Coaches praised for extraordinary dedication

by Derek Cornet

They’re at the core of several sports teams and they’re often overlooked, but two Meadow Lake teachers were recently commended for their coaching services.

Kendra Syrota of Carpenter High School (CHS) and Rob Kozinski of Jonas Samson Junior High (JSJH) were recognized for their coaching commitments at the annual JSJH awards ceremony June 26.

The coaching awards won by Syrota and Kozinski, however, were part of a regional competition held by the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association (SHSAA). The  award, which is given to one male and one female coach each year, is only one of many awards presented by the association.

The coaches were nominated by colleagues and members of the Northwest High School Athletic Association, whose president Darren Nordell said the awards weren’t easy achievements to come by.

“It depends on how dedicated and active they are with coaching,” Nordell said. “But, it’s really about recognizing their commitment to sports.”

Nordell noted the winners are also well-liked and have a good standing with other coaches, who respected them enough to vote for them. The other coaches felt their exceptional dedication, involvement and overall coaching skills were reason enough to present Syrota and Kozinski with the honour.

“It was nice to know my colleagues felt that way about me,” Syrota said.

Syrota coaches boys basketball and girls curling at CHS and has been working in Meadow Lake schools for six years. While she’s won many awards throughout her career, the coaching award was a first for her.

At the SHSAA annual general meeting held in Nipawin recently, Syrota was also elected to the provincial executive council for a two-year term. Acting as the women’s representative, Syrota is thankful for her new position on the council.

“It has been something I’d been interested in because of the professional development and it made really good timing,” Syrota said.

Sharing the title with Syrota this year is Kozinski, who currently coaches badminton and basketball at JSJH. It is his sixth year teaching at the school.

“I’m still kind of humbled by it actually because I wasn’t expecting it when I was told,” Kozinski said.

The reason Kozinski stays involved with sports is very simple. He said it’s because he wants to share the opportunity in sports he had growing up with other kids.

“I was a player once and it was always fun to be able to do stuff,” Kozinski said. “It’s a way of giving back.”

Giving back however, involves spending a lot of personal time away from home, and Kozinski said the day may come he has to spend more time with his two-year-old son. But for now, he’s putting in his time on the court.

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