Delta's three Rotary clubs got together recently to recognize a number of deserving local youth at the third annual Delta Rotary Youth Awards banquet at the Delta Town & Country Inn in Ladner.
In the Compassion and Empathy category, Isabella Harned, a recent graduate of Burnsview Secondary, was recognized for demonstrating a wide range of caring acts towards others. Harned plans to attend Concordia University in the fall to study anthropology and social justice and plans to broaden her focus on global issues. She was described as a young woman with clarity of purpose, an open heart and willing hands in the service of her fellow human beings.
The Inner Strength category winner was Darren Lockard, a 16-year-old Ladner student attending the Changes Alternate Program attached to Burnsview Secondary in North Delta, who was honoured for achieving victory over adversity. Lockard had shown great resilience and determination when his mother, his sole caregiver, died of cancer two years ago. Although seeming to have lost everything and despite many challenges, he never quit on himself.
In the Helping Hand category, Ashley Burwash, a 16-year-old student at Seaquam Secondary, was honoured. On March 30 Burwash was at the playing field and saw a man on the ground not breathing. Calling 9-1-1 and attending to the man until paramedics arrived, Burwash demonstrated a willingness to remain calm and help others in extreme circumstances.
The Global category recognizes a project or activity that benefits the international community. Amanda Dow, a student from Delta Secondary, showed her empathy and compassion when she, along with the Alliance Church team, began fundraising to support the Dalit people of India. She helped raise $36,000, donating it to the Dalit Freedom Network.
The Service Above Self category is presented to the young person or persons whose story best describes the Rotary motto of "Service Above Self." The winners of this award were Jayleen Conybeer, Tyrus Drozda, Sean Glancy, Jeanette Ostrom, Navin Parmar and Cortnni Welch, all students from Cougar Canyon Elementary. They were recognized for their ongoing support, compassion and empathy they show towards the special needs students in their school.
The Rotary clubs also looked back at those who had won awards in previous years and recognized a young person who had made a special effort to uphold the honour of their award by performing Service Above Self. The first Alumni Recognition was presented to Sarita Ponce from the class of 2009.
Ponce, a student at Delview Secondary, had overcome serious health challenges and turned her difficulties into support for others. Since winning her award for Inner Strength, Ponce has gone on to be a key member of the Me to We Club at Delview and raised funds for disaster victims in Haiti and Pakistan as well as local organizations such as the Midnight Ministries Food Kitchen.