By Ottawa Sportspage, For Louis-Riel Rebelles
The Class of 2020’s school year finish was certainly an experience never before seen, but what remained the same was a big crew of student-athletes from Louis-Riel high school’s Sports-Study program inking plans to play varsity sports at universities and colleges.
“It was kind of heart-wrenching that we didn’t get to see them at all in the last couple of months,” signals Louis-Riel Sports-Study program coordinator Ken Levesque, noting the school nevertheless pushed forward with virtual training and an online year-end graduation ceremony.
“This year obviously finished differently than usual, but we definitely want to recognize all the work our grads have done over the years at school, and the effort they put in to the program,” he adds. “We want to congratulate them, we want to thank them for being good representatives and ambassadors for the school, and we want to wish them all the best in the next stage of their journeys.”
Many of the grads headed on to compete in varsity sports hail from Louis-Riel’s basketball and track-and-field programs this year.
Future University of Toronto student Noah Masena wants to play both, in fact. The provincial-champion Gloucester Wolverines club basketball player would also like to compete for the Varsity Blues in long jump.
Masena was part of an impressive Louis-Riel Rebelles senior boys’ lineup that challenged themselves against ‘AAA’ opponents despite being classified as an ‘A’ size school for the smallest student populations. The team captured a 2020 city championship and a provincial consolation title (for 9th overall) in the OFSAA ’AAA’ ranks for the province’s largest schools.
Also part of that squad were Sacha Gauthier (headed to Acadia University-affiliated Crandall College to study theology/business) and Shandon Anderson (moving on to CEGEP Ahuntsic in Montreal).
The Louis-Riel Girls’ Basketball Academy kept its perfect record intact – every graduate has gone on to play university or college basketball since it began.
A self-driven student-athlete who excels on and off court, the Rebelles’ resident “team cupcake boss” Emma-Jane Scotten (renowned for her birthday baking prowess) will study early childhood education and play for the McGill University Martlets.
Lootii Kiri, who’s overcome several trying injuries with a positive and hard-working attitude, will play for U of T and strive for continued academic excellence in math and science.
Both recognized for having developed great leadership skills and caring for their teammates at Louis-Riel, Raissa Nsabua (software engineering) and Naziah Charles (communications) will continue on similar paths as they join the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
A pair of Louis-Riel track-and-field/cross-country running teammates will likewise wear garnet and grey next. They are Franco-Ontario 300-metre record holder/OFSAA 400 m finalist Matthieu Rustom and Thomas Pollock, who rallied the Rebelles senior boys’ XC team to an upset OFSAA berth last year. Also fuelling that squad was Nicolas Patenaude, an OFSAA soccer medallist who will use his feet mostly for footy with the Laurentian University Voyageurs.
Excited to continue running XC for the Royal Military College of Canada Paladins, Megan Roy was a Franco-Ontario record-setting middle distance specialist and OFSAA steeplechase competitor who also helped the Rebelles to an OFSAA 4×100 m relay sprint silver medal.
“We’re always proud to see our student-athletes excel and continue to practice their sport at the next level,” underlines Levesque. “The fact that they’ve committed to our school and our demanding program for so many years, I think it prepares them really well for that next step.”
Louis-Riel staff are always eager to keep in touch and follow their grads’ careers, Levesque adds. Many often visit or train at the Dome LR when they’re on break from classes or home for the holidays, including numerous Rebelles-turned-soccer pros. One positive to emerge from the pandemic was the opportunity for several past grads to lead online training sessions for current Rebelles in the spring.
“It’s really fun to see our alumni giving back to our school, and it really motivates the rest of the students who are in our program now,” highlights Levesque. “Our saying is: “Rebelle Un Jour, Rebelle Toujours.” (Once a Rebelle, Always a Rebelle.) We’re always so happy when they come back.”
Learn more about the Louis-Riel Sports-Study Program and available streams at: https://sportsottawa.com/2020/02/20/louis-riel-sports/