Support for people with Down syndrome comes naturally to Sabrina Safranyos. A senior at Sandwich Secondary School as well as a volunteer with the organization Up About Down, she says she has had both a maternal aunt and a cousin on her father’s side with the genetic disorder.
“It’s a cause that is really close to my heart,” says Safranyos, one of 24 local high school students whose community contributions, academic performance and athletic activities earned them a Human Kinetics Book Award. A reception Friday honoured the award winners.
An honours student, Safranyos plays soccer and volleyball—the latter on the Sabres senior boys’ team.
“The boys’ game is a little tougher and I really liked the opportunity to play with them. I pushed myself to improve my game,” she says, noting she won support from her new teammates as well as those on the girls’ squad. “It was a good decision.”
Like Safranyos, Catarina Romero of Holy Names High School plans to study kinesiology at the University of Windsor this September. In addition to competing for her school in soccer, cross country and track, she sings with a musical combo that performed at the opening of the International Children’s Games. Her mother Nora accompanied her to Friday’s reception.
“Catarina has been so dedicated to sports, but she usually prefers to stay in the background,” said Nora Romero. “She’s so modest, we were really surprised and pleased that she was chosen from her school to receive this honour.”
Here is the full list of 2014 HK Book Award winners:
- Megan Annisette, Academie Ste. Cecile International School
- Keith Carscadden, Belle River District High School
- Nicole Denomme, F.J. Brennan High School
- Anthony Tannous, Cardinal Carter Catholic Secondary School
- Eriq Jenkins, Catholic Central High School
- Georgy Koumoutsidis Essex District High School
- Darby Heenan-Van Horn, École Secondaire L'Essor
- Max Reiner, General Amherst High School
- Jeff Bilek, Harrow District High School
- Mackenzie Taiariol, W.F. Herman Secondary School
- Catarina Romero, Holy Names High School
- Ali Mehadi, Kennedy Collegiate Institute
- Eric Hedge, Kingsville District High School
- Kathryn McFadden, École Secondaire E.J. Lajeunesse
- Nicholas Froese, Leamington District Secondary School
- Jade Griffith, Maranatha Christian Academy
- Emily Stadder, Vincent Massey Secondary School
- Hakeem Sadiq, Riverside Secondary School
- Rachel Loebach, St. Anne Catholic High School
- Alessandra Ceccacci, St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School
- Sabrina Safranyos, Sandwich Secondary School
- Brittani Yuhasz-Morrison, Walkerville Collegiate Institute
- Derek Toews, UMEI Christian High Scool
Each honoree received a sports- or health-related book to keep, and their school libraries will receive a copy of Richard Peddie’s memoir Dream Job: My wild ride on the corporate side with the Leafs, the Raptors, and TFC, with a book plate acknowledging the honoured students.