Carleton, Kucera Win Dr. Jack Parry Award

Lee Kucera and Bridget Carleton - Jack Parry Award

Lee Kucera and Bridget Carleton were the 2015 recipients of the Dr. Jack Parry Award as Chatham-Kent’s top high school student-athletes – Photo by Ian Kennedy/

The 22nd annual Dr. Jack Parry Award ceremony was held Thursday night, with CKSS’ Lee Kucera, and John McGregor’s Bridget Carleton being honoured as Chatham-Kent’s top male and female high school student athletes.

Lee Kucera won two OFSAA medals this year, an antique bronze in volleyball, and a gold in track and field for javelin. He also qualified for OFSAA badminton in mixed doubles with his partner Julie Earle. Kucera won a LKSSAA and SWOSSAA title in each of those sports, and was also an All-Star for CKSS’ basketball team this season, helping them to a LKSSAA championship.

“I’m really proud because I know only one male and female from each school get nominated, and then to be the one who is named after all the thought put into it,” said Kucera of winning the Dr. Jack Parry Award, which recognizes the top graduating high school student who combines academic and athletic excellence, with community involvement.

Outside of school, Kucera plays baseball for the Windsor Selects, and will be attending Dalhousie University next year, where he will play varsity baseball.

Bridget Carleton was the female winner of the Dr. Jack Parry Award. The John McGregor student has been an all-star and MVP in basketball with the McGregor Panthers, while also playing basketball outside of school for the London Ramblers, as well as for Team Ontario, and Canada’s National Junior Basketball team.

“It’s a huge honour, I’m very excited,” said Carleton, who maintained a 92% average throughout high school. “There were a lot of great nominees here that all deserved it, but I’m very proud and humbled by winning.”

In total, five of the nominees from Thursday’s ceremony have committed to play post secondary athletics, including Carleton, who will head to Iowa State University on a basketball scholarship. According to the young phenom, who also went to OFSAA for badminton in high school, she believes this is a sign that Chatham’s sports community is on the rise.

“The athletes all around in Chatham are rising, a lot of people are getting involved and pursuing their dreams to play at the next level,” said Carleton.

“We’ve worked hard and hopefully we can keep representing Chatham,” added Kucera, who held a 93% average in his high school courses, and who plans to study marine biology next year.

Both Kucera and Carleton however, know it is not only their accomplishment to celebrate, but the accomplishment of their coaches, parents, and community who helped them reach this level..

“I’ve had my parents and teachers pushing me and helping me the whole way,” said Kucera. “They all been supportive of me.

“The community support here is amazing, especially my mom, she’s been here with me since day one,” said Carleton of her support system. “I’ve always wanted to be like her, she’s pushed me to be a better athlete and person and I wouldn’t be here without her.”

Kucera will continue playing for the Windsor Selects baseball team this summer before heading to Dalhousie, while Carleton will begin training and competing with Team Canada’s basketball program, heading to Russia to compete this summer.

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