KENSINGTON – The look on Jillian Ferguson’s face said it all.
The Grade 12 student was named the 2017-18 winner of the prestigious John Bowness Achievement Award at the Kensington Intermediate-Senior High School Senior Awards Assembly recently.
“I don’t know what my reaction was honestly,” admitted the 18-year-old daughter of Lisa (nee Woodington) and Blair Ferguson of Spring Valley. “Mom said she saw my face, and I looked like I was in awe, surprised. . . It’s beyond amazing to win an award like this in honour of someone amazing like John Bowness.”
The award is presented to a senior high school student who shows dedication, determination and enthusiasm for sports. These were qualities that Bowness worked to instill in all of his athletes during a 30-plus-year career as a teacher and athletic director at KISH. Bowness, who received a standing ovation as he presented Ferguson with the award, is renowned for winning many championship banners during his time at KISH. A second-to-none work ethic was a trademark of all Bowness-coached teams.
“It’s really special and having John here to present it, and the fact he coached my mother makes it very sentimental,” said Ferguson.
Ironically, Ferguson starred in one of the sports – volleyball – that Bowness had a real passion for. She played the power position and was a key contributor in KISH winning the P.E.I. School Athletic Association Senior AAA Girls Volleyball League championship in November. Ferguson also played shortstop in softball, and was a member of the Kensington Crusaders’ team that recently attended the Canadian volleyball championships in Edmonton.
Not a difficult decision
“This award was not a difficult decision,” said KISH athletic director Brett Corcoran. “This athlete exemplifies dedication, determination, enthusiasm to any sport she participates in. I have not seen many athletes with the sheer dedication and determination to succeed.
“She is fierce to the point where I truly believe the opponents were actually fearful of playing the match or inning. She is a positive leader who motivates and encourages others to play their best.”
Ferguson, who served as KISH team captain and was named a first-team league all-star, will continue playing high-level volleyball with the Dal AC Rams of the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association next season. Ferguson will attend Dalhousie Agricultural College, and she wants to pursue an agriculture-related career.
Without a doubt, winning the volleyball championship was the highlight of Ferguson’s final year at KISH. It also rounded out her medal haul for senior AAA volleyball, which included bronze in Grade 10 and silver in Grade 11.
“To bring the title back here was pretty special,” acknowledged Ferguson, who added she will always cherish the friendships she has formed through sports. “We worked so hard, and our goal at the start of the year was to win gold.
“To have the atmosphere in the gym, and the number of our fans who went down (to Charlottetown for the final) on the bus, I am always going to remember that night.”