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    Staff, students, coaches and referees. (Submitted photos)

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    (left to right) Jamie Gardner, Blake Sterling, Carol Sterling, Maggie Mohns, Colby Gillard, Jennifer Gardiner (Sterling), Allison Sterling, Carter Boulanger, Jeff Sterling and Gary Serviss (teacher) (Submitted photos)



Valour JK-12 School’s 19th Annual Thomas Sterling Memorial Student Teacher Hockey Game

 Submitted by Gary Serviss

Posted on Thursday May 9, 2019

Every year for the past 19 years, on a beautiful spring day, staff and students of Valour JK-12 School (formerly General Panet High School) have been gathering at the  Petawawa Civic Centre for a hockey game that features the graduating class versus the teachers. 

The entire student body makes a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society and heads to the arena to catch some exciting action. 

The game began in 1999 as a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society and in 2002 a special trophy was made in honour of Thomas Sterling and all funds raised were then donated to the Canadian Cancer Society in his honour. 

This year $725.80 was raised from donations by Valour JK-12 students and from 50/50 ticket sales. 

Thomas Sterling was a Grade 9 student at General Panet High School in September of 2000 who was tragically diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. 

Thomas lost his battle with the leukemia in November of 2000 at the age of 14. 

Thomas was born and raised in Petawawa to parents Carol and Blake Sterling and is remembered fondly by his sisters Allison and Jennifer and brother Jeff.  He was an avid hockey player, a huge fan of the Detroit Red Wings and pegged Steve Yzerman as his favourite player. 

Thomas loved the outdoors, playing countless hours of road hockey and also loved to fish.  Thomas would have turned 32 on this past February 25. 

The Sterling family was asked what this annual game means to them.

“This annual hockey game is special in so many ways.  Jennifer is a past student and graduate from General Panet and the support she received from the staff and students when Thomas passed away was heart-warming.  It meant a lot to us when the hockey game was renamed in Thomas’ memory.  A small school came together and proved that they have a big heart. 

“Many current teachers never had the opportunity to teach Thomas and the current students never had the opportunity to know Thomas, but because of Gary Serviss’ efforts in organizing this annual event, he has kept Thomas’ memory alive.  We look forward to this game every year and want to thank the staff and students that take part and for their donation to cancer research and support programs in Thomas’ memory.” 

This year the game was played at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, March 20th at the Petawawa Civic Centre.  Both teams and all the fans went home happy as students and the teacher team tied 4-4.  This year is the 19th anniversary of the game and Valour JK-12 School is proud to ensure that the legacy of Thomas Sterling will live on in our hearts forever.