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Thursday, May. 24, 2018
Football folks help out financially
by Randy Pascal

The Joe MacDonald Youth Football League (JMYFL) recently doled out $3000 in scholarship funding, with Sean Antonioni, Eric Greene, Alain Huneault, Brandon Maki, Samantha Shrigley and Graeme Stevens all receiving a little extra financial assistance towards their post-secondary studies.

"We were looking at initiatives, ways to give back to the community in a different capacity," stated Adam Guilbault, JMYFL treasurer. "We looked at scholarship and bursary programs that we were aware of."

"We thought it would be great to do something specific to Joe Mac, that would provide assistance for post-secondary schooling to those who might not otherwise get assistance." The requirement from the applicants was fairly straight-forward: provide a written account of how their involvement, in football, had helped in shaping the person they are.

"We didn't want it to be anything overly daunting," said Guilbault. "A 500 word essay is something that somebody could take time to write, focusing on their involvement in Joe Mac, or football in Sudbury in general."

"We wanted them to talk about the values they got out of playing football, and how that has translated into their life and education." Given that this marked the first year of the bursaries, expectations within the JMYFL board remained modest - and were thankfully, surpassed.

"First and foremost, we were thrilled with the number of applications that we got," said Guilbault. "We were really happy, in the inaugural year, that the word got out. And people put the time and effort into it, the submissions were really well done."

Still, there was something a little extra that set the top six apart. "Those were the ones that went a step further to outline what they got out of the league and how if affected their life. It was amazing how heartfelt some of them were, there was some real passion in their words, they were really sincere."

Following is a brief bio on each of the six recipients, as provided by JMYFL officials:

Sean Antonioni: spent four years in the JMYFL, moving on to play for the Junior and Varsity Gladiators. He also volunteered as a coach and field assistant at Lively District Secondary School. Sean is enrolled in the Commerce Program at Carleton University, where he earned a tryout with the Ravens

Eric Greene: played two years of JMYFL football, moving on to the Junior Gladiators, Varsity Gladiators and playing high school football at St Charles College. Eric is currently attending Laurentian University, enrolled in the SPAD program, but maintains his involvement in local football coaching both with St Charles and the Junior Gladiators

Alain Huneault: was a member of the Joe MacDonald Football League for three years, following that up with four years of high school football with St Benedict's. He has also volunteered his time managing sticks at Joe Mac on occasion. Alain is beginning his pursuit of a Bachelors of Business Administration degree at Brock University this September

Brandon Maki: has been a coach in the JMYFL for several years, sharing his passion and love for the game. He is currently enrolled at the University of Toronto, where he is continuing his playing career with the Varsity Blues, and has vowed to get re-involved with JMFYL upon his graduation and return to Sudbury in the future

Samantha Shrigley: grew up with football, helping her father coach Joe MacDonald Youth Football League games, and volunteering to manage the sticks on game days. She also played flag football at Lockerby, and she is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Legal Studies at Carleton University

Graeme Stevens: started playing for the Mustangs in 2011, graduating to the high-school ranks as a member of the Lo-Ellen Park Knights, and eventually suiting up with the Gladiators. Graeme has also been a guest coach for Joe MacDonald football practices and focused his Grade 12 valedictorian speech on the lessons he learned playing in the league. Graeme is attending Mount Allison University where he will also continue his football playing experience

The current scholarship program allows for a maximum of $5000 to be awarded annually.

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