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Forty-one Students Receive Debra Deane Little and Robert Little Academic Scholarships for Varsity Athletes

Forty-one Students Receive Debra Deane Little and Robert Little Academic Scholarships for Varsity Athletes

Scholarship program recognizes excellence in athletics and academics

Student-athletes are pursuing their academic and athletic goals at King’s with the help of the Debra Deane Little and Robert Little Academic Scholarships for Varsity Athletes. Valued at $5,000 per year and renewable for up to a total of four years, the scholarships are for students who are enrolled in or have completed the Foundation Year Program (FYP) and who will be participating in varsity athletics, who have demonstrated excellence in athletics and who achieved a high school average at or above 80%.

This year 41 students have been awarded the Debra Deane Little and Robert Little Academic Scholarships for Varsity Athletes, including 11 first-year students. We asked four of them to discuss what it’s like to come to King’s as a Deane Little Scholar. Find the full list of Deane Little Scholars below.

Liam Bendsza is a forward guard on the men’s basketball team. He began playing the sport as early as the sixth grade.

“I fell in love with the sound of the ball going through the basket,” says the Ottawa native.

After taking a high school philosophy course, Bendsza found himself drawn to the Foundation Year Program at King’s.

“When I saw the pillars on the [Arts & Administration Building], it was like, ‘Wow, I go here?'” he says. “It felt impressive. It felt ancient and sophisticated.”

The Deane Little Scholarship is helping Bendsza combine his passions for sport and academics.

“It kind of solidified for me that ‘You’ve made it,'” he says. “‘You’re going to post-secondary school to play basketball, and you have been awarded for having good grades on top of that.'”

The scholarship also helped him close a chapter of his life that was interrupted by a global pandemic.

“It felt good to be recognized after we had no prom, and no ceremonies or anything to exit high school,” he says.

Bendsza is studying Environmental Science. He plans to make a positive impact with his degree.

“I hope to work in a field that protects the planet and tries to extend the life of the planet,” he says. “That’s the goal.”

Maria Collins was born and raised in Halifax, NS. She plays wing on the women’s rugby team.

Collins took her time deciding where and what to study.

“I couldn’t decide on a big or little university,” she says. “A smaller, community-based experience or a bigger, busier experience.”

She chose to study journalism and was pleasantly surprised to learn of a local school with a world-class program.

King’s also offered the balance that Collins was looking for.

“It’s 1000 students, but it’s still in Halifax,” she says. “It’s still in the city. So, I thought that was really cool.”

Collins’ university experience has been made even more meaningful thanks to her Deane Little Scholarship.

“It means so much,” she says. “When I was in high school, there was nothing I wanted more than to play varsity rugby in university. It just kind of confirmed my hard work in the classroom and on the field.”

Collins is now part of the winningest team in King’s women’s rugby history.

“It’s been the best experience of my life,” she says. “Going to championships for the first time in the school’s history was amazing.”

As for her studies, Collins is confident they will lead to an exciting future.

“I’m really enjoying my degree,” she says. “So, whatever happens, I think I’m going to enjoy it.”

Ethan Brownsey was born in Sechelt and raised in Victoria, BC. He plays centre on the men’s basketball team.

Brownsey played several sports growing up, including rugby, soccer, volleyball and rowing. Once he reached his full height of 6’6″, he began to focus primarily on basketball.

“I’ve always been told that if I took it seriously it’d take me places, which it has,” he says.

Brownsey is studying towards a law degree with the help of his Deane Little Scholarship.

“It means the world,” he says of the award. “It means the most because my five years of hard work paid off.”

His hard work included overcoming injuries, such as repeated ankle sprains. Even while injured, Brownsey’s work ethic was evident.

“I would hobble to the court with my dad and shoot free throws while standing,” he says.

Brownsey, an avid photographer, is considering specializing in Indigenous Law. He hopes to put his degree to use while ensuring that treaties are being respected.

In the meantime, he is enjoying every moment spent with his team—especially on the court.

“It’s so much fun to make a move that makes the crowd go wild,” he says.

Elena Neufeld was born in Brandon and grew up in Boissevain, MB. She is a middle on the women’s volleyball team.

In her hometown, playing multiple sports was common.

“Being from a small school, you kind of play on all the sports teams,” she says.

Neufeld played softball and volleyball and became hooked on volleyball’s fast pace and intensity.

“Volleyball was always like, ‘I want to be there, I want to be on the court. I want to practice, I want to play.'”

When choosing a university, she wasn’t just looking for a strong athletics program.

“Finding a school that had journalism was really important to me, especially because it’s not as common,” she says. “You can’t find it in every college or university.”

The Deane Little Scholarship is helping Neufeld get closer to her goal of becoming a photojournalist.

“It was kind of overwhelming,” she says of the moment she found out about the scholarship. “It was like a reminder that this is actually a big accomplishment, because you can handle both the stress of athletics and the stress of school together.”

Having a pleasing environment to study in certainly helps.

“I’ve been to Europe and I’ve seen the old buildings,” she says. “The second I stepped on campus, I was like, ‘This looks like Europe,'” she says, laughing. “This is a really beautiful little campus.”

2021-2022 Recipients of the Debra Deane Little and Robert Little Academic Scholarships for Varsity Athletes

First-year students

Chloe Beamish, women’s rugby
Liam Bendzsa, men’s basketball
Kian Bowie, men’s soccer
Ethan Brownsey, men’s basketball
Eva Carmichael, women’s basketball
Maria Collins, women’s rugby
Claire Davis, women’s volleyball
Tia Lovegrove, women’s soccer
Noah MacNeil, men’s soccer
Elena Neufeld, women’s volleyball
Claire Pontefract, women’s soccer

Second-Year students

Aidan Badcock-Parks, badminton
Katharine Cheslock, women’s volleyball
Leigha Eisan, women’s rugby
Ethan Oderkirk, men’s soccer
Naomi Puddicombe, women’s volleyball
Grace Rix, women’s soccer
Mali Triger, women’s rugby

Third-year students

Dylan Aleck, men’s rugby
Kayleigh Coco-Edman, women’s basketball
Katherine Cook, women’s volleyball
Rebecca Dupuis, women’s soccer
Luke Dyment, men’s rugby
Kayleigh Garland, women’s basketball
Sophie Harriman, women’s soccer
Leah Hartlen, women’s volleyball
Marah James, women’s rugby
Cash Layden, men’s soccer
Rylan Logan, men’s soccer
Owen Porter, men’s basketball

Fourth-year students

Lucy Carolan, women’s soccer
Dara Carr, women’s rugby
Alison Clarke, women’s basketball
Grace Day, women’s volleyball
Larissa Dean, women’s rugby
Taryn Hanrahan, women’s rugby
Ethan Merlin, men’s basketball
Sophia Tonks, women’s rugby
Dimitra Tsimiklis, women’s soccer
Joshua Williams, men’s rugby
Jack Wuotila, men’s basketball


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