SUMMERSIDE – Jessica Gillis continued a family tradition on Saturday night.
The Grade 12 student became the fourth daughter of Edwin and Janice Gillis of Summerside to be named Three Oaks Senior High School female athlete of the year, following in the footsteps of her sisters, Jaimee, 23; Emma, 21, and Erica, 18.
“I was very honoured to represent Three Oaks, and thanks to my coaches who helped me get here,” said Gillis, 17. “I definitely had a lot of fun with my teammates, and I have made a lot of great friends at Three Oaks.”
Gillis excelled in all four school sports she played during the 2013-14 school year. She was the most valuable player (MVP) in soccer, basketball and co-MVP in rugby while teaming with Kelly Curley to win the P.E.I. School Athletic Association (PEISAA) provincial senior girls’s doubles championship in badminton.
“When she arrived at TOSH in Grade 10, many people thought she might feel like she had something to prove because of her name,” said Three Oaks athletic director Joel Arsenault. “However, the first characteristic noticed about her in practice was that she was her own person. She had her own humorous personality, and care-free way of going about her sport’s business.
“The second quality noticed was that she had a natural gift or sense for sports that cannot be taught.”
Arsenault described Gillis as a natural leader, adding, “Someone who younger teammates gravitate toward and learn from.”
Gillis admits there have been many memorable moments at Three Oaks, but two that stand out this year are winning the badminton championship and the Axewomen claiming the PEISAA Senior AAA Girls Rugby League title.
With the gold-medal game against arch-rival Charlottetown Rural scoreless late in the second half, a determined Gillis dove head first into the end zone for the game-winning score in the Axewomen’s 7-0 win.
“She has a tremendous technical skill set, but perhaps even more important she has a natural scorer’s instinct,” said Arsenault.
Gillis, who will go on and take engineering at Memorial University in St. John’s, N.L., also received the female award for PEISAA outstanding student-athlete. These are awarded to Grade 12 students who play on one team or in two individual sports, and have the recommendation of the principal and athletic director. A number of certificates were handed out to students who qualified for the award.
Tanner Mendoza was presented with the male medallion.