Haliburton Highlands Secondary School is planning to honour the achievement of its student athletes despite the pandemic preventing its normal awards event.

The high school will host a virtual ceremony June 4-19. Each weekday will feature presentations with coaches’ messages to recognize individual award winners and sports teams from the fall and winter.

Coach and teacher Janice Scheffee said although the pandemic halted spring sports, staff felt it important to do something for teams that did compete.

“The ending of the school year hasn’t been great, but we were there for six-and-a-half months,” Scheffee said, adding 15 teams did get to play. “We felt it was important to at least recognize those teams.”

The sports getting recognized include volleyball, wrestling, field hockey, basketball, football, curling, rugby and hockey. Individual awards will also be featured starting June 15, culminating in the female athlete of the year June 18 and the male athlete of the year June 19.

Scheffee said the school researched several different options for awards formats but felt this would build momentum and excitement. Typically, the school would host a one-night event. Scheffee said a one-night stream was also considered, but the school wanted to keep the awards accessible to everyone and it would be difficult to find a time to work for everybody.

“There’s a lot of high school students right now that are busy. A lot of them are working,” she said. “Not everyone here has great access to internet capabilities all the time … We didn’t want anyone to not be able to see it.”

This year will lack any of the spring sports, cancelled due to the pandemic. Scheffee said it is a tough situation and unfortunate for athletes of all grades, especially for graduates who may have missed out on their last chance to wear a Red Hawk jersey.

“There’s no sense of closure to it unfortunately and that’s hard,” she said. “We did miss five (teams) but we decided to focus on the 15 we did have.”

The presentations will be posted on the school website at hss.tldsb.on.ca.

“It’s about recognizing the time we spent together there. That all those efforts they had were not in vain. Despite the finish, the time we were there did matter,” Scheffee said.

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