An amazing array of accomplishments was cited when 120 youngsters were recognized during the Leaders of Tomorrow Awards ceremony at the community centre last Friday.
With a ‘super heroes’ theme suitably portrayed in decorations throughout, the evening’s recognitions were preceded by a dessert bar featuring cake and ice cream which was enjoyed by everyone.
Then emcee Megan Chernoff, a town councillor, welcomed a capacity crowd of 322 people.
Stating she’d read each of the nominations, she said, “I am in complete awe of the talent, kindness and community conscious youth we have in this room tonight.”
Leaders of Tomorrow, she explained, is an annual event which celebrates local youth who make meaningful contributions to our community.
“Teachers, school administrators, coaches, churches, youth leaders and community members nominate youth in three age categories and the group category. Youth are nominated based on their commitment to volunteering, sports teams, school activities, community involvement and leadership.”
Then the selection committee chooses a winner in each age category and the group category “who they feel demonstrates excellence in leadership”.
Joining her for presentation of certificates to each of the nominees and awards to the winners, was Mayor Sean McIntyre, himself a Leader of Tomorrow winner in 1998.
“It’s incredible to be in the midst of so much potential,” said McIntyre. “Not only have you, as leaders, made an impact on our community but you did so enough to be recognized.”
He thanked the nominees for “all making Sylvan Lake a stronger place and better community to call home.”
Masaii Pummings won the award for the 6-9 year old category, Emma Pierson for the 10-14 year old category and TJ Sloboda for the 15-18 year old category. The group award was presented to Beyond the Hurt facilitators from École Fox Run School.
About Masaii Pummings, Chernoff read, Masaii is a very caring girl with a heart of gold, her smile brightens the room the second she walks in. She is always on time and the first to volunteer to take on any task.
She arrives early and asks how she can help get things ready and the leaders within our Brownie group are confident asking her to do anything from setting up a craft, putting names on papers, or beginning a game with the other girls.
Once we begin she can always be found helping another child with their task. Within her school classroom it is noted that she seems to have a very strong inner sense of when another child needs support and knows just how to help.
She is always able to offer her support without coming across as bossy, staying true to her end goal of helping the other student help themselves and gain confidence.
Masaii’s personality, attitude and eagerness are many of the reasons why today she is receiving a leader of tomorrow award.
Information presented about Emma Pierson stated, Emma is a natural leader, she is energetic and enthusiastic. She is able to organize herself and others to accomplish any task efficiently and successfully. Emma organized and ran a cancer fundraiser at her school which raised $500 towards cancer research.
Emma goes out of her way to help everyone feel like they are included and part of the group. She is active within her church and always willing to help with younger children. She is great with children and often can also be found helping her sister babysit.
Emma participates in many community events and also enjoys attending programs through the public library. She is known by everyone who encounters her as helpful, friendly, welcoming, and is a role model to all those who know her.
In the 15-18 year old category, Chernoff said of TJ Sloboda, TJ is a very well rounded young man. He will be attending the University of Alberta in the fall pursuing a degree in engineering. He works tirelessly towards all his goals whether they be football, acting, singing, volunteering or his school work.
TJ is valedictorian of his graduation class, Lakers football captain, lead actor in Village of Idiots and volunteer coach for Lions football.
In the words of TJ’s nominator ‘TJ is simply the full package student’. Athletic, academic, citizenship and commitment to excellence. He is truly an exceptional individual and one of the finest students H. J. Cody has graduated.
Beyond the Hurt, the group winner, is a Red Cross program focused on preventing bullying among children and youth. This group of École Fox Run School students were trained to facilitate the program by a team of family school wellness workers then shared their knowledge with other younger students. The young leaders in this group are in a unique position to influence younger students in their school. They have a credibility that adults do not.
The group of students who dedicated their time and energy to this program were highly motivated and very easy to work with, said their nominator. They were eager to learn the material and practice public speaking and facilitation skills. They were supportive to one another and worked well together. During classroom visits within the school the teams of three were very responsible, attended their commitments on time and worked hard to present the materials to Grade 6 students.
They were great role models to their younger peers. Their willingness and motivation to educate and work with younger students related to such an important issue is commendable and appreciated.
The group included Dylan Harnett, Dylan Hilman, Everett Jeffries, Cassidy Klein, Marley McBride, Bryn O’Brien, Kayla Rosie, Jessie Schmidt and Burkely Theriault.
(Information about each of the individual and group nominees is included in separate stories on page 11 (group) and page 17 (6-9 year olds) of today’s newspaper and next week’s (10-14 year olds and 15-18 year olds.)
Entertainment during the evening was provided by two bands from House of Music. The first was Skip Riff comprised of Dave Jones, Brianne Hughes, Julie Olive and Nick Ekelund. The second was Jaby Gerald including Ainsley McCallum, Brooklyn Hughes and Julie Olive.
The selection committee for this year’s Leaders of Tomorrow Awards included Megan Callan, Krista Carlson, Megan Chernoff, DeeAnn Daniels, Deshon Lennard and Ryan Veldkamp.