Red Deer College Athletics recently announced in that 26 Kings and Queens athletes received the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Scholar Award.
The award is given out to student-athletes that achieve the RDC equivalent of a 3.5 grade point average.
“We do call them student-athletes and for us we really emphasis that,” RDC Athletics’ Director Diane St-Denis said. “In order to be an athlete, you must be a student first, not just because of eligibility rules within the ACAC but fundamentally that is why they are coming to the College. They are pursuing their education.”
Of the 26 recipients, 14 athletes will be returning to compete this season.
“The great thing about being a King or Queen is that you get to pursue your education and you get to pursue your passion for sport and at times using that sport, if you are on a scholarship, to help fund your education,” St-Denis said.
She added looking at the grades of Kings and Queens athletes proves the RDC athletic program is achieving what it set out to do.
“It reminds me that we have these kind of of athletes who have 3.5 GPAs, we have athletes on the honour role, the Dean’s List, the President’s Honour Role and last year we had 98 athletes with GPA of 3.0 or higher,” she said. “That speaks to having very intelligent individuals who are part of our teams.”
Being a student athlete means juggling a large load which may include family, community and work related issues.
“When we do our student-athlete orientations, one of the things we first bring up is that athletes are going to have to juggle several different expectations and demands,” she said. “You are a student, an athlete, you are probably someone who has to go to work and you may have responsibilities in the community or at home.
“Everyone has those demands, so we talk about time management and there are really good supports here at the College for that.”
St-Denis said the expectations of the student-athlete is something the College, the ACAC and the CCAA all have in common.
“It speaks to the importance that the CCAA puts on the student part of the equation of the student-athlete,” she said. “The ACAC feels the same way, because they also have recognition programs that focus on the academic achievements of theses athletes.
“For us, this reinforces that we achieving the adjectives we are putting forward for ourselves her at the institution. They must be students first.”