Third year, University of Ontario Institute of Technology student, Joanna Toonders was the recipient of the Dr. Gary Polonsky Leadership Award at the school’s 10th annual Athletic Banquet held recently.
Toonders of Williamsburg, is a third-year member of the UOIT Rowing team. She first took up the sport at the University level in the fall of 2013.
In that first year, she was a member of the women’s novice 4+ crew that won a silver medal at the Ontario University Athletics championship.
At the end of the season, she was named UOIT “women’s rowing freshman of the year.”
A graduate of St. Mary-St. Cecilia school in Morrisburg, Toonders played rugby and basketball while attending St. Joseph’s High School in Cornwall.
At the time of the freshman award, she told The Leader, “I was looking for something to keep active. They didn’t offer rugby or basketball [at UOIT], so I thought rowing was the next best thing. I tried out and made the team.”
She claimed that she had come to really enjoy the sport, and said she planned to continue with it.
And indeed she has.
Now having completed a third season of rowing, she is the Social Coordinator on the Rowing Executive.
According to Scott Dennis, the school’s Information and Marketing Coordinator, “Joanne, a commerce major, led the team in all aspects from organizing the Annual Rowing Gala to assisting with team fundraising, alumni events and attending community events such as the Whitby Santa Claus Parade.”
“Throughout this year, she was a strong advocate for supporting fellow Ridgeback teams by encouraging her team mates to attend on-campus games and events sporting their white and blue.”
Toonders, with Nate Mitton of Kitchener (Men’s Hockey) were this year’s winners of the Polonsky Leadership Award.