EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers Alumni are excited to announce the 2019 recipients of the Al Hamilton Scholarship: Andy Deprato and Cassidy Harke, both of Edmonton, AB. Established in 2001, the Al Hamilton Scholarship is awarded annually to students from Northern Alberta who excel in academics, athletics and community service. Recipients receive $2,000 per school year to a maximum of $8,000 over four years.
Al Hamilton, the first captain in Oilers history, wore the 'C' for four seasons in the World Hockey Association (WHA) and excelled as a defenceman and leader. As an integral and founding member of the Oilers Alumni Association, Hamilton has consistently given back to the city that cheered him on through his playing career. It is these core values that the scholarship was founded on. When Hamilton's #3 Oilers jersey was retired, his fellow Alumni created the scholarship in his name and it has since helped many deserving students further their education.
"For the past 18 years, our Oiler Alumni have chosen many deserving recipients, who have gone on to much success in post-secondary school and their chosen careers," said Hamilton. "We have endeavoured to select students who will go on to make strong contributions in our society and I'm confident that Andy and Cassidy will follow in these footprints. They are academically strong, athletic and active in the community. I am very honoured to have these scholarships presented in my name on behalf of our Edmonton Oiler Alumni."
A recent graduate of Austin O'Brien High School, Andy Deprato is the definition of hard-working and versatile. While Andy excels at many things, his athletic and academic ability is where he really thrives. His dedication and team-first attitude is a product of his ability to lead, which has earned the respect of coaches and teammates, and led to captain honours on multiple teams. Andy's scholastic abilities have been recognized through awards and academic accolades such as highest average through grades 7-11, scoring a 99th percentile on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and being named valedictorian for the 2019 graduating class. He is bi-lingual, scoring a 99th percentile on the Diplome d'études en langue française (DELF) exam and received the École Austin O'Brien Pris d'Excellence award for the highest average in French as a second language. Outside of his high school, Andy is an active member in the community, and is the founder of the Capilano Community Academic Committee, an initiative in which he provides tutoring services at low or non-existent rates for students struggling in the area. Andy also volunteers as a camp counsellor at the St. Josephat Ukrainian Catholic Summer Camp, a role in which oversees camp councillors and the safety of all attendees. Andy has a passion for math and science and will be pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Alberta in the Fall of 2019, and will keep involved in recreational activities such as hockey and long-distance running.
"When my phone rang and I noticed Al Hamilton was displayed on the caller ID, I was almost in disbelief at what it meant," said Deprato, Al Hamilton scholarship recipient. "It is an immense honour to be chosen as a recipient of the Al Hamilton scholarship, and I am boundlessly thankful to all those who have allowed me to achieve this commendation. From this financial assistance I hope to continue to further contribute to the academic, athletic, and community initiatives of which this scholarship both recognizes and supports."
At an early age, Cassidy Harke developed a passion for making a positive impact in the community and making a difference in the lives of those around her. Her compassion and positivity led her to pursue several volunteer initiatives, prominently with children and students through academic assistance. Earlier this year, Cassidy participated in a humanitarian trip to Belize with Sherwood Parks Interact Club, and helped build a playground for hundreds of young students. When she isn't committing herself to academics and volunteering initiatives, Cassidy is an active athlete. A competitive cheerleader, Cassidy and her cheer team were ranked first in Alberta in the Senior 1 All-Star division and placed fourth at the 2019 JAMZ Cheer and Dance Nationals in their division. She is a member of the stunt team and holds the back spot position, a role in which requires her to call timing and direction to the team. This has taught her the importance of leadership and teamwork. Cassidy's athletic abilities stem from her early days of competitive figure skating, a sport in which gave her a competitive edge and taught the importance of discipline. Cassidy is a recent graduate of Salisbury Composite High School and will be pursuing General Sciences at the University of Alberta in the Fall of 2019, in hopes of becoming a surgeon.
"When Al Hamilton called, I was speechless. It is such a tremendous honour that I was one of the two individuals chosen out of the countless exceptional candidates that applied, and I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity," said Harke, Al Hamilton scholarship recipient. "Receiving this scholarship means so much more than words can describe because it enables me to continue pursuing my goal of becoming a surgeon and positively impacting the lives of others."