LINDA STORY, Scholarship Chairperson, Uxbridge Skating Alumni

UXBRIDGE: Uxbridge Secondary graduates were thrilled to be part of the Commencement services, which took place at the Uxbridge Arena, filled to capacity, on the evening of June 29th.

Parents, relatives and friends were in attendance, while our proud graduates took part in an enthusiastic graduation, which had not occurred since 2019. “Excited,” “Relieved,” “Happy,” and “Finally!” were just a few of the overheard comments from the members of the audience.

Many award-winners ended the evening even more excited, relieved and happy. Two of these award winners were Rachel Sunn and Emily Phillips, from the Uxbridge Skating Club. These two outstanding recipients each received the Marion Cassie Memorial Scholarship, awarded to a local skater who, not only shows skill and dedication to skating, but also, demonstrates the true gift of volunteering at their skating club, school and community.

This award has been given annually since 1999, and in 2022, it was decided, after emergency discussion and emailing by the executive of the Uxbridge Skating Alumni, both Rachel and Emily, who scored high marks in all areas, each should receive the Marion Cassie Memorial Scholarship.

Also, the Alumni took into consideration that no scholarship had been awarded in 2021 and that Covid had radically reduced the time both candidates could skate during the past two years. This decision by the Uxbridge Skating Alumni proved to be a little confusing for both recipients!

Since diplomas are presented to graduates in alphabetical order, Emily Phillips was the first recipient of her scholarship.

“What? I won? Wow!” was Emily’s reaction when presented with her award by an Alumni executive member.

The following day, Emily admitted she was so shocked because she believed Rachel would win, since only one scholarship would be awarded.

When Rachel Sunn was presented with her scholarship, her response was very confused, ”What? How…” The following day, Rachel admitted she was very confused because she had witnessed Emily win the Marion Cassie memorial Scholarship a few minutes earlier. Both young ladies are extremely honoured to have been awarded their scholarships, happy for themselves and each other.

One of the worthy recipients, Rachel Sunn, impressed the Selection Committee with her skating ability, having passed Skills Star 6, Dances Star 7, Freeskate 3 and Artistic Star 7. She also was a keen member of the Unionville Sparkling Ice Synchronized Skating Team. Rachel’s dedication to volunteerism was evident in her amateur coaching for three years, assisting with Christmas Skating Show 2021 and Fun Competition 2022, all at the Uxbridge Skating Club. She became a certified CanSkate coach in 2022 and has also been a program assistant and helper at Unionville Skating Club’s Ice Show 2019. Rachel’s volunteering was in other fields as well. This busy young lady also volunteered at Uxbridge Summer Camps, in the Junior sports camp, dance and cheer camp. In addition, she has been a lunch supervisor and a participant in St. Joseph’s Christmas market.

When asked about her favourite memories with Uxbridge Skating Club, Rachel readily replied, “The Christmas shows, the Fun Competitions, and the Special Guest events. The other skaters and my coaches made it fun to skate and work hard on the ice”.

Rachel would like to thank her coaches, Candice Glover, Samantha Leitch and Alison MacLean, who encouraged her to do her best. She would also like to thank her parents, Anna and Andrew, “for always being there for me throughout the good and bad times, giving me their love, support and encouragement.” Rachel also thanked the Uxbridge Skating Alumni for awarding her the Marion Cassie Memorial Scholarship.

The day following graduation, Rachel was on her way to Huntsville Sports Camp, where she will be teaching skating as a coach/councillor. This achievement comes after two years of attending a sports leadership camp in Huntsville. When her busy summer is over, Rachel will be off to Brock University, where she will begin the Concurrent BA/BEd-Child and Youth Studies-Pr/Jr program. This is a five-year course, which will give Rachel the education necessary to teach at the K-6 level. Fortunately, there is an established skating club at Brock, which Rachel plans to join. With her dedication to learning and her love of teaching children, Rachel has an astounding future ahead of her.

Emily Phillips, the second deserving recipient, impressed the Selection Committee with her community volunteerism and her love of skating. Emily assisted with the construction of a playground for disabled children. She and her family have donated products from their farm to those less fortunate. Emily assisted with food service, at Uxbridge Secondary School, and helped with score-keeping for volleyball games. This responsible young lady also assisted with the caregiving duties of her ill grandfather.

At her home club, Emily was an amateur coach, participated in the Christmas parade, and was an enthusiastic member of the Uxbridge Synchronized skating team, “Infinity.” Her skating ability is highlighted by her passing of several skating tests: Senior Bronze Skills, Preliminary Elements, Senior Silver Dance and Free Skate Star 4.

What was Emily’s favourite memory while at Uxbridge Skating Club?

“Definitely, skating with Infinity! We had so much fun travelling and competing in Southern Ontario. There were usually about 14 of us, and our coach, Natalie, was always fun but made us work hard,” Emily responded. Infinity welcomes skaters from the ages of 10 to 18 at the Uxbridge Skating Club.

Emily would like to thank her parents, Jan and Jeremy, for their support and encouragement throughout her skating career. She also acknowledges the huge impact all the coaches, especially Alison MacLean, have had on her skating career and her life.

Emily has a special thank you to her friend, Clara Scott, with whom she has been skating since grade 5. “Clara has always been a friend and a support for me,” she said. Emily also thanks the Uxbridge Skating Alumni for the scholarship which was awarded to her.

The day following graduation, Emily was already packed to leave that evening for an exciting trip to Spain and Denmark with her aunt and uncle. They hope to sight-see and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience, during their three-week vacation.

In the autumn, Emily will begin her studies in the BA/MA course in Forensic Psychology, with a minor in Criminology and Justice, at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa. After graduating, Emily is hoping to obtain her Ph.D. in the same field. She will continue to skate with Uxbridge Skating Club on the weekends with plans to start a skating club at her university. Her terrific work ethic and determination will help Emily reach her goals in education and her future career.

The Uxbridge Skating Alumni wish Emily Phillips and Rachel Sunn all the best in their chosen careers. These two young ladies deserve much success in their future endeavours. They both are exemplary recipients of the Marion Cassie Memorial Scholarship.