Carolyn Patino, principal of La Pastora Government School, was the proudest woman in T&T after yesterday’s Atlantic Youth Excellence in Sport (YES) Awards were presented at the Hilton Ballroom, Port-of-Spain.
Patino, who has marshalled her school, was beaming after La Pastora took the third award at stake, the “Fair Play” award.
A hush descended on the ballroom when the nominees for the “Team of the Year” were being announced and again La Pastora was the nominee for football. The Santa Cruz-based school was again adjudged champion after its terrific performance over last year’s football season when it created history by becoming the first school to move up from the Under-13 rank and win the U-15 category.
Announcer Keron “Tim Tim” Boodoosingh then called the girls’ “Youth Champion of the Year” and it was cricketer Samantha Hosein emerging as the winner.
However, the best was yet to come for La Pastora as the gathering listened to the nominees for the boys’ “Youth Champion of the Year”. It looked very competitive with Alexander Chase, who had a fantastic year with cricket, Nikolai Blackman, who was nominated for his outstanding performances for swimming, James Castagne-Hay for his triathlon exploits over the year and the Port-of-Spain and Environs speedster Jordan Noel, who was expected to go close.
However, pandemonium broke out in the ballroom when the master of ceremony, Tim Tim, stated that Lindell Sween of La Pastora was the boys’ champion. The La Pastora team led by its principal and staff had every reason to celebrate after capturing three of the six awards ups for grabs at the gala ceremony.
“I am proud as could be but humbled by the success,” said Patino. “I have tried to bring our school to a point where all our student/athletes are holistically developed and I hope this will give us even more momentum to continue. These award does not really belong to me; it belongs to the people of La Pastora and Santa Cruz by extension. I must thank my staff and parents for all their support in making our school be where we stand today - true champions.”
Earlier at the function which included some of the Atlantic Sports ambassadors T&T and West Indies women’s cricketer Merissa Aguilleira, Olympic javelinchampion Keshorn Walcott and sprinters Jereem Richards and Khalifa St Fort, Joy Gabriel-Neptune was adjudged the “Administrator of the Year”. She was nominated by track and field.
Athletics did the double when Kurt Cruickshank of the Caroni Education District was named as the “Coach of the Year”.
Aguilleira, a former West Indies women’s captain, gave the audience much to think about when she spoke about her experiences as a young woman attempting to make a dream come true.
The T&T captain said, “It was tough. Getting to the top will never be easy. However, I never gave up on my dream and today I am very proud of my accomplishments at the national and international level. Athletes never give up on their dreams.”
Young entertainer Aaron Duncan closed off the event, performing this season’s Carnival contribution “Back To Basic” for the audience.