Pembroke’s best and brightest 0
The city of Pembroke celebrated the achievements of its youth by presenting its 2012 Youth Awards. Seated in the front row are, from left. Tyler Edmonds (Arts and Literature), Gavin McCracken (Leadership), and Stuart MacPherson (Young Athlete). Standing in the back row, from left, are Breckyn Carlsson (Community Contributions), Jodie Purcell (Personal Courage), Crystal Hepburn (Personal Courage), and Renee-Claude Carriere (Youth Athlete).
For the 12th year in a row, the city of Pembroke took a moment to recognize the best and brightest of its youth, as they were honoured at the 2012 Pembroke Youth Awards.
At a ceremony held Wednesday evening in the Pembroke Memorial Centre’s activity room, family, friends and supporters gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of nine individuals, who represent the best the city has to offer.
Coun. Pat Lafreniere, who with Coun. Terry O’Neill and Coun. Dan Callaghan, the head of the Recreation, Culture and Youth Committee, acted as judges for the awards, said this is the event she looks forward to the most, as it is one where they honour the caring, productive, and creative young people in the community.
“As I look around the room tonight, I see pride in the eyes of parents and teachers, I see hope for the future in the eyes of the young and I see different generations that are not so different from each other,” she said. “Just as we were once in their shoes, they will soon be in ours. They will be the decision makers and community leaders.”
Coun. Lafreniere said this night wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the Pembroke/Petawawa Lions Club, the Rotary Club of Pembroke, the Community Support Group Pembroke, Kings Sports, the Knights of Columbus, the Fiddling and Stepdancing Association, the Kiwanis Club of Pembroke, and the Silver Stick Association who provided each of the recipients the $300 which accompanied their certificates of merit.
There were five categories for which young people could be nominated for awards by members within the community:
Personal Courage: A role model for others and a person who maintains high ethical standards in difficult situations. Someone who might disregard their own personal safety or comfort to help another.
Arts and Literature: Enriching others through creativity, skills and originality in such activities as music, dance, acting and the visual arts.
Leadership: Demonstrating leadership, marked determination, creativity and a degree of achievement.
Young Athletes: It does not have to be the first person across the finish line or the gold medalist, rather the recipient of the award will demonstrate skills, devotion, sportsmanship and class under pressure.
Community Contributions: Improving the community through action, education and service. It may be the young advocate or volunteer that goes the distance to make the world a better place. This is also about citizenship, inspiration, diversity and leadership.
The recipients of the 2012 Pembroke Youth Awards are as follows:
Receiving a Leadership award is Seryca David, a student of Bishop Smith Catholic High School.
“Seryca is described as a wonderful young lady who stands out at her school. Her generousity, enthusiasm, motivation and respect for others are just a few of her admirable traits,” Coun. Lafreniere said.
“Among her many activities she has been heavily involved in the school’s anti-bullying committee and has assisted with the organization and implementation of the Grade 8 orientation. In the fall Seryca will be the first of her family to study at university where she will be enrolled in a nursing program.”
Morgan Hawkins, also a Bishop Smith Catholic High School student, received an award for Community Contributions.
“The list of organizations and events that this young lady has been involved in is very impressive,” Coun. Lafreniere said.
“From organizing student activities to supporting fundraisers for Canadian Cancer Society, local food banks to working at the Ontario Catholic Youth Leadership Camp as a counsellor to travelling to the Dominican Republic to volunteer with fellow students, Morgan is described of a lady of purpose and service and worthy of this award.”
Jodie Purcell, another Bishop Smith student, received an award for Personal Courage.
“The letter we received telling us of this young lady was truly inspiring,” Coun. Lafreniere said. “If there ever was a story of someone rising above circumstances that are life altering and being positive beyond belief, it is this young lady’s story.”
“She manages to put her everything into being successful. She accepts no sympathy and despite serious health issues that were caused by a devastating accident. She got all her studies completed. When most would have given up, she seemed to press even harder forward to ensure she would graduate with her classmates.”
Crystal Hepburn, also a Bishop Smith student, was presented a Personal Courage award as well.
“Over the course of her four years at high school, this young lady has transformed herself from a bold, rebellious Grade 9 student to a wonderfully confident, driven and mature young lady,” Coun. Lafreniere said.
“She has overcome many obstacles any of which could have easily derailed her chance of success. Instead, she has risen above with a grace and wisdom well beyond her years. She will be graduating this year and will be the first of her siblings to successfully finish high school.”
Breckyn Carlsson, another Bishop Smith High School student, received an award for Community Contributions.
“Breckyn is described as a enthusiastic, capable, considerate, sensitive person who is very willing to get involved with activities,” Coun. Lafreniere said. “Those activities include being a member of the School Social Justice Team, the Student Leadership Team, the Dominican Republic Experience Mission and helping at the St. Vincent de Paul Society Soup Kitchen. Breckyn’s leadership and her successful efforts show that she truly lives her life’s goal of trying to make this world a better place.”
The award for Arts and Literature was presented to Tyler Edmonds, a student at Fellowes High School.
“Tyler is an extremely talented artist who has already enriched the lives of many through his works,” Coun. Lafreniere said. “He excels in the visual arts and freely shares his ideas and passion for drawing.”
She said while he was serving as a camp counsellor at Camp Lauren, Mr. Edmonds drew caricatures for the campers.
“When his parents went to pick him up, there was a huge line up of young campers each waiting for Tyler to draw their picture before their parents picked them up,” the councillor said. At Riverview Heights, he volunteered to teach the senior residents to draw. He has been a member of the Valley Arts Council for two years and placed first for a Juried Art Competition in 2011 and second in the 2012 Youth division. His talents also carry through to singing and dancing where he proved his ability in the schools performance of Sound of Music.
Gavin McCracken of Fellowes High School received a Leadership award. Coun. Lafreniere said Gavin will be graduating this year and has been on the honour roll since his entry to Fellowes, has served as Grade 12 rep on student council, he has tutored other students in Math, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics and was one of the founders of the Fellowes Terry Fox Run.
“Among his many achievements he was chosen from a number of students locally, provincially, and nationally to represent at the Shad Valley Enrichment Program, where he was the leading scientist and designer of the Dalhouse University Shad Valley Prosthesis Project,” she said. “At Shad Valley he was nationally recognized winning first place in the Research in Motion Shad Entrepreneurship Cup in the summer of 2011. He is also an avid Sportsman in both Alpine Skiing and Golf. His achievements are too many to mention in one evening.”
Coun. Lafreniere said his community involvement is equally lengthy with participation at numerous local charity events. This year, Mr. McCracken will be graduating in the top ten percent of his class, and will attend McGill University next year.
Fellowes student Stuart MacPherson was named for the Young Athlete award. He is graduating from Fellowes this year and will be attending St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia where he will be taking a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Kinetics.
“During his four years at Fellowes, Stuart has been a significant member of the cross country running team, Nordic Ski team, and the Track and field team,” Coun. Lafreniere said. “In cross-country, he qualified for the provincial championship in both 2009 and 2011, and was the MVP in 2010. In Nordic skiing he qualified for the provincial championships in 2010 and 2012.”
“In track and field he has the school record for junior boys 1500 metre and steeplechase. He was athlete of the year in Grades 9, 10 and 11. He was also an organizer of the inaugural Terry Fox Run at the school and the head organizer for the second and third annual Mike Bennett Memorial relay.”
Renee-Claude Carriere of Jeanne-Lajoie School was also honoured with a Young Athlete award.
“In a small school it is someone difficult to motivate athletes to stay involved in teams and compete with the bigger schools. Not so in the case of Renee Claude,” Coun. Lafreniere said.
“Her drive and genuine desire to compete are the greatest tools a coach could ever want when it comes to team motivation. No matter how big the challenge she always maintains her composure and leads her team. In addition to leading her own teams, she also motivates younger athletes at the school. She has been a student coach for many Grade 7 and Grade 8 teams. The younger students look up to her which truly impacts their participation as they transition into the high school level.”
Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist