Bree Chaput noticed the poster while she was filling her water bottle during her first basketball practice four years back at Wilfrid Laurier University.
The OWL acronym — Outstanding Women of Laurier — caught the guard’s eye from the court.
“I thought it would be a good goal for myself,” said the Guelph native. “By going for it, I could then reflect back on myself and know I did everything I could to succeed academically, athletically and in the community.”
Wednesday that target was realized when the 21-year-old was named Laurier’s outstanding woman during a luncheon at the Waterloo Inn.
Chaput edged teammate Doreen Bonsu and soccer players Emily Brown and Kelsey Tikka in taking the honour in her final year as a Golden Hawk. Laurier alumna and Tennis Canada CEO Kelly Muruments was the keynote speaker at the event.
“I can’t think of a better way to end it,” said the kinesiology and physical education major. “This is the cherry on top of a perfect four years.”
The award celebrates achievement in sport, school and the community, of which Chaput has experience in spades. She co-captained the Golden Hawks to the national finals this past season (the squad lost in the quarter-finals), was one of 20 students nationwide to earn a McGraw-Hill Ryerson scholarship and volunteers with a host of local groups including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region.
“There have been so many people who have volunteered their time to help me reach my full potential so I think it’s important to give back,” she said.
Chaput says she has been surrounded by outstanding women all her life. None more than mom Cathy, who works for the Wellington Catholic District School Board.
“She is one of the busiest women I’ve ever met and I never hear her complain about it,” said Chaput, who graduated form Bishop Macdonell Catholic High School. “She’s always taking every opportunity she can at work or in the community.”
And while her mom doesn’t boast a sweet hook shot — “we used to play basketball a bit in my driveway and it was always a good laugh” — she has raised a winner off the court.
“She’s quite the role model,” said Chaput, who also credits dad Andrew and the rest of her clan in her success. “I’m very fortunate to have a very good family.”
And she’ll be seeing more of them now that her days at Laurier are done. It’s time to move back home while she awaits word on which teacher’s college she’ll attend in the fall.