Emily Villeneuve can be found in the gymnasium working on her basketball skills long after practice has ended.
And if it isn’t basketball season, she will be doing the same for any sport in which she competes. When it comes time to put academics ahead of athletics, Villeneuve can be found staying up late at home, studying and working out arithmetic or science problems.
Villeneuve is a busy and driven Grade 11 Confederation student-athlete. She competes in six high school sports. She is president of the school’s athletic association. She is an honour roll student. She also works part time.
There is little to no time for Villeneuve to idle. Being at a stand still certainly doesn’t exist in her vocabulary or character. This all-out and passionate approach to everything she does in life has Villeneuve at the top of her game at all times.
She is a proven performer in sports, helping lead many teams to great seasons and long playoff runs. She is heavily involved in all aspects at her school, and is highly respected. It is clear when she walks down the hallways — many students from all grades and both genders, and teachers, say hello and wave at her. Some students run up for a quick hug.
Villeneuve knows her approach is the right thing to do. The only thing to do.
“Sometimes I don’t know if I am taking it all too seriously,” the 16-year-old said recently. “I practise sports a lot. I’m always in the gym taking shots when it is open. I will stay up until 2 a.m. until I understand what is going on in my classes.
“I also work and help organize tournaments at school. I like being busy. I can’t be at home doing nothing. I have to do something all the time. I do it because I want to go somewhere in life.”
Villeneuve is a key component on the Confederation soccer, volleyball, basketball, flag football, cross-country running and hockey teams. She doesn’t make any excuses for herself in sports or in life. She expects and demands the best out of herself in everything she does.
When it comes to athletics, Villeneuve goes out, regardless of the sport, to win. Sports provides a balance in her life.
“I can be intense,” she said. “ I am not mean, but I take sports seriously. I’m really competitive. I really get into it. If it wasn’t for sports, I know I would be stressed out.”
It was at Valley View Public School where Villeneuve developed her keen sense of being involved and being busy. Upon graduating Grade 8, Villeneuve earned a participation award for students who had been members of more than 14 different clubs and sports at the school.
She was a member of all 21 teams and clubs that year.
I like being busy. I can’t be at home doing nothing. I have to do something all the time. I do it because I want to go somewhere in life.
Confederation Secondary School student-athlete
Due to her giving and outgoing nature, Villeneuve also earned a principal’s award from Confederation upon entering secondary school. These two awards serve as motivation for her to keep giving her time to herself and others. The foundation of Villeneuve’s true character was laid by her mother, Nancy.
Villeneuve has learned a lot from her mom, a nurse.
“My mom will go out of her way to help people. She has never received an award. She just keeps doing it. She inspires me to do what I do every day,” Villeneuve said.
“It’s why I am so involved, especially at school. I try to make the school a better place. I like to make things happen for others. I like to help people, too. I get it from my mom. It means everything to me and it is the greatest feeling.”
Confederation teacher and soccer and flag football coach Brad Smith sees a compassionate and passionate person in Villeneuve. She is a role model who leads by example.
Villeneuve has made her positive presence felt throughout the school.
“Emily has a tremendous impact as she is someone that her teammates, classmates and teachers and coaches can count on,” Smith said. “She is extremely reliable and dedicated to her school and her studies. She can be trusted to complete and lead tasks and projects.
“As a coach, I admire that she has the right amount of competitiveness and perspective. I have never heard of any coach, teacher or teammate have a negative thing to say about her. She is always positive with her teammates and they are with her.”
Villeneuve is in her element at Confederation. Through her kind gestures, hard work and respect for others, Villeneuve has made a difference in her school.
Barely a second goes by when a student or teacher isn’t passing on a happy greeting to her.
“Everything I do at the school helps me become a better person,” she said.