The Toronto Blue Jays celebrated Sheridan Athletic Therapy students Ari Barook and Callista Tsangarakis at the Rogers Centre on September 16th 2023.
Baseball fans began their cheering before the first pitch was thrown as the students were presented with their awards on-field. Some of the Blue Jays even paused their warm-ups to cheer on the students during the presentation.
“I’m nervous and excited. I was surprised to receive this award. It’s really nice to be recognized by our staff,” said Ari Barook, moments before receiving her award.
Ari Barook received the Dr. Ron Taylor Award for her display of academic excellence in the Athletic Therapy program. The award was presented by Dr. Ron Taylor’s son, Matthew Taylor. Barook spent the summer working with the Toronto Arrows and the Canadian Sports Institute of Ontario. She felt that both placements were amazing learning opportunities.
Ari’s father, Steve Barook, was excited but not surprised by her achievements.
“[Ari] is really self-motivated, so I’m not shocked at all. Just super proud,” said Steve.
Athletic Therapy student Callista Tsangarakis had the opportunity to intern with the Blue Jays for the season as the winner of the prized Toronto Blue Jays Scholarship. Tsangarakis was in good spirits before receiving her award. She was laughing with some of the players and fellow athletic therapists near the dugout.
“It’s been awesome, I’ve loved every second of it. It really feels like a family here,” said Tsangarakis, when asked about her summer with the team.
Tsangarakis’ passion for athletic therapy was seen throughout the day. Although she was given the day off to celebrate with friends and family, she was eager to see the Blue Jays after the game. She left the celebration at the bottom of the seventh inning in order to make sure she would be able to assist the players.
“I”m very happy she was able to find her passion so early in life. Sheridan has been very incredible in supporting her,” said Callista’s mother, Angela Tsangarakis.
Callista is the third female recipient of the Toronto Blue Jays scholarship in the awards 35-year history with Sheridan. This is the first time both students honoured on the field have been women.
Janet Morrison, the president of Sheridan College was proud to be celebrating the students’ history-making accomplishments.
“This is what it’s about. Breaking boundaries, trailblazing and building an inclusive world,” said Morrison.
After 13 innings, the Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3. The stadium erupted with cheers once again. Blue Jays fans and Sheridan community members alike left the Rogers Centre with a sense of pride.