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Lo-Ellen Park teacher honoured provincially for coaching excellence
A long-time teacher and coach at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School has been honoured provincially for his contribution to athletics. Colin Ward received the 2021 Male School Sport Coach Award from the Coaches Association of Ontario. The award was presented virtually by two-time world champion and Olympian Perdita Felicien on September 17, 2021.
Every year, Colin Ward builds the participation rate, fitness level and technical skills of the athletes in his care. For him, one of the most rewarding elements of coaching is introducing students to a sport and seeing it become their passion. “It’s been interesting to watch a lot of students grow and change,” he says.
Having coached track and field and cross-country running for the past 22 years, and Nordic skiing for the last seven years, Colin Ward inspires all athletes to acquire the skills necessary for life in sport. A teacher in outdoor education, kinesiology and personal fitness, his dedication to student wellness extends well beyond the classroom.
“On behalf of Rainbow District School Board, I would like to thank Colin Ward for his long-time contribution to athletics,” said Director of Education Bruce Bourget. “Colin Ward is an outstanding role model for students. He is most deserving of this provincial recognition.”
Colin Ward embraces the challenge of building successful secondary school athletic programs. He has contributed to Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) events held locally, was lead of the hurdle crew at the track and field meet in 2011, was a start line official and member of the organizing committee for cross-country running in 2013, and was the parking/traffic manager for Nordic skiing in 2015. He also spent five years as a Convenor for the Sudbury District Secondary Schools Athletic Association (SDSSAA) and Northern Ontario Secondary School Athletics (NOSSA) in cross-country running and Nordic skiing.
For his enthusiasm, patience and exemplary guidance, Colin Ward is highly regarded by students, staff, parents/guardians and colleagues alike. He received a Rainbow District School Board Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Co-Curricular Program in 2015.
When sporting events were curtailed due to COVID, Colin Ward successfully organized a cross-country running competition for local athletes with health and safety protocols. “It’s remarkable how Colin was able to give athletes and coaches the opportunity to participate in safe competition during a global pandemic,” says Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School Principal Pam Potvin. “This is a testament to Colin’s continued dedication to athletics.”
The consummate mentor, Colin Ward can often be found helping athletes from various Rainbow Schools. “My philosophy is to focus on the athlete, regardless of what school they are from or what jersey they wear,” he says. “I aim to develop the ‘whole athlete’, emphasizing character development and giving back, on top of the physical and nutritional aspects of the sport.”
“I think sport can offer a framework for how to conduct your life going forward,” he says. “The skills you get as an athlete, the dedication you reveal, and the passion you feel – you can take those lessons forward in anything that you do in life.” He adds: “If you can approach life with a similar passion, you can be successful at almost anything you do.”
The Coaches Association of Ontario celebrates the dedication and commitment of individuals who, like Colin Ward, instill a love for sports in others. The Coaching Excellence Awards recognize the importance of leadership and performance, and the value of human insight, which are integral for great coaching.
Watch Colin Ward’s segment at the Coaching Excellence Awards here:
Pam Potvin, Principal, Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-522-2320.