Rotary International’s motto is “service above self,” and today the Rotary Club of North Bay honoured 12 students who exemplify that motto. The event was held over lunch today at the Grande Event Centre in downtown North Bay. About fifty people were there, including many Rotarians, the award recipients, and their families.
This is the 23rd year for the event, Henry Drenth, who leads the Rotary Club’s Youth Services Committee, explained. Each year the Rotary club puts the word out to all of the schools in the area, and each school is asked to submit a candidate for the award. Winners have their name etched on a brass plate, which hangs on a plaque within their schools, a certificate suitable for framing, and $100 to put in their pockets.
This year, Alex Hebert from Northern Secondary School, Elijah Dunn of Chippewa Secondary School, Ian McCallum from Ecole secondaire publique Odyssee, and Zoe Bigras of Ecole secondaire publique Nipissing Ouest were all honoured with a Rotary Annual Great Student Award.
As were Alexie Belanger from Ecole Secondaire Franco-Cite, Hannah Lyons of West Ferris Secondary, Charlie Hall from Almaguin Highlands Secondary School, and Randy Blackned from Nbisiing Secondary School.
Lest we forget Arianne Savard from Ecole Secondaire Catholique Algonquin, Sophie Bangs of Ecole Secondaire Catholique Elisabeth-Bruyere, Hannah Wunsch from F.J. McElligott Intermediate Secondary School, and Ella Oschefski from St. Joseph Scollard Hall Catholic Secondary School, all of whom were acknowledged for their remarkable volunteerism.
When Wunsch heard she’d been nominated, she admitted being humbled by the recognition. “It was a little overwhelming to be recognized for this, because I do it out of the kindness of my heart” she said. Wunsch is well-known at her school for participating in many sports, and her willingness to always lend a hand to those who need a little lift up—“it’s something I do naturally.”
“Through this award program,” Drenth explained, “the club has been promoting the values inherent in the Rotary International motto to local youth to ensure they are aware of the benefits of volunteerism.”
Drenth has helmed the Youth Services Committee “for many many years,” and he got the idea for these awards while on a trip to Louisville, Kentucky. There were students selected from 30 schools to receive a volunteer award, he recalled, so he took the notion home with him, and the North Bay chapters started its own.
“They’re exceptional kids,” Drenth emphasized. “They’re over the top, and it’s wonderful for our community.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.