SHSAA Presents Sportsmanship Award to Dene High School, La Loche

October 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Provincial and Territorial News

Dene High School in La Loche was awarded a SHSAA/SaskMilk Sportsmanship banner for volleyball on October 6, 2016.  Both the girls’ and boys’ teams from the school have been admirable ambassadors of the school and community for many years when travelling the province competing in various invitational tournaments and SHSAA championships.  In the past two years each program has hosted a provincial volleyball championship on behalf of the SHSAA.  The girls hosted in 2014 while the boys hosted in 2015, the first championships hosted by the school since 2004.  All three of the championships were tremendously successful due in large part to the generosity of the school and community.  At each championship, student athletes from across the province were welcomed with open arms to the northern community.  The wants and needs of those attending the championship were well looked after and participants were immersed in the Dene culture.  All SHSAA championships are special to the host sites and participants but there is no doubt the championships hosted in La Loche have been unique and full of lasting memories for all who were a part of them.  Staff members like Greg Hatch, Stephen King, and Phyllis Longobardi have been key individuals in all of these championships and have played significant roles in the legacy that is La Loche Lakers volleyball.

Following the 2015 4A Boys Championship, which signalled the end of the SHSAA volleyball season, the SHSAA office received a number of communications indicating the boys’ volleyball team and the La Loche championship had provided a special experience for the student athletes and their supporters.  In addition, the communication also included words of praise for the girls’ volleyball team regarding their outstanding sportsmanship during the season and playoffs.  Based on that feedback, the SHSAA Executive Council agreed that Dene High School and the community of La Loche would be worthy recipients of a special sportsmanship award recognizing the volleyball program of the school.

A large crowd gathered in ‘Greg Hatch Gymnasium’ for the presentation.  The event was attended by staff and students of Dene High School, numerous community members, representatives of the SHSAA and North West High Schools Athletic Association as well as former student athletes including Georgina Jolibois (MP Desenethe-Missinippi-Churchill River).  Following the presentation of the Sportsmanship Award to Stephen King and Phyllis Longobardi, who were representing the La Loche volleyball program and community, there was a special tribute to Phyllis who is a long serving staff member, administrator, athletic director, and coach at the school.  Numerous former students and dignitaries paid tribute, which included the designation, ‘Laker for Life’, to Ms. L.  Following the assembly, Longobardi herself praised the school, community, and staff who have played an important role in providing school sport opportunities in La Loche.  Phyllis then ‘dismissed’ the students which was followed by a touching moment, as the large crowd was given the opportunity to come forward to embrace their coach, teacher, and friend.

The entire afternoon and the concept of the Sask Milk Sportsmanship Award are excellent examples of the significance of school sport.  School sport as an extension of the classroom plays a role in establishing school culture and developing the skills of citizenship in our youth.  Thank you to Sask Milk for their continued support of the SHSAA and thank you once again to Dene High School and the community of La Loche for hosting the championships of 2004, 2014 and 2015.

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