Colonel Gray to honour four

Staff ~ The Guardian
Published on October 10, 2009

Colonel Gray High School will recognize the accomplishments of four former Colonels at the second annual Colonel Gray Wall of Fame induction dinner Tuesday.

Susan (Knickle) Deighan, Wendell Horton, Jill (Taylor) Leon, and Ian (Tex) MacDonald will be recognized at the dinner that will also include Olympian Jared Connaughton as guest speaker.

While the event will be exceptional to those in attendance, the biggest benefactors will be the current and future Colonel Gray student body, as all proceeds raised from the event will be used to construct a new wellness centre with modern fitness equipment and technology.
Connaughton, a graduate of Bluefield High School, is now one of the world's fastest men.

A high school standout on the track, Connaughton worked hard to pursue a career in a sport he loves.

In 2002, he made a name for himself on a national scale by winning silver medals in the 100 and 200 at the junior national championships in Waterloo, Ont.

Later that year he won his first national title, winning the gold medal at the Canadian youth championships in Sherbrooke, Que.
His hard work and determination resulted in successes on the track that drew interest from several post-secondary institutions. In 2003, he accepted a full athletic scholarship from the University of Texas-Arlington.

While competing for UTA, he received the freshman of the year award, was indoor and outdoor conference MVP and led his team to the Southland conference championship.
Connaughton provided P.E.I. with what is arguable one of the proudest moments in athletics as he suited up in his green and white at the 2005 Canada Summer Games in Regina, winning two gold medals at a Canada Games, as he claimed both the 100 and 200 championship.
In 2008 at the Canadian Olympic trials, Jared put his name in the Canadian athletics record books by setting a Canadian championship standard in the 200m, a time that was the fastest ever by a Canadian on Canadian soil.

Later that year, all of P.E.I. and most of Canada watched as he made it to the semifinals in the 200 and finished sixth in the 4x100 at the Beijing Olympics.
A brief snapshot on those being honoured Tuesday:
Jill (Taylor) Leon always had a passion for swimming.

This passion combined with hard work resulted in success in the pool at the local, national and international level. Some of here accomplishments include setting provincial and Maritime records and winning the Atlantic Open title in 1972 and again in 1973. She also represented P.E.I. at two Canada Summer Games. As an Acadia University student athlete (1975-79), Jill won three CWIAU (now CIS) swimming titles and helped Acadia win two national championships. She established and coached the Dalhousie masters swim program and in 2008, at the age of 52, Jill set a new record for the fastest unassisted crossing of the Northumberland Strait.
Deighan is one of the rare Colonel Gray student-athletes having won athlete-of-the-year honours twice.

An all-round athlete, Deighan excelled in every sports she competed in winning MVP awards multiple times in field hockey, basketball and softball.
A member of the basketball Panthers from 1985-90, Susan helped her team win three AUAA championship titles and was named to the AUAA all-star team each year.
In the 1988-89, at the CIAU championships, UPEI had their top finish ever winning the silver medal and Susan was named to the CIAU tournament all-star team.
At the 1989 UPEI Convocation, Susan not only had the honour of giving the Valedictory address, she was also awarded the Gordon Deblois Memorial Prize given to the student who best combines athletics and academics throughout his or her university years.
Wendell Horton was Colonel Gray's principal from 1967-87 and is credited with 'creating' Colonel Gray's athletic legacy of excellence that continues to this day.

As the school's chief administrator Horton went above and beyond in providing funds that would allow athletes to compete wherever and whenever they needed to in order to pursue excellence.

When he retired in 1987 the students of Colonel Gray purchased a trophy named in his honour and is awarded annually to the student or staff member who best exemplifies the spirit of Colonel Gray athletics through their demonstrated loyalty, leadership and pursuit of excellence.
During his tenure as principal at Gray, Horton competed on numerous Island, Atlantic and national Bisley shooting teams accumulating in excess of 100 awards for his sharp shooting ability. These included winning the Governor General's award multiple times as the top shooter on the team and set a record for rounds fired in winning a shoot-off in 1990.
MacDonald taught and coached at Colonel Gray for 32 years during which time he accumulated 10 provincial football titles, four provincial hockey titles and a national high school hockey championship.

He also coached men's softball and managed the men's rugby team at Gray before retiring in 2005.

During the summer months, he competed in fastpitch softball.

In 1977, he won the batting title at the national championships and was named an all-Canadian left fielder, a first ever for an Island player.

Also in 1977, MacDonald was selected as P.E.I. senior male athlete of the year and was awarded the prestigious Lt. Governor's Trophy for excellence in sport.