Receiving any high school athletic scholarship is a huge honour for a student athlete. But when the Winnipeg Jets Alumni choose to recognize your accomplishments, it becomes extra special.
On May 16, the Manitoba High School Athletics Association awarded eight students with athletic scholarships at a lunch ceremony at the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. Jets alumni Mike Ford, Jordy Douglas, and Gerard McDonald were on hand to present two scholarships to a deserving male and female recipient. The alumni scholarships recognize on-ice skills and school and community leadership with an award of $1,000 to go toward post-secondary education.
The recipients of the 2018 awards were Cassidy Ilchena of Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School, and Bailey Reichmuth of Major Pratt School in Russell.
Ilchena, who serves as team captain for the Lord Selkirk Royals, played a huge role for her squad as the top forward and penalty killer.
"It's really cool to see what goes on and see this money coming from large organizations to support students like me," Ilchena said, noting that the timing of the presentation with the Jet' playoff success made the award that much sweeter. "It's really awesome to be a part of this."
Ilchena's leadership shines away from the rink too. Maintaining a 98 per cent academic average, she serves as the president of Lord Selkirk's student council, a Grade 12 student ambassador, an academic tutor, a teen talk support member, an active member of the Eco-Action and Human Rights clubs, and also represented her school at the Model United Nation's Assembly. All of those experiences will surely serve her well as she continues her studies in science at the University of Manitoba in the fall.
"I think my involvement at school and in the community helps me develop for the future personally, and it helps me get some experience in different things. I love helping other people and being able to show leadership."
Reichmuth is also his hockey team's captain, being voted into the spot by his coaches and teammates. His 23 goals and 26 assists on the season showed his value on the ice. But he proved his worth on many athletic surfaces for the Trojans, playing volleyball, golf, badminton, and baseball as well. A leader by example, Reichmuth has found ways to give back to the community through sport by running practices for middle years sports teams and officiating at various tournaments, while also achieving honour roll status in three out of four of his high school years.
Knowing that he was selected among applicants from across Manitoba is quite an honour for Reichmuth. "This scholarship means a lot because I played high school sports through my Grades 9-12 years and it feels like all my hard work paid off," he said.
Reichmuth will be attending Brandon University in the fall with the goal of becoming a phys-ed teacher and also coaching hockey one day.
"The applications received were absolutely outstanding," said McDonald, noting the challenge that the alumni were charged with in selecting this year's winners.
Students interested in applying for the Winnipeg Jets Alumni & Friends Scholarship for the 2018-19 school year can learn more at the Manitoba High School Athletic Association's website.