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Academic All-Canadians Reception Celebrates Outstanding Student-Athletes

Group photo.
Photo : Greg Kolz

The Gee-Gees celebrated the 2018-19 class of Academic All-Canadians on Wednesday, November 20 with an evening gathering at the Desmarais Building.

The annual reception celebrates the student-athletes on varsity, varsity club, and competitive club teams who competed for uOttawa while also achieving an annual GPA of 8.00 or higher, or studying at the graduate level. In 2018-19, over 220 student-athletes achieved this prestigious recognition. Each one represents a story of commitment, dedication, and passion for athletic and academic success.

"It is so important that we gather together to recognize this group," said Sue Hylland, Director of Sports Services, speaking to the group of over 80 student-athletes who were able to attend the reception. "We want you to be extremely proud of the work that you have done to be a part of this group here tonight."

Women's rugby alumna Afton Maisonneuve was the evening's guest speaker, and she highlighted the key themes of balance, leadership, and transition. "Extraordinary opportunities are available to you when you have extraordinary grades. You will be in the driver's seat. You will get to choose your next step," said Maisonneuve in her address.

"Leadership is one of the most important skill sets that you possess. At its very core, being a good leader means being a better human being. Being a good leader is a worthy goal and all of you in this room have tremendous potential to be phenomenal young leaders. Being a student-athlete taught me how to adapt and overcome, the ability to inspire people, to perform and not expect others to do something you would not do yourself."

"I've gotten so much from this program and the people involved in it, this was a great opportunity to give back," said Maisonneuve who holds a Juris Doctor, Common Law (2017), a Bachelor of Civil Law (2016), and a BSc International Development and Globalization (2009) from uOttawa and was a member of the women's rugby team for three seasons (2016, 2014, 2013). She was the RSEQ winner of the Leadership and Community Engagement Award for women's rugby in 2014 and is now an associate at Kelly Santini LLP and a Corporal as reservist in the Canadian Armed Forces, with the Cameron Highlanders.

"This is one of the special moments that you have to enjoy as a student-athlete. You don't realize when you're living it how fleeting it can be. It's really nice to come back and be part of it but looking from the outside with a new perspective," said Maisonneuve after her speech.

Isaac Kim (water polo) and Kyle Sprague (track and field) were recognized as the undergraduate student-athletes with the top annual GPAs in 2018-19.