Mrs. Ashfield Receives Prestigious OFSAA Award Upon Retirement
Earl’s own teacher and coach Martha Ashfield retires on a high note, receiving the CAO Coaching Excellence Award in the spring.
September 19th marked the 6th annual National Coaches week, and Mrs. Ashfield was the recipient of the Female School Sport Coaching Award. She was recognized by OFSAA and the NCSSAA for her outstanding impact on her students and the community throughout her thirty years on the job.
The honour was official during the 2020 Ontario Coaching Excellence Awards which were held virtually this year.
“I was so overwhelmed because it’s just something that’s been so naturally a part of my teaching career,” says Mrs. Ashfield as she describes her reaction when she first caught news in June of 2020.
Mrs. Ashfield’s resume over 32 years of teacher-coaching speaks for itself. In addition to having mentored countless students in sports like track and field, touch football, girls volleyball and basketball, she was heavily involved in the community as an executive member of OFSAA, and even as former president of the NCSSAA. Her impact was made organizing numerous school athletic events, all of which was volunteer work.
She started her career at Sir Robert Borden, then Confederation HS, and John McCrae before eventually returning to her alma mater. It was her memorable high school experiences at Earl of March that influenced Mrs. Ashfield to make a difference in the lives of young people, like her past coaches and teachers did for her.
Stepping into that leadership role herself, Mrs. Ashfield is a friendly reminder to those playing school sports that there are responsibilities and privileges of being a ‘student’ athlete. “Student comes first..” Mrs. Ashfield says, “all of the things in sports that you can extend into real life, it’s really great.”
Likewise, her time as a coach has changed her life. From the close camaraderie with
the Athletic department to breakfast mornings with her senior girls basketball team, Mrs. Ashfield cherishes the “huge, great memory book” filled with relationships with her students and peers alike.
While club sports have become increasingly popular, Mrs. Ashfield believes that there is “something special” about school sports that makes it so enjoyable. Whether it’s playing with friends or trying something new, the coach has always advocated in favour of high school sports.
Retired after 16 years at Earl, Mrs. Ashfield leaves a message to all students to “have fun with sports. Take the lessons they have learned to help them with so many aspects of their lives, whether it be their work roles, their family roles, or friend roles.”
Mrs. Ashfield encourages students to stay safe and active during the pandemic. Virtual meets, chats, or workouts with teammates and friends will maintain that important connection until school sports are resumed.