Wetaskiwin’s Leaders of Tomorrow finalists named

Get to know these four Wetaskiwin and area youth

Submitted by Leaders of Tomorrow

The finalists have been selected for Wetaskiwin’s Leaders of Tomorrow event scheduled for the Reynolds Alberta Museum Apr. 16.

The following youth earned the top spot in this year’s event and age category: 6-11 years category Maria Kircher, 12-14 years Shannon Millar, 15-17 years Samantha Cardinal and 18-21 years Katie Ballhorn.

Maria Kircher

Dear Nominating Committee for Leaders of Tomorrow: It is with great pleasure that I provide Maria Kircher with a letter of reference to be considered as a young leader of tomorrow. Maria is the oldest of five children in her family and she is not shy of taking on responsibility in her family, school community, extracurricular events and her church parish. Maria is an outgoing and friendly youth who displays great joy, enthusiasm and passion in all that she does. She is a hard worker in the classroom, and supportive member of many social justice campaigns in the school and she always takes on any role with joy and belief that any task can be accomplished.

She is extremely strong in her academic and spiritual understanding of her faith and it permeates all of what Maria does daily. Maria is the proverbial ‘big sister,’ at home and at school. She loves to have the ability to create a positive impact on those who are younger than her. She takes the time to cooperate, role model and demonstrate skill building to younger children in her roles as peer mediator, safety patroller, lunch room supervisor, reading buddy and Grade 6 student. Maria always creates time to help someone who may be struggling. She loves to complete her own responsibilities in class efficiently, however she would never pass up the opportunity to help someone who needs her assistance —teacher or peer. Maria is also active in her parish community at Sacred Heart Church. She is an alter server and she demonstrates a high level of commitment at church on Sundays, and in the school during celebrations to fulfill the responsibility of alter service during masses. Maria demonstrates great love for her faith in classroom discussions, service in the mass and in service to others. She can often be heard responding that it isn’t hard to know the right thing to do, you just have to think about ‘What would Jesus do?’ and the answer is easy.

It has given me great pleasure to write this letter on behalf of Maria Kircher. If the youth of today all grew up modelling the same virtues, passion and joy in service to others as Maria does, the future for all of us is very bright.

Melanie Toohey, Sacred Heart School Teacher

Shannon Millar

Nomination of Shannon Millar for Leaders of Tomorrow (by Michelle Loov and Skippy Emmerling)

When we received the nomination form for this award, there was no other student we could think about who is more deserving than Shannon. We feel it is important to recognize Shannon for all her hard work, dedication, effort, empathy, compassion, leadership and work ethic, for she displays all these qualities not only in school, but also in the community.

Shannon is a Grade 7 student here at Gwynne School, where our student population ranges from Kindergarten- Grade 8. Being a small rural school with both Elementary and Junior High provides many opportunities for leadership and Shannon takes advantage of them all. Shannon is a regular participant on intramural teams as well as a regular lunch supervisor for our Grade 3/4 classroom. She is also an active member of our GGRT (Gwynne’s Green Recycling Team) and is often seen lending a helping hand to any student or teacher in the hallway. Shannon also helps to lead our school’s Glee club, often singing solos, and duets as well as helping other members learn their vocals and choreography. Shannon also assists our school secretary in organizing our school book fair. Shannon is able to achieve all this and still maintain her honors in academics. Shannon is often seen helping out classmates, guiding them to also be successful in the classroom, helping them study for exams and complete projects. She is also quick to notice any peers or other students who are alone or in need of friend and include them in her activity.

Shannon’s leadership skills are seen out in the community as well. Shannon has been a Highland dancer for over six years. She competes all around Alberta and recently has earned first, second and third place medals. Shannon is also an avid equestrian, competing around Alberta in English riding for over 6 years. She not only is riding twice a week and competing but she is also learning to properly care for horses and grooming them. Shannon is also becoming an accomplished pianist. She has been playing for over five years and competes in festivals.

Shannon would love to volunteer in a vet clinic as animals are her passion. When Shannon is not busy with her clubs and organizations she loves to read, be with her friends, ski, sing, and take care of her two young nieces. Shannon motivates others, by showing a lot of positive encouragement, restraining from peer pressure and being a positive role model. She Is always lending a helping hand to her peers and encouraging them in all activities. Shannon’s leadership skills stand out as she encourages others and positively guides them along on the tasks at hand. The way Shannon is often the first one to volunteer for a task, the first one to help a peer, or staff member, and always with a smile on her face and a positive attitude makes her a positive role model and leader in our community. Shannon recently rescued a vulnerable animal and did not wish to accept any reward of recognition. She felt that the reward money would be better off staying with the animal shelter. She was just happy to ensure the animal’s safety and happiness.

Shannon has many important characteristics, she is extremely kind, empathetic, sociable, and always helpful, but one that really stands out is her positive attitude. Shannon is always smiling, and finding the good in all situations. She is always around to lend a hand to anybody whether they are in Kindergarten or a member of the staff, and it is always done with a smile.

Shannon is a leader in our school and community for all of the above reasons, and perhaps most of all, because she is an extremely humbling individual. She never acts or contributes for praise or glory, only to lend a helping hand and make our school and community a better place to be at each day. The future holds many opportunities for Shannon and I look forward to seeing all her successes.

Samantha Cardinal

I am nominating Miss Samantha Cardinal, Grade 11 student of Wetaskiwin Composite High School, for a Leaders, of Tomorrow Award.

There are many reasons for my nomination of Sam, but the single most important reason is that she dedicates her time to our school by co-coaching the junior boys basketball team. She is proactive in creating meaningful plans for the boys to learn essential basketball skills, while maintaining great relationships with the boys, as well.

Sam motivates the team with her confidence and morality. She consistently demonstrates confidence, not only in her basketball skills and competencies, but shows the boys how to love themselves, have a positive image of themselves, be healthy in their lifestyle, and how to treat others with respect and dignity. She greets the kids warmly each day, and demonstrates a positive attitude that the boys have learned from.

What makes Sam stand out from her peers is that she makes an effort to be truly understanding. She recognizes the needs of the team, and endeavours to meet them by challenging the boys as players, as well as by being someone they can be themselves around. When the boys make mistakes, she lets them know in a professional manner and helps them to reconcile, and is so encouraging of their accomplishments. The boys have learned a lot from Sam, and greatly value their time with her.

Sam has dedication, which is the most important characteristic about her. She consistently demonstrates this valuable quality each day with our team, as well as in her volunteerism in her church. She genuinely wants to make a positive impact, and does so successfully, in everything she does. Her drive to help others reach their goals and become their best selves is inspiring.

Katie Balihorn

Q: What is the single most important reason you are nominating this individual?

A: Her leadership and volunteerism within our school. Katie is a very enthusiastic, hardworking student who tirelessly involves herself in all areas of school leadership. She has been a part of many of our school sports teams over the last three years. These include basketball, volleyball, badminton and track. She is also an elected member of the student council and holds the office of the Co-President this year (last year she was Co-Vice President): Over the summer she was part of Shad Valley and attended Memorial University in Newfoundland where her team won the competition for finding ways to reduce Canada’s energy footprint. This win allowed her and her team to compete against 12 other campuses that were part of the Shad program in Toronto in October of 2017. Katie was also one of the MCs to host our Graduation Convocation Ceremonies 2017 last year where she addressed over 1100 people at the Drill Hall.

Q: How does your nominee motivate others?

A: Katie leads by example. She sets the bar high and through positive leadership and role modeling, she gets everyone to buy into her successful bubbly nature. She was voted captain of the Volleyball team by the players, and is considered the team’s leader on the Senior Girls Basketball Team. Katie also volunteers outside of the school. She has been a community coach for the younger children who are part of WMBA. She spends her summers working at day camps and also works at Manluk pool.

Q: What leadership skills does your nominee display that make them stand out from their peers?

A: Katie is a highly driven student who eagerly pursues meeting the needs and requests of the student population, both here, and within all of the varied groups she has aligned herself with. She has the ability to inspire the people around her to willingly help with accomplishing the many tasks that need to be done to see an event to its completion. In this way Katie naturally recognizes abilities others have and guides them so they can realize their potential in meeting their goals and expectations.

Q: What are the most important characteristics of your nominee?

A: Her desire to succeed and the ability to recognize what needs to be done in order to achieve her goals and the goals of others around her. Katie is selfless. She leads by example. She is willing to give up her own time to help others. She is successful in all aspects of her life: sports, fine arts and academics. She is an awesome leader today as well as tomorrow.

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