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Dairy Farmers of Ontario, OMHA Reveal Recipients of $5,000 Bursaries

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 06/20/24, 10:00AM EDT


High school graduates selected from 2023-24 season

Eight high school students who made a big impact in their schools and in their communities - in addition to being recognized as top players and volunteers in the OMHA - are the winners of $5,000 post-secondary bursaries from Dairy Farmers of Ontario, with two more students being awarded the Wally Scott Bursary.

The recipients are: Justin Barnes (Dorchester), Gillian Dinsmore (Howick), Ethan Hawryluk (Ancaster), Kevin Lane (Belleville), Ethan Lo (Markham), Drake Moore (Oro), Ella Russell (Port Stanley) and Conner Schmidt (Arthur). Ferguson Groves (Erin-Hillsburgh) and Haden Smith (Mid-Huron) were awarded the Wally Scott Bursary of $1,250 as part of the OMHA Bursary Program. 

They were selected from the 2023-24 minor hockey season and are set to attend university beginning in September. Profiles of each recipient, including videos, can be found below.

The Dairy Farmers of Ontario Bursary program provides minor hockey players recognition for their outstanding contribution to community service, athletic and academic success. Applications for 2025 Bursary Program will be announced early next season.

“We are proud partners of the OMHA to help recognize eight outstanding student-athletes who excel on and off the ice,” said Cheryl Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Dairy Farmers of Ontario. “Through MilkUP, DFO awards each recipient with $5,000 to go towards their post-secondary education. Congratulations to the winners, who are inspirations to their teammates, classmates and community and exemplify perseverance, originality and heart – MilkUP’s values.”

“Whether on the ice, in the classroom or through their volunteerism, the OMHA-Dairy Farmers of Ontario Bursary program is a shining example of what it means to be a student-athlete and a leader,” said Ian Taylor, the Executive Director of the OMHA. “These recipients are also good citizens – making their schools, arenas and communities better places for all and showcasing the life skills that minor hockey teaches. Congratulations to all the winners and best of luck in your post-secondary education next year.”

The game of hockey was a constant force in Wally Scott’s personal and professional life for over sixty years. He demonstrated this lasting commitment to the game as a coach, fan, father, grandfather and legal counsel. Without question, he was a passionate advocate of the game. Over the decades, Wally’s personal and professional interests in hockey merged to the benefit of the OMHA. The award presented in his name is intended to recognize his contributions and commitment to the OMHA and to the game of hockey.

Justin Barnes

Lord Dorchester Secondary School’s Valedictorian is being recognized for his accomplishments at the hockey rink and on the baseball diamond.

Justin Barnes, a referee and umpire, will be attending the University of Waterloo next year for Honours Math.

The netminder with Dorchester Minor Hockey not only volunteers his time as a goalie coach but also as a math tutor.

Barnes has always found himself to be the one making the calls.

“We’d play pickup games, no matter if it was baseball or hockey, and I would somehow be the referee,” he said.

Already an Honour Roll student, Barnes stepped up in a big way when his school’s girls' fastball team needed an umpire in order to compete. He didn’t hesitate to offer his support.

“Without that, the girls' team wouldn’t have had a season. That’s a huge impact on how now they are actually in a competitive league this year,” said his guidance counsellor Kelly Sauve.

Barnes notes the similarities between umpiring baseball and refereeing hockey are having to stick with your call and be knowledgeable of the rules.

“He’s very calm and level-headed. I think that’s a huge attribute to have, especially when you’re refereeing and umpiring, said Barnes’s hockey coach Bob Leeming. 

Gillian Dinsmore

A multi-sport athlete is being highlighted for her accomplishments in minor hockey.

Gillian Dinsmore plays rep hockey in Howick and also high school hockey, volleyball and basketball at FE Madill Secondary School.

Her co-op placement at a physiotherapy clinic will tie into her post-secondary goals in the Exercise Science program at State University of New York (SUNY) – Cortland.

“It’s going to help me a lot next year because I’m going to have some practical experience going right into my studies,” said Dinsmore.

“She’s constantly trying to think of ways that she can see both the schooling that she wants to do but also stay super connected to the sport, which is also a huge passion for her,” said her teacher Patrick Donnelly.

Along with being a volunteer coach and power skating coach, Dinsmore is also a Level 2 Certified on-ice Official. She is aiming to get her Level 3 when she returns home from school in the summers.

“I’ve been refereeing for the last two years and I’ve learned a lot about communication with the athletes,” said Dinsmore. “I know that as a player, it’s a lot easier if somebody is communicating with you, so I’ve learned how to do that from my end of it (as an official).”

Ethan Hawryluk

Ethan Hawryluk’s business mindset is leading him to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Laurier.

As a member of the DECA Club at Ancaster High School, his group earned a provincial championship that led them to California, where they competed against 23,000 other kids from all over the world.

His group’s idea was an economical way to circulate and filter air for homes in poorer countries, and involved a presentation in front of a judge as well as a 20-page business report.

“Business is really interesting to me. I’ve just always been into math and looking at numbers and analyzing what they are,” said Hawryluk.

Along with being an honour roll student, he also has a part-time job at Buds Spas and Pools.

After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit their cousin’s home in Texas in 2017, Hawryluk took it upon himself to raise money through a barbeque during Ancaster Minor Hockey’s opening weekend. Through his hard work, he raised $800 for relief efforts.

Hawryluk has volunteered over 150 hours with Ancaster Minor Hockey and also timekeeps and referees at the rink. He’s totaled over 300 hours giving back to his community through events like the Ancaster Community Food Drive, Ancaster Farmers Market and Ancaster Rotary.

“Ethan has learned so much from hockey,” said his mother Cindy Hawryluk. “Time commitment, dedication, leadership qualities.”

His leadership carried over to the football field as well.

“His hyperfocus in organization and helping direct other kids, especially younger players on our senior team, was something we just value so much. He was a natural leader at it,” said his football coach Roger Dunbrack.

Kevin Lane

Kevin Lane is following in his family’s footsteps, looking to become an engineer just like his parents.

The Eastside Secondary School graduate will be attending Queen’s University next year in the Engineering program.

Along with taking to the ice with Belleville Minor Hockey, Lane also served as captain of his school’s team.

“Kevin’s able to lead by example with how he conducts himself off the ice, but also on the ice as a leader,” said his hockey coach Cole Lynch.

Engineering seemed to be a natural fit for Lane ever since he was a kid.

“Growing up, I was always interested in the maths and sciences,” Lane said.

He was a leader in his school’s Math Club, where he was also enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

“What makes Kevin great is that he’s able to share, collaborate and work with the kids,” said his math teacher Thundup Matho. “He gives them a problem, let’s them work at their own pace, and he keeps them up to date, sharing with them how to do the problems.”

Ethan Lo

Ethan Lo has been recognized by the Mayor of Markham for his work in the community. Now he’s being highlighted with a post-secondary bursary.

Combining his leadership and passion for chess, Lo started a Chess Club at Markham District High School. He worked closely with the school administrators, gathered the materials and supervision and was approved as President of the club. In 2023, Lo was named the Senior Outreach Coordinator for the school’s STEAM Club as well as the school’s only YRDSB Student Trustee Candidate.

Next year, Lo will be enrolled in the Nanotechnology Engineering program at the University of Waterloo.

“It sits at the intersection between my interest in chemistry, physics and math. Those are the things that I would like to continue pursuing in the future to solve problems and make contributions back towards the community,” said Lo.

In 2019, his Markham Waxers team was recognized by the Mayor for their charitable achievements through the Hockey for Heart program.

He’s also volunteered as an on-ice helper and other fundraisers with the Waxers.

Drake Moore

Drake Moore grew up on a century farm and has worked with tractors all of his life. Combined with his active leadership at school and in the community, he’s being recognized with a post-secondary bursary.

“Since I’ve been young, I’ve loved working on the tractors that we have here (at the farm),” said Moore, who was a member of Oro Minor Hockey since he was six years old. “I just enjoy turning wrenches and taking something apart and being able to put it back together.”

Moore will be able to put those skills to good use next school year at Centennial College in the Heavy Equipment Technician program (421A).

“I know Drake is passionate about farming and it’s something he’s always been interested in,” said his Twin Lakes Secondary School teacher Melissa Hewitt.

He was signed to the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program in Grade 11, with all of his co-op hours counting towards his apprenticeship. Moore has already earned more than 1,000 hours.

“From farming to hockey, I’ve learned commitment… that’s what has driven me to put the best effort you can into everything,” said Moore.

Moore has surpassed the minimum requirement of 40 hours of community service for a graduating high school student by over four times - earning more than 180 hours through his volunteerism. He’s assisted at the Orillia Fall Fair, Kiwanis Auction, his local 4H chapter since 2016 and was a LINK Leader at his school.

Ella Russell

Ella Russell is looking to make a difference in her community, with the hopes of becoming a lawyer or diplomat.

The 10-year player of Port Stanley Minor Hockey is set to attend Huron University at Western University for Governance, Leadership and Ethics next school year after graduating from Central Elgin Collegiate Institute.

“I’ve always had an interest in things like global politics but also just wanting to help the general population and uplift the other people around me,” said Russell.

She took on an active role as an instructor at the Port Stanley Sailing Squadron, helping to lead a sailing school through the Ontario Sailing Association during the summer.

“The most important thing I’ve learned from hockey that has helped me become an instructor at the sailing program would be the ability to have good teamwork.”

“She’s always had a good rapport with all the players, regardless of which team, even the opposing team, the referees or the coaching staff,” said her coach Shawn Hutton.

Russell raised $4500 during Halloween at Scarefest to help with clean water initiatives in Africa. She also gives back to her Association – volunteering at bottle drives to fundraise and trains new timekeepers at the rink.

Conner Schmidt

Conner Schmidt is turning his passion for coaching and working with kids into a post-secondary educational path.

The graduate of Wellington Heights Secondary School will be studying at Lakehead University (Orillia Campus) next year, with a major in History in the Concurrent Education Program – Intermediate Senior program and the goal of becoming a high school teacher.

“I want to become a teacher because over the last couple of years I’ve had the honour of being able to coach a couple minor sports teams. Being able to connect with the youth in my community and the surrounding areas is just a really rewarding experience,” said Schmidt.

“When you watch him interact with the young players, he’s just a natural to connect with the people he’s working with and that will be a tremendous skill as a teacher,” said his hockey coach Shawn Livingston.

Schmidt was also an active volunteer at his high school, involved in Athletic Council, Student Council and Special Olympics. He was the Youth Coordinator at the Arthur 150 Homecoming celebration and has also helped out with the Arthur Egg Society and the Arthur Fall Fair. He has coached lacrosse teams as well as younger teams within Arthur Minor Hockey.

“What I’ve learned from hockey has been teamwork and being a team player. Taking that aspect of the game and has really helped me become a leader,” said Schmidt. 

Ferguson Groves

Not many people, let alone Grade 12 students, can say they've earned their pilot’s license before their driver’s license.

Ferguson Groves is one of those people.

Groves is currently Chief Warrant Officer First Class of 242 Ross Ferguson Squadron in the Canadian Cadet Organization.

“He came in as a very enthusiastic, aviation hungry cadet who wanted to set goals of becoming a pilot and to develop his leadership within our community,” said Captain Doreen Marier, his training officer.

He’s stood vigil overnight at Cenotaph during Remembrance Day to honour fallen veterans.

“He has goals set for himself as well as his peers, and he makes sure that he assists and helps them in achieving their own goals as well as his own,” said Marier.

The Erin District High School will be attending Carleton University next school year in the Aerospace Engineering program.

“I’ve been interested in space and airplanes for so long. I always design stuff so I think it’s a perfect fit for me,” said Groves.

Groves was the winner of three consecutive Most Sportsmanlike Awards with Erin-Hillsburgh Minor Hockey.

“Hockey is where I’ve learned a lot of skills. I’ve learned how to work well in groups and be part of a team.”

Haden Smith

Haden Smith had a busy year at Central Huron Secondary School as a member of the Student Senate, Student Council and Parent Council. Combined with being captain of his Mid-Huron Huskies hockey team and balancing a 96% average, his calendar was filled every day.

As a member of the Student Senate, Smith’s role was to advocate for his classmates while working with the school board.

He successfully lobbied for students to be able to bring their instruments on the school bus, even though he isn’t in the music program himself.

“Not being able to practice at home was such a barrier to education,” said Smith. “I wanted to fix that, so I brought this issue up to the board office time and time again, and now instruments are allowed on busses which I’m very proud of.”

That leadership was echoed in the dressing room.

“He was unanimously elected as team captain which came as no surprise,” said his coach Craig Skinner. “He’s just got a real strong presence in the dressing room and commands the respect of his teammates and the people around him.”

Next year, Smith will attend Western University for General Sciences.

“I’ve just always had a passion for understanding how things work,” said Smith. “When we were told the basic model of the atom, I wanted to know more. I just had such a desire and curiosity for the sciences that hasn’t quit at all.”

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