On July 27th James Collier-John and Paula Drew were honoured as they were chosen to be a part of the Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Association representation at the Eastern Elite Volleyball Championships that were recently held in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Twenty-five boys’ and girls’ teams from Atlantic Canada participated in the tournament that was hosted by the City of Moncton and Volleyball New Brunswick.
Paula and James, two youth from Conne River, have been playing volleyball for years at St. Anne’s School. They both went to Gander for tryouts and from there travelled to St. John’s for training under the NLVA. They had to go through very strict and intensive training as part of the NLVA process.
On August 1st to the 9th, James travelled to Moncton, New Brunswick, to participate in the Atlantic Volleyball games.
Along with the others chosen from across the province, he played against teams representing all Atlantic Provinces including Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
Paula Drew was also chosen but due to illness had to step back from this opportunity. Despite her disappointment she wished her team the best of luck.
“In order to be chosen I had to attend tryouts first in Gander and was put in for a setter,” said James. “I was then selected to go to St. John’s for the second tryouts and was selected to be a hitter for the NLVA team. I could not believe I was selected and once I realized it was true I was filled with excitement.
“To be able to participate in the provincial team was exciting. I was a little nervous but still excited, and I felt privileged to be trained by the people of NLVA.”
James is sixteen years of age and has been playing volleyball for four years. There were three NL boys’ teams of sixteen years of age and under. Teams consisted of eight to ten players.
“We were very honoured to walk away in second place with the silver medal,” said James. Another NL under-sixteen team won the gold, and a NL under-fifteen girls’ team won silver.”
James’ mother, Yolanda Collier-John, stated how much support he received in raising the money to participate in this event. “People would just pass along money to me when I was out. We were overwhelmed with all the support that we received from all the surrounding communities. We were all very excited for James to have this opportunity and I am very proud of what he accomplished. He came back very excited and would love to go again next year.”
“I had tons of fun and enjoyed every moment with my coaches and my team-mates,” said James.