Athletic Banquet: Marc Garneau’s annual gathering of the school’s athletes, coaches, and their supporters. Held at the end of each school year, the night celebrates MGCI Athletics’ finest teams and their accomplishments. From 7 to 10:30 pm on Wednesday, 17 May, one hundred sixty-two students attended the 2017 Athletic Banquet at Thorncliffe Banquet Hall. Organized by SAC Athletic Convenor Ali Khan, the Marc Garneau Athletic Association (MGAA), and Phys. Ed. Department Head Mr. Hillman, the night was considered an enjoyable and fun experience.
After doors closed at roughly 6:30 pm, the hosts, Ali Khan and Zainab Bokhari, organized a game of musical chairs. Attending teachers—who either coached the team or represented another teacher—then announced awards for each of the twenty-four sports teams recognized at the banquet. Most coaches awarded one Most Valuable Player, one Most Dedicated Player, and one Most Improved Player for each team.
Following the team awards, the banquet hall staff unveiled a dinner consisting of naan bread, rice, salad, pasta, roast beef, and chicken. Tables were sent up one-by-one and, in buffet-style, attendees served themselves. Unfortunately, the banquet hall ran out of naan bread and pasta before all the students received their first serving. Furthermore, some students, such as Nicole Kouroupis, said that the wait-time for the food was quite long.
Between dinner and the major awards, Ali and Zainab held small raffle contests; prizes included Toronto FC game tickets, a signed LeBron James jersey, and a variety of gift cards.
Mr. Graham and Mr. Hillman announced the major awards after the raffle contests. These included the MGCI Athlete of the Year awards and the Chris Penny Athletics Award. The former are awarded to students who have shown dedication to Garneau Athletics during their time at the school, while the latter is awarded to the student who has demonstrated the most leadership within athletics. The following are the winners of the major athletic awards:
Jr. Male Athlete of the Year: Khalid Jan
Jr. Female Athlete of the Year: Michelle Makie
Sr. Male Athlete of the Year: Hamza Talal
Sr. Female Athlete of the Year: Cheng Cheng Lin
Chris Penny Athletics Award: Ali Khan
To complete the night, attendees watched a slideshow of student and teacher-submitted photos and videos of Garneau athletics. Close to two hundred students squeezed onto the centre of the ballroom to laugh, cheer, and celebrate memories from all of Garneau’s teams. The DJ then opened the dance floor for the last hour of the event, mixing up a variety of pop and cultural songs.
“I thought the night went really well in terms of the amount of people that came, and the food,” said Ali. When asked about possible improvements, Ali said that the time allocated for dancing was quite short and that the night could begin earlier next year. Furthermore, he conceded that he should have released a song request list before the event, as was done for Semi Formal, because the numerous song requests on the night of had overwhelmed the DJ.
Staff supervisor Mr. Hillman said that he greatly enjoyed the event. To him, the Athletic Banquet is a “great culminating piece to athletics” every year. However, he also said that he was unhappy about the number of award winners who didn’t attend the event: “It’s always frustrating when the award winners don’t come, because there’s something special about presenting specifically to somebody who’s earned one of those awards.”
MGAA sold Athletic Banquet tickets in the gym office from 8 to 16 May at lunch. Ticket prices were ten dollars for student athletes, thirty-five dollars for non-athletes, and forty dollars for guests. For the third year in a row, the Athletic Fee imposed upon Garneau athletes when they join their respective sport teams attributed to their decreased Athletic Banquet ticket price.
Thorncliffe Banquet Hall has hosted MGCI’s Athletic Banquet for the past ten years. With regards to student complaints about the low supply of food, Ali and Mr. Hillman plan on contacting the banquet hall prior to their payments for this year’s event. However, because of Thorncliffe Banquet Hall’s convenient location, a venue change is unlikely.
Overall, the Athletic Banquet provided Garneau with closure to the 2016-2017 athletic season. Ali extends his thanks towards the teachers and staff who helped with the organization of the event. He hopes that the lessons from this year will help to improve the Athletic Banquet, and MGAA, in the years to come.