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Optimists show their appreciation

The South Woolwich Optimist Club held their annual youth appreciation banquet on Wednesday, June 1st at the Bloomingdale Recreation Center Hall. President Victor Neglia introduced the special student guests and their parents and siblings as well as Breslau teacher Chris Wade and St. Boniface School principal Jo Ann Giesler and grade 7 / 8 teacher Henry Bink.

Victor spoke briefly on the Optimist Club and their purpose, creed and dedication to “Bringing Out the Best in Kids” and doing their part through community service programs. “Optimist members are people getting together with friends to do things for the youth of the community.”

Henry Bink, grade 7 / 8 teacher at St. Boniface thanked the South Woolwich Optimist Club which recognizes two young students from St. Boniface every year. It’s wonderful to see that this award continues every year! He was glad to see that this tradition is being kept. The work that the Optimist do for young people, and for the community, is truly amazing!

Henry was proud to be asked again this year, to take part in the presentation of this award to our young students.

To be a young person in the year of 2016 is no easy task. We live in an age of Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and all kinds of other social media venues that are out there that we can’t even comprehend. The role models that young people have today are very different from the role models we had when we grew up. The young people are constantly bombarded with media messages on how they “should” behave.

“Someone worthy of this Youth Appreciation Award has already begun their journey on the path less travelled. They are already doing great things in their communities, in their schools, in their homes, and in their Church communities. They are good role models, they have good leadership skills, they are committed to their academics, they are athletic, they are good citizens, and they demonstrate strong Catholic values. These qualities have been taught and encouraged since they were born, by parents, grandparents, family members and friends, their teachers and every other staff member along the way. These two young people have paid close attention to these people, and the result is being celebrated tonight.”

“The South Woolwich Optimist Club Youth Appreciation Award is a very important award. On Graduation night the school presents other awards – athletic, Christian living, leadership, academic proficiency, spirit, and several others that are very respected and honorable. This one, however, is like a combination of all of those things together. The recipients of this particular award have to be strong in all those areas. This is the one award that encompasses all of the others! So on Grad night, all the other awards will be presented, but this one will also be “re-presented” in front of their families, friends, and peers.”

He mentioned that when these two students fill out their job application, or when they put together their resume and are trying to get into that college or university program, they should be sure to include this award on their resume. Companies out there know what the Optimist Clubs are all about, and when they see this award listed there amongst their other achievements, it will be noticed.

Henry says every year that it is with mixed emotions that he presents this award tonight, but is honored and proud to present this award to two Grade 8 students who truly deserve it. He is happy for them, and is optimistic that their future holds many more awards and accomplishments. But it is also with sadness that he presents this award to them because he knows that his time with them, as their teacher, is slowly, but surely coming to an end.

They will be missed next year at St. Boniface when they continue their journeys through high school, but hope that they know that they are always, always welcome to return to visit. Henry also said he knows that the staff has made the right decision in selecting these two students as this year’s recipients of the South Woolwich Optimist Club Youth Appreciation Award. Congratulations to Martina Olszewski and Matthew Thaler!

Chris Wade who is the grade 7 and 8 math and language teacher at Breslau Public school thanked the Optimist Club of South Woolwich for inviting him to this dinner and to help celebrate the accomplishments of two wonderful, young students from Breslau Public.

He shared some kind words that Seth Chigume and Jillian Frederick’s homeroom and art teacher had written.

Seth Chigume is a dynamic individual who cares for all those around him. He is a willing advocate for any of his peers who he feels needs support or assistance and shows leadership with a high regard for the wellbeing of others around him. He volunteers within the school in Student Leadership, in fund drives, assemblies and in mentoring other students. Outside of the school he is involved in cadets and has travelled to New York, he participates in Food drives and contributes to Remembrance Day events. His involvement, commitment and leadership in cadets, his respect for his fellow classmates and teachers and his involvement in sports are all ideals that teachers want to see.

Jillian Frederick is an enthusiastic contributor and mentor for several causes. She is a member on the local acting group whose proceeds from their performances supports worthy causes and this past summer was selected to participate in a Stratford Festival Camp. She volunteers within the school in Student Leadership, embracing, supporting and entertaining her fellow students. She is a natural leader. Jillian’s sense of humour, artistic outlook to life, participation in leadership club and involvement in arts outside of the school are wonderful examples of her caring, her kindness and good citizenship.

These two student exemplify the character traits that are a standard at Breslau Public.

Victor introduced Catherine Dandy, Lieutenant Governor of Zone 11 which encompassed South Woolwich. Mrs. Dandy spoke briefly to the parents and students congratulated these young people.

Also introduced was Jim Dandy, husband of Catherine who is past Governor of the Mid-Western District. There are 7 clubs in the Zone and 12 Zones in the District. There are 9 thousand Optimist Club members in Ontario.

Victor Neglia, also introduced Jim Gross who is charter president from 1987. The youth appreciation award was started in 1956 with the South Woolwich Optimist youth appreciation beginning in 1996.

The banquet closed with the everyone repeating the Optimist Creed:

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.


Picture – Henry Bink grade 7 / 8 teacher St. Boniface School Matthew Thaler, (St. Boniface), Victor Neglia president of the South Woolwich Optimist Club, Martina Olszewski (St. Boniface), Chris Wade Breslau Teacher, Seth Chigume (Breslau), Jillian Frederick (Breslau).

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