2004 Recipients

Stacey’s parents, Cheryl and Ned Levitt of Toronto, selected this year’s recipients from over 500 applicants. The 2004 Stacey Levitt Women and Sport Scholarships is divided equally among five individual recipients:

Erin Carter – Markham, Ontario
Jennifer Gilliland – Cold Lake, Alberta
Janelle Smith – Vernon, British Columbia
Nicole Watt – Melfort, Saskatchewan
Carly Whittaker –Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

“These five young women are truly inspirational role models for all young women across Canada. They have all made meaningful contributions to their families, their schools, their communities, and their country. We are very proud that their names will be attached to The Stacey Levitt Women & Sport Scholarship” said Cheryl Levitt, as she announced the names of the recipients. “We find great comfort in providing assistance to some of Canada’s promising and talented young women through Stacey’s legacy.”

Phyllis Berck of Toronto, Chair of the CAAWS Board of Directors, was also pleased that CAAWS could administer the award on behalf of the Levitt family. “We are proud to be associated with the Levitt family, and with the Stacey Levitt Scholarship, because it recognizes and encourages the vibrant young women who are active participants not only in sport, but in the life of their community. These are the young women who will be our future leaders in sport and physical activity, and they are significant role models for others to follow.”

Erin Carter – Markham, Ontario

While playing a wide variety of sports often at the Most Valuable Player (MVP) level, Erin Carter maintained honour roll academic standing during her high school career. The Offensive MVP of the Markham District Varsity Girls Flag Football Team, she was also selected for the Toronto Star’s All-Star Team, which profiles graduating high school students who have combined athletics with strong academic skills. Selected as captain for two different girls hockey teams, Erin also found time to be involved in her high school music program, playing Tenor Sax in the band for all four years. Her community involvement includes leadership in Markham, fund raising for the Cancer Campaign, tutoring younger students in science and volunteering at Participation House, a home for residents with life challenging disabilities. Next year she plans to attend Humber College to pursue a career in Nursing. She hopes to continue playing sports at Humber, and then coach young girls in baseball and hockey. Erin’s goal is to help other women see the positive impact sports can have on their lives.

Jennifer Gilliland – Cold Lake, Alberta

A recent honours graduate of Grand Centre High School in Cold Lake, Alberta, Jennifer Gilliland has participated in many sports over the course of her school years, including badminton, track and field, cross country running and volleyball. The sport with the largest impact on her life is TaeKwon Do. She began training four years ago when her brother, a first degree black belt, convinced her to come to a class with him. From that day on TaeKwon Do became not only a passion in her life, but a priority. Throughout high school she trained three to four days a week while also doing volunteer work, holding a Students’ Union office position, and maintaining her standing on the honour roll. She has attended more than eight tournaments, including the Unified TaeKwon Do Championships, and has won a number of medals. She has also been instructing children and adult classes for three years, passing on what she has learned to others. Through all the sports that she has participated in she has learned perseverance, teamwork, indomitable spirit and integrity, which are important qualities in any athlete. Jen hopes to receive her black belt late in the summer of 2004 before she moves on the University of Alberta in the Bachelor of Science program. She plans to earn her Master’s degree in Physical Therapy and specialize in athletic rehabilitation.

Janelle Smith – Vernon, British Columbia
A recent graduate from Clarence Fulton Secondary School in Vernon, Janelle Smith has been participating in sports from the age of three. Through her school years she participated in rugby, basketball, volleyball, soccer and cross-country running at the provincial level. While playing sports she was also heavily involved in music, theatre and dancing. She was on the Honour Role and Principal’s List, MVP for soccer tournaments (Provincial Championships), Female Athlete of the Year in grade 9, Outstanding Achievement Award in Physical Education 10, 11, 12 and many coaches’ choice awards. Janelle has assisted her community by coaching soccer for four years. This fall she begins the Kinesiology program at the University of Victoria and plans to pursue her physiotherapist degree specializing in sports injuries. Intensity, desire and motivation are the key words in which she lives by and attributes her success too. Because of her love for sports, she will continue to develop her own skills as an athlete, playing varsity soccer at university, as well as coaching young players to help develop their skills.

Nicole Watt – Melfort, Saskatchewan
Despite suffering from Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Nicole Watt has experienced tremendous success in her skating career and has represented Canada around the world at international events. She has had to overcome the effects of this serious illness to pursue her dream of skating for Canada in the Olympic Winter Games. Diagnosed at the age of eight with this progressively degenerative disease which saps her strength and stiffens her joints, she was forced to take powerful drugs each week for several years to combat the symptoms. Even with medication she wasn’t symptom-free, never knowing which joint might be affected or when, which added significant complexity to her training. The youngest National Volunteer Spokesperson for the Canadian Arthritis Society, since the age of 14 Nicole has spoken to many groups about her disease and her sport, and she encourages others to overcome their challenges to compete and be active. The 19-year old is entering her second year at the University of Saskatchewan, studying to be a medical doctor. She continues to figure skate, and her goal is compete at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Italy.

Carly Whittaker –Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
As an honour roll Kinesiology student at the University of Saskatchewan, Carly Whittaker is heavily involved in sport both inside and outside of the academic realm. She grew up participating in fastball, track, and speed swimming. In high school she was the captain of the frosh volleyball team and the senior cross country team. At graduation from Aden Bowman Collegiate she was awarded the Spirit Award for the track and field team and the award for Outstanding Contribution to Athletics. Currently, she runs with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies track and cross country teams and competes in triathlons. She recently qualified for the Triathlon Junior Nationals to be held in Ontario this summer. In addition to participating she also coaches for the Saskatoon Laser Speed Swimming Team and works as a leader at the University’s Children Sport Camps, having coached both young children as well as Special Olympic athletes. Carly knows what a positive influence athletics have had on her life and through activities such as practicing Physical Therapy (her career goal) and coaching she hopes to pass on the sheer joy and eternal benefits of sport and a healthy lifestyle to another generation of promising young women.