Mike Byker, Sports Information Director
SIOUX CENTER – Ema Altena, a 2019 Dordt University graduate former volleyball player for the Defenders, is the GPAC nominee for the Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character award. The announcement was made along with the GPAC nominees for the A.O. Duer, Emil S. Liston and Coach of Character.
“Receiving and voting on all nominees for these awards is one of the most exciting things we do as a conference each year,” GPAC Commissioner Corey Westra said. “All our nominees and their accomplishments were impressive and picking the winners in each category as a conference is no easy task. These individuals will be strong candidates on the NAIA national level as they represent the very best of the GPAC.”
This award is presented annually to a NAIA Student-Athlete who embodies the NAIA Champions of Character initiative and the five core values of respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
Altena graduated in May with degrees in Exercise Science and Psychology with a 3.79 cumulative grade point average.
During her time at Dordt Altena has been active with Bridge of Hope Church on their Youth Leadership Team, worked with Royal Family Kids Camp of Northwest Iowa a camp guide and has been active with various youth volleyball camps.
“Ema has lived a life that is deep and meaningful, reflecting the five core values of the NAIA,” said Dordt volleyball coach Chad Hanson. “She lives a life where she is consistent in showing all the character values even if no one is watching.”
Altena was a four-time All-GPAC First-Team selection and a two-time NAIA All-America First-Team pick. She was on four teams that qualified for the NAIA National Championship, two that were NAIA National Championship Runner-Up finishers and another that made the National Championship Quarterfinals. Dordt was 118-24 with Altena in the lineup.
“She is an excellent role model, not only to campers, but to all our female volunteers,” said Jennifer Bullock, Director of Royal Family Kids Camp. “She possesses wisdom and maturity and stands out as a natural leader, both by word and example.”
The national winners will be named during the NAIA National Awards Day on Sept. 15, 2019. The NAIA winners will be recognized as part of the NAIA National Awards Luncheon at the NAIA National Convention in Kansas City, Mo. in March.