As Belmont secondary’s doors prepare to close, the school’s sports hall of fame is preparing to open.
Some of the sports memorabilia, trophies and photographs adorning the walls of the current high school may soon be gone. But with the help of current and past staff and students, more than 60 years of sports history and excellence will be celebrated in the new Belmont Sports Hall of Fame.
“It is something some of the older coaches (and I) had talked about over the years, to research the history of the Belmont athletic program and get it recorded,” said social studies teacher Cindy Cullen. “With it being the last year of Belmont (on Jacklin Road), it made sense, because a lot of fascinating history could be lost in the move if we don’t preserve it.”
Teachers and coaches brainstormed Belmont Sports Hall of Fame criteria, with nine students researching yearbooks dating back to 1950, and talking to teachers, coaches and Belmont alumni before eight to 10 recipients per decade were chosen. The hope is to incorporate the inductions into a good-bye ceremony for the current school sometime in spring of 2015.
“I have grown up most of my life liking the idea of preserving tradition,” Cullen said. “(It’s about) honouring the people who helped create the athletic program we have today.”
Students also helped contact a growing list of recipients that include such impressive figures as National Hockey League players Tyson Barrie and Adam Cracknell, pro cyclist Ryder Hesjedal, soccer player Josh Simpson and curler Dailene Sivertson. Many other strong local and national-level athletes dot an impressive list that volunteer Miranda Llewellyn said sets an example for future students.
“I hope in the future I do something sports related,” the 17-year-old basketball player said. “It’s good to look back to the past and see where these previous athletes have gone and what paths they’ve taken and where sports have sent them today.”
The Grade 12 student said the project is a lot of work, “but it’s worth it.” Volunteering has opened her eyes to what she described as Belmont’s “’rich sporting history,” which has motivated her to work harder both on and off the court.
“It’s not necessarily just about the athletics – all these athletes are fantastic at sports – but the athletic drive that pushed them to be a better person. Their academics were high, they were active in the community and multiple clubs as well as being top athletes,” Llewellyn said. “It is something I aspire to someday.”