Bernie Custis Secondary School student recognized for academic excellence and community service

NIAGARA FALLS, ONT. (November 16, 2023) – On an evening when the Canadian Football League (CFL)’s stars were recognized for their accomplishments, Chelsea Young took the stage at the CFL Awards to shine every bit as bright as her football heroes. The student-athlete from Bernie Custis Secondary School was awarded the Glenn ‘Keeper’ McWhinney Scholarship Fund in recognition of her academic excellence and community service.

“On behalf of the McWhinney family, and in remembrance of Glenn, it is our distinguished honour to announce Chelsea as the recipient of this year’s scholarship,” said Eric Noivo, Executive Director of the Canadian Hall of Fame (CFHOF) and Museum. “We applaud Chelsea’s incredible will to succeed, her dedication to the community, and her commitment to her academic and athletic journeys. She is an incredible example of everything that Glenn believed in.”

The scholarship is named in memory of Glenn ‘Keeper’ McWhinney – a 1954 Grey Cup champion and a pillar of strength in the community, who passed away in 2012 following a courageous battle with cancer. His family and friends created the scholarship fund in his honour, which awards $5,000 to a post-secondary student-athlete who embodies the attributes of its namesake: commitment, honesty, humility, courage and volunteerism in the community. It has been presented annually by the CFHOF and administered by The Winnipeg Foundation since 2022.

Chelsea has displayed great courage in overcoming personal circumstances and hardships to become an exceptional young leader, who actively champions positive school culture and well-being. She has worked extremely hard to achieve a 96 per cent average, while also competing on the touch football, basketball, soccer, football and frisbee teams. She is a strong advocate for the importance of physical activity, sports and recreation for youth. Outside of class and off the field, she takes great pride in serving her classmates. She is part of the presidential team on Student Council, helping to organize dances, charity events and activity days to boost morale and promote positive engagement.

She rallies her fellow classmates to several causes that she is passionate about. She volunteered at Hamilton Waterfront Water Education Day where she ran a booth educating students on water purification. She helped the History Club organize Remembrance Day assemblies, and she has helped promote awareness on gender-based violence through a tribute to the women murdered in the Montreal Massacre. She also took it upon herself to write letters to Canadian veterans to thank them for their service.

Chelsea’s work in support of others stretches far beyond the walls of Bernie Custis Secondary. She has completed over 300 hours of community service at Eva Rothwell – a community centre located in her north-end Hamilton neighbourhood. She volunteered at summer camp every day in July and August, in addition to assisting with after-school programming during the year. She served meals, ran games, cleaned up program spaces, planned programming, led groups and escorted children on trips. The experience helped her earn a position of employment at Eva Rothwell, which she saves for her planned path of becoming a psychologist or child counsellor. She currently organizes and runs mental health awareness class, helping children develop good habits and strategies for relieving stress in a positive manner. She is also part of the Pathways to Education program which connects her with additional opportunities to volunteer in the community.

The Glenn ‘Keeper’ McWhinney Scholarship Fund was presented as part of the CFL Awards during the Grey Cup Festival from November 13-19, which includes over 40 events to captivate football fans, music lovers, athletes and families alike. It features events organized by various community organizations, such as Sonic Unyon (Supercrawl), Around the Bay and Hamilton Santa Claus Parade, among others that are contributing to building a contemporary Hamilton. Additional information, event listings and full details can be found at 110th Grey Cup will be played in Hamilton at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday, November 19 with kickoff slated for 6 p.m. ET. The sold-out championship contest, featuring Green Day in the Twisted Tea Grey Cup Halftime Show, will be available live across the nation on TSN and RDS – Canada’s home of the CFL, online through CFL+ for all international viewers, as well as on SiriusXM’s Canada Talks (ch. 167).

Lucas Barrett

Associate Vice-President, Communications & Public Affairs, Canadian Football League

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