John Abbott College honoured its top student athletes last Wednesday night in the Casgrain gymnasium with its 38th annual Islander Awards night. During the three-hour event, many were honoured by the school but it was Melisande Masson and Rob Pemberton who took home the highest honours, the Jeff Mills Memorial Cup.
This award is the top recognition given annually to a graduating student-athlete who has shown over his student career great athletic skills, a solid academic record, solid leadership qualities and the ability to rise up above all the rest both on and off the playing surfaces.
In her third year at John Abbott, Melisande Masson was a dominant player on the women’s volleyball team and she led the team in kills and blocks, while finishing second in overall stuffs.
In addition, Melisande is an active member of the student body, participating in numerous school activities such as organizing the Vagina Monologues and getting involved with the Awards Night Organizing Committee. This year, Melisande organized many of the team activities and volunteered many hours to the benefit of her community. Melisande will pursue a degree in Psychology at St. FX, McGill, Concordia or Bishop’s University.
Rob Pemberton is in his second year with the volleyball team and has developed into a reliable and consistent player. He led this year’s team in many ways that don’t appear on the score sheet or in the statistics. Named Co-Captain and starting setter, Rob was given a team with only one returning offensive starter. Always willing to do what the coaching staff needed of him, he ran a complicated and competitive offence.
Rob has volunteered countless hours to many causes: he is an assistant coach with his former high school team, the U17 Lac St-Louis team and the College Ste. Anne juvenile team. He tutored high school students in math and also goes back to give speeches on college life at his old high school. On campus, Rob also participated in numerous activities such as the Comedy Night Committee, the two Open Houses and various team fundraisers. Rob will pursue a degree in Math & Stats at McGill University or Actuarial at Concordia University.
Winners from all categories showed up on stage to receive their awards during the event which took place between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. last Wednesday. Katerina Cardi from the Islander swim team won the female rookie of the year award. At the Provincial Championships she won two bronze medals for individual events, as well as a silver and a bronze medal in the relays. She anchored the relay team that out-touched league rival Outaouais by two one hundredths of a second to win the silver medal. She led the women’s team to an unexpected, but well deserved Provincial Championship title.
“I feel great about the award but this is very unexpected. All in all it was just very fun,” she told The Chronicle after she accepted her award.
Amongst many other winners, Saadia Ashraf won the coach of the year award. In her 16th season with the flag football team, coach Ashraf lived a dream season with her team: 10-0 in regular season, 3-0 in the playoffs and the Éthique Sportive Banner. She has devoted an enormous amount of time and effort to her team.
“I feel good. It’s always nice to be recognized but I also have an assistant coach Shawn Anderson who does a lot of work too. I’ll definitely be coaching next year,” she said.