DESPITE the sumptuous setting, honoured hosts and lavish lunch spread, humility reigned at Government House as four student-athletes were named the province's top Scholar-Athletes by the Manitoba High School Athletics Association.
After hearing her name announced from a field of 36 nominees, Sara Oswald of Oak Park High School said she was "shocked."
Vincent Massey Collegiate's Stephanie Kleysen was "honoured to even be considered for something like this."
J.H. Bruns' Kyle Hancock was "surprised."
Chloe Reimer of Sanford was "definitely not expecting it."
After receiving their awards, which included a $1,000 scholarship, the winners were less interested in boasting about their achievements than they were in complimenting their peers and admiring the formality and opulence of the event, which featured a brief address from Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee and a vast spread of sandwiches, fresh fruit, and, oddly enough, plastic-wrapped Wagon Wheel pastries served on fine china.
"It's amazing," said Oswald, a hockey and basketball player poised to finish her high school career with a 95 per cent average. "It's so cool to even be asked to come here, never mind to win something."
"It was kind of intimidating coming here, seeing all these people, not to mention the Lt.-Gov.," said Hancock, who also maintained a 95 per cent average while juggling volleyball, basketball, indoor and outdoor soccer, cross-country, track and field and badminton. "It was even kind of inspiring."
The awards have been handed out by the MHSAA every year since 1985, honouring students who maintained a minimum 85 per cent average while participating in at least two school sports and staying involved in their community. While such a heavy schedule may be intimidating to some, the athletes all welcomed it, and as part of their application for the award each wrote a brief essay on the role athletics played in their high school career.
"Sports have always helped give me direction," said Reimer after the ceremony. A high school volleyball champion, she will join the Brandon University Bobcats volleyball team next year. "I've always known I was going to go to university for sports and that that would help me shape my future."
In her essay, Kleysen wrote that her time playing volleyball and basketball for the Trojans "affected me in such a way that I would not be who I am today... I hope to return the generosity, hard work, and countless hours that were dedicated to creating such a positive environment benefiting myself and hundreds of other student athletes."