Athletes from St. Anthony’s School celebrated another year of success at their second annual banquet and awards night.
On Thursday, June 10 friends, family and faculty joined athletes at the junior high and high school level, to look back on the year of learning and achievement.
Not only were athletes honoured for their hard work, but also were parents and coaches who gave their time to support the players on their way to achieving their goals.
The athletes were given a concrete example of how hard work can result in pursuing their dreams, as Drumheller athlete Jason Aiken was the guest speaker.
Aiken has gone on to play basketball at the post secondary level, and this all started in junior high when he was invited to play at a basketball tournament when the team was short on numbers.
In Grade 10, he joined the St. Anthony’s squad and was hooked to the sport. After a strong season, he decided to go to DCHS in Grade 11 to continue working on his game.
“At DCHS I was barely able to step on the floor, but I kept working hard trying to improve any way I could,” Aiken said to the crowd of about 120 at the dinner.
He worked his way into a key spot on the squad and eventually the team won a provincial bronze.
After leaving high school, he had a dream to continue playing basketball, and attended a number of training camps and tryouts. The response from all sides was he needed to work harder on his game. That is exactly what he did, and eventually he was offered a scholarship to play for Lakeland College in Lloydminster.
His experience at Lakeland College was similar to his experience at DCHS. He saw a lot of time on the bench at the beginning, but worked his way onto the court, and secured a few starts.
Last season the team won fourth spot in the northern division of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC). The team was short a couple all-Canadian players as they bowed to Mount Royal College in the playoffs.
“More important than winning or losing, I have made friends in every province from B.C. to Nova Scotia, thanks to the game, many of who are some of my best friends I have made in my life,” said Aiken. “My message to aspiring athletes, or any aspiring students. If you are passionate about something whether it is basketball, volleyball, music or drama, if you are willing to pursue your goal and work as hard as you can, your rewards will be fruitful, and take you places you could have never imagined.”