Tashlin, Williams to add to the wall
By Mike Baker
There will soon be two new faces added to the Sports Wall of Fame at AJ LaRue Arena in Haliburton.
Olympian Lesley Tashlin and her brother, CFL retiree Taly Williams, will be immortalized alongside some of the community’s most revered athletes after Dysart’s board voted unanimously to formally recognize the pair and them. include on the city wall wall.
“I guess you could say we are correcting a wrong that has been overlooked,” Dysart Mayor Andrea Roberts said at last week’s meeting, which took place virtually on June 22.
The problem itself was led almost exclusively by a Grade 7 and 8 French immersion class at JD Hodgson Elementary School, who spent three months passionately fighting for Tashlin and Williams to be appropriately recognized for their sporting achievements.
Tashlin is the only Haliburton County Olympian, having represented Canada at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia. She competed in two events – the 100-meter hurdles and the 4 x 100-meter relay. Williams, meanwhile, was Haliburton’s first professional footballer, representing the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League in the 1990s. The couple grew up in town, attending high school. Haliburton Highlands. They each set numerous athletic records during their time at HHSS, some of which are still valid to this day.
The sibling’s stories were shared with the entire JDHES student body one morning in February as part of the school’s Black History Month programming. Many of Marina Thomazo’s grade 7/8 class have asked why they had never heard of Tashlin or Williams before. They spent time in class researching their careers and accomplishments and asked their teacher to do something to recognize them.
“They felt inspired by this [Tashlin and Williams] done, coming from here. They wanted them to be recognized and celebrated, as they should be, ”Thomazo recently told Echo.
The class quickly drafted a letter and sent it to Roberts, who presented it to the rest of the board in late March. The students’ request to add Tashlin and Williams to the community wall wall at the arena was forwarded to the Dysart Cultural Resources Committee. A sub-committee was then formed, comprising community members, a council representative and two students from Thomazo’s class, who continued to work on the case.
Jim Blake, known primarily to the community for his role as curator of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest, was a key member of this subcommittee. Their collective goal was threefold, as Blake informed the board last Tuesday. First, they had to establish recognition criteria on the wall wall; recommend candidates for recognition based on those who meet these specific criteria; and identify who and how applicants will be selected, and who is responsible for the ongoing management of the mural.
Nominations can be submitted to Dysart’s Cultural Resources Committee and will be reviewed annually. Applications must be submitted by or by July 31 of each year.
It was important, Blake noted, that the criteria identified by the committee apply to the five people already honored on the wall – former NHL players Bernie Nicholls, Ron Stackhouse and Cody Hodgson, current NHL player Matt. Duchene and former CFL player Mike Bradley – as well as any potential future candidates.
“We looked at a number of factors when developing the criteria… Athletes considered must have a connection to Dysart during their formative years. After high school, they must have achieved excellence in organized sport at an elite level, and they must have served as a positive role model and inspiration for local youth, ”said Blake.
Using those criteria, Blake said Tashlin and Williams were prime candidates to be honored on the mural.
In his presentation, he included an almost five-minute video compiled by JDHES Grades 7 and 8 students, explaining why they think Tashlin and Williams deserve to be recognized.
“Lesley Tashlin was the fastest in the 100-meter hurdles in 1995 in Canada, and seeing her in person would have been even more impressive from what we heard from people who were lucky enough to see her practice. , see her compete on television or participate in one of her “Need For Speed” internships that she ran at HHSS in the 90s, ”said Sierra, one of the student leaders behind the movement.
“This Haliburton-grown athlete was an OFSAA champion in badminton and track and field while at HHSS. No wonder she won the HHSS Female Athlete of the Year award in 1987. Lesley still holds the HHSS 100-meter hurdles record after 34 years, ”commented another student.
During his career, Tashlin has represented Canada at six major international competitions, including appearances at two Pan American Games, two Commonwealth Games and the 1996 Olympics.
“When you look at Lesley, you can easily relate to her. She grew up here, she ran the same tracks, went to the same schools as us and was a role model for her siblings and loved her sport… We think Lesley was not recognized by her hometown as it should be, ”said a third student.
As Haliburton’s first professional footballer, students believed Williams had paved the way for some of the community’s future football stars, such as Bradley, who first appeared in the league in 2002.
“When we see Taly, we see an upbeat and versatile athlete who was not only proficient in every sport he encountered, but an athlete who was able to learn a sport in a very short time and showed superior abilities. average… We also see a student and a well-rounded athlete. Being academic and athletic and excelling at both doesn’t come without hard work and talent, ”the students noted of Williams. “It’s time for the city Taly grew up in to celebrate him and give him what he deserves. He inspires us. He’s one of us.
District 3 Council. Tammy Donaldson said it was ‘amazing how everyone has come together’ during this move, while Roberts praised the students for the hard work and tenacity they have shown throughout their campaign. three months.
“It’s pretty exciting when you think about it, that a letter from some grade 7 and 8 students could have generated so much interest and conversation,” said Roberts, noting that the story had been the subject of much attention. ” National coverage through Athletics Canada, CFL, Toronto Star Affiliate Publications and the Olympic Games.
The decision makes history for two reasons, Blake said. First, Tashlin and Williams will be the first black athletes to be commemorated on the mural. Second, this is the first time that young people in the community have been directly involved in shaping official municipal policy for Dysart.
“Well done to everyone involved,” Blake concluded.
Reflecting on the ordeal, Thomazo says she is immensely proud of her students for the work they have done collectively since this issue was first published in March.
“What happened was right. It’s a huge reparation,” Thomazo said of the board’s decision. “I’m so proud of my students. They have shown passion, leadership, resilience, great research skills, tenacity and challenge It all started with a simple email… They never gave up.
Now that the murals have been approved, efforts to help pay for them can begin. Thomazo says his students will play an active role in raising the approximately $ 20,000 needed to complete the project. Donors who donate $ 50 or more will receive a municipal tax receipt.
To make a donation, contact the Township of Dysart at 705-457-1740, or send an email to [email protected]