St. Thomas Aquinas honours Arts students

St. Thomas Aquinas honours Arts students
Posted on 06/15/2023
This is the image for the news article titled St. Thomas Aquinas honours Arts studentsTeagan Saunders stands with her artwork.

St. Thomas Aquinas student talent was on display last night as the school honoured the incredible work of their arts students at the annual Stellars Banquet and Awards. This was the first time the school hosted the banquet post-COVID. Overall, 39 awards were presented to students in Grades 9-12.

Grade 12 student Colby Wallace won the Entertainer Award and was honoured alongside Thomas Poulin for continuing on in music in his post-secondary education. Wallace spoke about the support he’s received over the years at St. Thomas Aquinas High School.

“I’d say for a small town, the teaching and opportunities that I’ve had to play in school events, especially live like at jam nights, has pushed me to be better in a way that not a lot of others schools in a small town like this have,” he said. “Also having the example of Mr. Ura and other students who are older and are still here playing and active in the music scene and act as mentors has helped me to get better. They want you to be the best you can no matter what level you want to go to. Maybe you just want to learn a few chords on the guitar and sing or you want music to be your career, any level you’ll have support and they’ll help you achieve that goal.”

Wallace is taking a gap year to travel and work before heading into Audio Engineering with a Minor in Music Production at Concordia University, while Poulin is heading off to Thunder Bay to study Double Bass.

In addition to Music, students were also recognized for their skill in the Culinary, Visual, Media & Design, Film and Native Arts. Grade 11 student Teagan Saunders won Senior Artistic Spirit Award for Visual Arts as well as Vocalist of the Year. She said the arts are something that drew her to TA.

“There’s lots of opportunities here, visual arts, culinary, music, drama all sorts of things. Since I started at TA I’ve gone right to the music and art because when I was little ([St. Thomas Aquinas] would always do the vocal shows and I would come watch. That’s the reason I came here,” she said.

Guest Speaker Chuck Copenace spoke to the audience about his journey to becoming a professional trumpet player. Born in Treaty 3 Territory and hailing from the Ojibway Animikee Wazhing #37 community, Copenace took up the trumpet in Grade 7 and found a new passion. After a difficult journey with addictions he spoke about his path to releasing his new album Oshki Manitou, which means “New Spirit”. He will be performing at the Winnipeg Jazz Festuval on national Indigenous Peoples Day, Wednesday, June 21st.

The final award winner of the evening was Len Mark who was given the Renaissance Award which honours a community member who has made significant contributions to not only the arts department at St. Thomas Aquinas High School but the community as a whole. Mark has been a beloved community musician for years and serves as the president of the Lake of the Woods Concert Group and is the former president of the Kenora District Festival of the Arts.

Dracy Ura with his son for an awardMrs. Barclay with two students



Full List of Stellars Winners:

Senior Dedication Award: Jade Wickham & Tyren Fish
Intermediate Dedication Award: Hayley Vokes
Senior Creativity Award: Nina Vanasse
Intermediate Creativity Award: Kianna Edison & Julia Clark
Senior Artistic Spirit Award: Teagan Saunders
Intermediate Artistic Spirit Award: Maggie Carlson & Cade Peters
Media Arts Award:  Lookpeach (Phiyanan) Songtaweesub
Film and Animation: Kaelan Guinto
Media Award Print: Ari Gan
Ceramics Award: Wonara Hatharasinghage & Athena Asuncion
Partnership Award: Caitlyn Bird & Tatyana Sandy Kasprick

Ojibwe Language: Sagaate Ranville
Creativity Award: Sarah Ogimah
Artistic Award: Zeveah White
Regalia Award: Lynea Parisien

Development Award: Pearl Kabestra-Strong & Quillan Scott-Fraser
Dedication Award: Annika Carlson-Booth & Brooklyn Peters

Roady Award: Jayden Jack
Ensemble Award: Maia Vinasse
Intermediate Winds Conductor’s Award: Sarah Ogemah
Intermediate Dedication Award: Scarlette Livingstone
Intermediate Winds Technician Award: Reese Benson
Intermediate Most Improved: Kasmir Hercun
SWP Dedication Award: Violet Kirkpatrick
SWP Most Improved Player Award: Brad Ngaya
Technician Award: Caitlyn Bird
SWP Conductor’s Award: Annika Carlson Booth
SWP Ambassador Award: Georgia Cortvriendt
Vocal Spirit Award: Laura McNulty
Vocal Excellence Award: Luc Bisonette
Vocal Ensemble Award: Arlie Olson
Entertainer Award: Colby Wallace
Guitarist of the Year: Brianna Herbacz
Percussionist of the Year: Riel Scatliff
Instrumentalist of the Year:  Javan Ura
Vocalist of the Year:  Teagan Saunders
Musicianship Award: Thomas Poulin
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