Welcome to the third in our series saluting this year’s recipients of the Horizon Central Athletic Association Recognition Awards. Teachers, community volunteers and coaches put in hundreds of hours in developing programs and fostering interest and skill in high school athletes. 

This year’s crop of award recipients is a big part of student success in athletics and in academics and social development. 

Hat’s off to today’s recognized recipients.  

Alisha Demmings (Schell School, Holdfast) 

Alisha Demmings started her teaching career at Quill Lake School in 2011 and was a great addition to the staff. Alisha brought a lot of energy and positivity with her, and got involved with many aspects of the school, including junior volleyball, track & field, and other extracurricular activities. She spent many after-school hours organizing and preparing for these activities. She was always ready to volunteer and help out in any way, and always with a smile. 

Alisha arrived at Schell School in Holdfast in 2013, quickly becoming involved in coaching. She was an assistant coach for senior girls volleyball and coached track & field. She was also a strong addition to the senior girls basketball program, where her knowledge of skill development, game management, and especially strategy helped her tiny school often handily beat much bigger schools. 

When dwindling numbers affected the basketball program, Alisha turned her focus to junior girls volleyball. Her attention to skill development led her team to an HCAA District Championship followed by a silver medal in consecutive years – quite the accomplishment for such a small school. And when dwindling numbers continued to affect programming, Alisha was instrumental in assuring her players had an opportunity to play by co-oping with Imperial School. 

Alisha also brought her knowledge of track & field to Schell School, especially in the jumps, sprints, and throws. She made herself available at noon and after school. She was a calming influence at all track meets and made sure her athletes were prepared both mentally and physically. And when the former archery coaches left and/or retired, Alisha – a young mother of three – took time to attain her archery coaching certification. This was just another testament to her dedication to providing quality opportunity to the students at Schell School. 

As a teacher, a coach, and a principal, Alisha has always looked out for the best interests of her students and ensured that rules, gameplay, and sportsmanship are paramount. She has ensured participation, skill development, and opportunity were cornerstones of the overall school programming. 

Barb Klapak (Lanigan Central High School) 

Barb Klapak has been a member of the Lanigan Central High School (LCHS) staff for more than 20 years and is an avid coach in both the school and the community. 

At LCHS, Barb has coached volleyball, curling, badminton, and track & field. She has had great success as a volleyball coach winning multiple Jr. District championships. The year before Covid, Barb led her senior girls volleyball team to an SHSAA 3A Girls Provincial silver medal, but then was unable to go back the following year to challenge for gold. 

Barb has also been very involved in coaching club volleyball in Lanigan, including winning a club provincial championship with her own daughter, Cassidy, a few years ago. 

Barb is always willing to step in with any sports team as coach or mentor. She is an exemplary teacher and role model for younger athletes and works hard to instill pride and confidence in her younger female athletes. 

Thanks to Brian Grest for providing the content.