Durham District School Board Trustee is honoured by Special Olympics Ontario

Posted On Wednesday November 06, 2019
DDSB Trustee Donna Edwards receives the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Female Coach of the Year Award in Toronto.

Donna Edwards is named 2019 Female Coach of the Year by Special Olympics Ontario

On October 24, Durham District School Board (DDSB) Trustee for the Town of Ajax (Ward 3) Donna Edwards was in Toronto receiving an award for 2019 Female Coach of the Year from Special Olympics Ontario (SOO). 

The Special Olympics have been a big part of Edwards’ family life for many years. Her daughter Victoria has down syndrome and they enrolled her in a sports program that would challenge her, but would also give her an opportunity to socialize with her peers. Her son Jonathan has autism and he joined the SOO figure skating team. In 2013, he represented Canada in the Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. After volunteering for many years with SOO, when the chance came up to coach rhythmic gymnastics, Edwards didn’t hesitate.

“Over 16 years ago, I took my National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) and rhythmic gymnastics coach certification and became the head coach for the Durham Shooting Stars,” Edwards shares. “I have been the head coach ever since.”

Last March Edwards went to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates with Team Canada at the Special Olympics World Summer Games. Canada won the most medals at the games in various events. Her six rhythmic gymnastics athletes took home 29 gold medals and three silver medals for their individual apparatus routines, group floor, and group hoop routines.

Being Honoured

The cherry on top was when Edwards was secretly nominated by the Special Olympics Ontario Greater Durham Team to receive the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Female Coach of the Year Award. This award is presented to the coach who has demonstrated an overall contribution to SOO, displayed coaching effectiveness and personal development, and has provided an excellent leadership model for the athletes.

Edwards says that working with these athletes is very rewarding, given that coaching them is something she loves to do.

“I was definitely surprised to receive the honour,” Edwards expresses. “But the reason that I do this is because of what I get back from the athletes.”