alliancese-156Vanier student-athletes and graduates were among those honoured at the 2e Soirée Reconnaissance de l’Alliance et de la Fondation Sport-Études that took place in mid-November. More than 160 people from education, sports and business were on hand to celebrate the outstanding student-athletes who were awarded with 116 scholarships totalling $169,000 during 2016. The evening aimed at celebrating both Olympic athletes and new student athletes who are part of the up and coming generation.

Vanier graduate Dorothy Yeats and Vanier student Jacqueline Simoneau, who both competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics were among the Sport-Études Olympians who were honoured, while figure skater, Andrew Meng was among the 23 students who received bursaries.

Andrew, who graduated in Science at Vanier, won a $2500 national scholarship for Academic Excellence based on his end-of-year results in June 2016, and a $500 regional scholarship from la Fondation Desjardins. His two scholarships reflect his 2016 accomplishments and successes both in his studies and his sport.

As for the Vanier Olympians, Dorothy Yeats, made her first appearance this year at the Rio Olympics in Women’s Wrestling (69kg), a grueling sport that is more difficult than it appears. She came in fourth place – an outstanding first-time accomplishment. Jacqueline Simoneau and her partner Karine Thomas, came 7th in the synchronized swimming duet final. Simoneau and Thomas are double gold medalists from the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, winning in the duet and team events.

Jacqueline Simoneau who is in the Science Program at Vanier is a perfect example of how the Sport Études program supports athletes both athletically and academically. After the Olympics, Jacqueline was thrilled to be able to finally go back to school full time at least for the Autumn semester. Competing at national and international levels is very demanding and in the time leading up to competitions is a full time preoccupation so studies get put on hold.

“I chose to attend Vanier because of the Sport Études program and because so many great athletes attended Vanier,” says Jacqueline. “My Dad also came to Vanier, and it’s a wonderful place: the students and the environment re friendly, and the people who work at Vanier are warm and caring.  I have received tremendous support here in terms of getting through my studies while pursuing my sport. Having a flexible study program and academic advisors to support me definitely made school a little less stressful. I’d like to finish Cegep by 2020, while continuing to compete.”

In addition to the demands of her sport and her studies, Jacqueline has devoted a lot of time to other activities. Her long term goal is to study medicine so in her free time she has shadowed doctors at the Tiny Tots Pediatric Clinic, in geriatrics clinics, and in sports medicine. “Medicine is a challenge. You never stop learning and discovering. You must also work harder to make things better, just like my sport. It takes drive and good time management to stay focused on my goals and to stick to what I want to do. My life centers on practice, school and some volunteer work, including making appearances and giving interviews. There’s no time for TV or social media.”

But the hard work, the long hours of practice, at peak times reaching 12 hours a day, six days a week, and the discipline to study and practice all pay off. “I’ve been very fortunate. Through swimming I’ve travelled all over the world, China, Japan, Korea, Spain, Europe, Serbia and Brazil. And I’ve grown so much as a person since coming to Vanier. It’s a good place to discover yourself and find out what you want to do. The teachers are great and can spark a passion in you that makes you want to pursue more.”

Congratulations to these three inspiring student athletes and good luck to them in the future.

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