G.W. Graham Secondary has been given the Most Outstanding School award for 2021-22 from B.C. School Sports (BCSS).
According to BCSS, the award is intended to “recognize a school whose special commitment to improving the lives of its students and staff through athletics, leadership, and public service has contributed significantly to the welfare of school athletics in its local community and to BCSS.”
A team from G.W. Graham accepted the award at a banquet that was held May 13 in Victoria.
BCSS prepared a video for the presentation, noting that the school has averaged more than 500 student athletes over the last decade, with more than 40 per cent of the student body participating in basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, rugby, soccer, swimming, track and field, volleyball or ultimate Frisbee.
“This is the biggest award that we could win,” G.W. Graham athletic director Jake Mouritzen said in the video, getting a little emotional as he spoke. “My team, the families, everyone — we couldn’t do it without them. It’s a lot of work. You work hard every day and some days it’s still not hard enough, but really we’re just trying to create awesome opportunities for kids.”
BCSS lauded G.W. Graham for its focus on academics. Where school work is concerned, the school requires student-athletes to complete bi-weekly check-ins with their teachers during their season, to make sure they’re doing everything they need to do.
Where community is concerned, senior varsity athletes dedicate time to the Chilliwack Hospice Society, Chilliwack Rotary Food Drive and Chilliwack Community Services Christmas Hamper Program, among others.
“It is super important to help our student athletes know how lucky and fortunate they are while also giving back to the community that supports them,” Mouritzen said.
Winning the BCSS award in 2022 is particularly special given the adversity the school has faced.
Between COVID-19 and the flooding that hit the eastern Fraser Valley last fall, the athletics department has been hit hard the last two years.
“Our school has been so lucky to have so many amazing teachers, administrators, coaches, volunteers, parents, grandparents and most importantly student athletes come through our school over the past 17 years,” Mouritzen said. “The award is an accumulation of everyone’s hard work, passion, spirit and pride.
“The 13 teachers that travelled to Victoria to receive the award were honoured to accept this prestigious recognition on behalf of everyone that has helped us reach the top of BC School Sports athletics.”