in the staff area that has them all posted."
Hanson and Strachan both agree attending the all-girl Catholic Academy shaped them into the successful women they are today.
 "The faith aspect of it is very important to me and to my family," said Strachan. "Having to be in the school and around that environment really helped ground me quite a bit."
Hanson said she benefited from the discipline of the school.
"I think definitely coming in at 12 and leaving at 18, you’re a completely different individual," said Hanson. "For me, I found myself in those six years."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

Are you concerned about West Nile Virus?

View Results