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Five Blues named Academic All-Canadians

Brooklynn Doucette was one of five Blues named a 2018-19 Academic All-Canadian. Photo Tae Hoon Kim / Capilano University
Brooklynn Doucette was one of five Blues named a 2018-19 Academic All-Canadian. Photo Tae Hoon Kim / Capilano University

CJ Pentland, CapU Sport Information Director

Five Capilano University student-athletes have been recognized by the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association for their combined excellence in academics and athletics.

The CCAA Academic All-Canadian award is the national conference’s most prestigious student-athlete honour, epitomizing “a commitment to academic success and athletic achievement.” Recipients must have been a conference all-star and on the Dean’s List for Fall 2018 term.

For the 2018-19 season, the recipients from CapU are:

Brooklynn Doucette, Women’s Soccer

Keith Jackson, Men’s Soccer

Natalie LeClerc, Women’s Soccer

Isabela Lima, Women’s Volleyball

Jaimi MacCara, Women’s Soccer

“We are extremely proud of the academic accomplishments by our student-athletes, and grateful for the support provided by the University that puts them on the path to success. To achieve excellence in both sport and academics requires tremendous skill, commitment, and perseverance,” said Milt Williams, CapU, Manager of Athletics & Recreation.

The five Academic All-Canadians from CapU are the second-most of the 10 PACWEST institutions, and marks the third year in a row that at least five Blues student-athletes have received the honour. To date, there have been 60 winners from CapU since the award’s creation in 1999.

As part of the nomination process, each student-athlete had to write a response to the question: “How has your involvement in college sport contributed to your success at school?” Their responses are included below.

Brooklynn Doucette, Women’s Soccer

In her third season at CapU, Doucette was named a PACWEST All-Star after a regular season where she finished tied for third in scoring with four goals. A student in the Bachelor of Communication Studies program, she had previously been a two-time CCAA National Scholar and recipient of the PACWEST Academic Excellence Award.

“Being involved in university athletics has allowed me to become a determined, focused, competitive, confident and disciplined athlete. These qualities have helped me tremendously in my school successes. I’m competitive on and off the field. I constantly push myself to be at my best. I’m also not afraid of failure. Having lost important games, I know that these failures are lessons. This mindset helps me pick myself back up when I haven’t met my own academic standards. I learn from my mistakes and always strive to be better.

“Playing a university sport has made me understand the importance of time management. Whether it’s a big game or an assignment, there is no room for tardiness. I’ve gained lots of self-confidence from my successes in university sport. Becoming a PACWEST All-Star was a great accomplishment, and this confidence is translated in my schooling. Sport has taught me not to fear leadership roles. I feel comfortable taking charge and leading my classmates or teammates. Finally, university sport has trained me to be dedicated and hard-working. When I set my mind to something in school, I will work hard until I can achieve the goal I desire. Playing university sport has greatly benefited my academic journey. I know that these qualities will stay with me for life.”

Keith Jackson, Men’s Soccer

Jackson has won the award for the third season in a row, and it comes on the heels of a season where he was also CCAA and PACWEST Player of the Year. In the spring he will graduate from CapU with his Bachelor’s in Communication Studies, having previously received his Associate of Arts Degree in Global Stewardship.

“Playing University sport has been an educational experience that has helped to create the student and person that I am today. Throughout my five years as a Capilano University Blues student-athlete I have developed valuable communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills that make me an ideal candidate for a variety of jobs. Through varsity athletics I have learned that individual commitment to a group effort is what makes a team successful. Applying this to the classroom setting, I have learned that my individual commitment to my classrooms and community not only contributes to my own success and well-being, but also the greater good of those around me.

“As a student-athlete, and a member of the Capilano Blues family, I have learnt the importance of teamwork, discipline and self-motivation. A teacher, similar to a coach, provides students with the knowledge to succeed in a given setting but it is up to the student to be motivated to apply the knowledge successfully. Self-motivation in sport requires a great deal of personal training and effective time management away from the team. Success at school requires similar skills and commitments away from the classroom, for example time in the library or studying at home.

“In conclusion, I would say that my involvement in college sport not only contributed to my success at school but instead that it produced my success at school. As I complete my final year of eligibility I will be graduating with two degrees, as a CCAA Player of the Year, three-time CCAA All-Canadian and three-time CCAA Academic All-Canadian athlete. My success in the classroom and on the soccer pitch is due to the skills and ability I have developed both by playing university sport and attending university.”

Natalie LeClerc, Women’s Soccer

The fourth-year helped the Blues to a silver medal at the PACWEST Championships and was named Top Midfielder to earn a spot on the Tournament All-Star team. LeClerc is in the Bachelor of Business of Administration program, and has previously been a two-time CCAA National Scholar and two-time recipient of the PACWEST Academic Excellence Award.

“My involvement in college sport has contributed to my success at school through emphasizing the importance of team work and perseverance. Surrounding myself in a team environment has evolved my values of trust, development and communication which has encouraged my leadership position in most of my group projects within school. Also, the perseverance and hard work on the field has transferred over to my school work and studying habits by giving me a “winning” attitude. Overall, college sport has sculpted many excellent qualities I can bring to the classroom as well as in my future career endeavours.”

Isabela Lima, Women’s Volleyball

Lima has now been an Academic All-Canadian in each of her two seasons with CapU. In 2018-19 she was a conference Second Team All-Star and helped the Blues to a silver medal at the PACWEST Championships. She studies in the Early Childhood Care and Education program, and was a CCAA National Scholar last season as well.  

“I think everything is intertwined. I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without school, and I wouldn’t be the student I am today without the sport. Simple as that. The enhancement of my abilities to perform as a student-athlete is huge when I have learned how to manage my time, my grades, my social life and work all at the same time. As student-athletes we always get asked the same question: but how do you manage it? And my answer is focus, resilience, and motivation. There is nothing more motivating than waking up every morning to study what I love surrounded by fantastic professionals, and play the sport I love with incredible teammates and staff. These people became family, and this family supports me throughout my life as a teacher, as a student-athlete and as a person.

“Moreover, I embrace the idea of being fully present and fully engaged in your life. Your identity, the environment, your health, every bite, every breath and every minute counts. Your body and my mind play a significant role in understanding and helping me with my responsibilities, my commitments, the way I manage my time, with self-discipline and emotional health. And I wouldn’t be successful as an athlete in any of these areas if the school wasn’t there to challenge myself. Every skill I learned as a player, as a captain, and as a teammate, applies into the dynamics of being a student, especially in my field: early childhood education. I am proud and happy to be part of Blues, and also to be part of such an extraordinary community of educators and pedagogues out there. I must be every day grateful for all the amazing opportunities in my life. Therefore, I am forever thankful.”

Jaimi MacCara, Women’s Soccer

After a standout regular season at the centre midfield position, MaCara was a PACWEST All-Star for the first time in her four seasons at Capilano. A student in the Bachelor of Communication Studies program, last season she was also a CCAA National Scholar and a winner of the PACWEST Academic Excellence Award.

“Let me just start by saying I could write an entire thesis paper on this topic. Ok here it goes: pretty much all of my success at school is accredited to my involvement in college sport. I want to say 10% of my success stems from myself and 90% of my success is because of the support I have from my team. The bonds I have created with my teammates have improved every aspect of my life. My social life, my academic life, and my overall state of being are better because I have these amazing people in my life. You can look directly at my transcript and correlate my grades and the date I started playing for my University and watch my GPA sky rocket. It may partially be because I am arguably the most competitive person on this planet and lots of my teammates are brilliant women, so therefore I also HAVE to be a brilliant woman, but it is mostly because I have never had a better support system in my life.

“Soccer has always been a crutch for me, it is a way I relieve stress, it is a way I express joy, a true passion. This past season when I tore my ACL in the second to last league game (not to be dramatic) but it felt like my life was ending. It was a mental, physical, and emotional pain worse than heartbreak. Without the release of soccer and not being able to be on the field with my best friends I started drowning, and the only thing keeping my head above water was the potential to play for my University the following year, post-surgery. I had no urge to get out of bed, let alone go to my classes. If it weren’t for my best friends (teammates) I honestly probably wouldn’t have. The thought of being able to get back on the field with them for my final season is what is keeping me motivated throughout the rehabilitation process. I never would have thought that I would win or even be nominated for awards in University, especially for academia, and not to take the credit away from myself (who I am immensely proud of) but I can honestly say I wouldn’t have been able to do it if it wasn’t for the family I have made from my involvement in college sports.”