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Youth appreciated in Maryhill

The South Woolwich Optimist Club held their annual youth appreciation banquet on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 7 p.m. in  the Bloomingdale Recreation Center Hall. President Victor Neglia welcomed everyone including the special student guests and their parents and siblings as well as Breslau grade 7 / 8 teacher Chris Wade and St. Boniface grade 7 / 8 teacher Henry Bink.

Victor introduced Lynn Bailey, Lieutenant Governor of Zone 11 of the Optimist Mid-Western District which encompassed South Woolwich. Mrs. Bailey spoke briefly to the parents and students congratulated these young people. There are 7 clubs in the Zone and 12 Zones in the District.  She also stressed the need for new members for the South Woolwich Optimist Club who are in danger of folding.

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.”

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 had the pleasure of teaching and being involved with these two students over the course of five years, from grades 4-8.  Over that time Brianna Todd and Akash Bhatia have both demonstrated leadership, mentoring, volunteerism and overall willingness to make Breslau school a better place to learn.

Brianna has been involved with the Leadership Club and has helped organize events that raise awareness and money for many various causes.  She is in the school orchestra and recently was emcee for the school talent show and created the programmes for the music concert and grade 8 graduation.  She is an active leader in her grade 8 class.

Akash is a quiet leader and a hard worker.  He is a bus patrol and has been involved in intermurals playing floor hockey as well as helping with the scoring and timing of the games.  He is a peer mentor and a great role model to his younger siblings.

The Breslau school teachers believe that both students are ready to move on with their attitude of putting their best effort forward and working hard to fulfill their responsibilities through their leadership, and commitment to the schools PRIDE program: Play fair, Respect, Include, Do the right thing and Encourage others.

Henry Bink thanked the South Woolwich Optimist Club for recognizing two young students from St. Boniface school every year.  It’s wonderful to see that this award continues every year!  He is well aware of the fact that this evening can be a challenge for the Optimist Club, but is glad to see that this very important tradition has been kept.

Each year he is asked to nominate two Grade 8 students who are good role models, have good leadership skills, are committed to their academics, are athletic, and are good citizens. That’s a lot to ask for in a boy or girl when they are only 13 or 14 years of age.  He is proud to say that both of these students possess all of these qualities, and more.

It is a huge challenge to be a young adult in 2017.  Gone are the simple “good old days” where kids were kids, and they just had to worry about school, and maybe some obligations around the house to earn their allowance. We now live in an age where young people have an incredible amount of pressure put upon them. They have school, sports, family obligations, community service hours for high school, and the social pressures of Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and all kinds of other social media venues that are out there.  Our students today need to be prepared for a tech world that we can’t even imagine existing yet. The jobs that our students will have, have not even been invented yet.

“And then there is the media that young adults are constantly being bombarded with.  The messages that they see are messages that tell them they’re too tall, too short, too fat, and too skinny. Every week students see more random acts of terrorism. Their role models and the celebrities they see on TV and the Internet simply make us shudder. Our young people are witness to all of these things and so many more.  The temptations out there are enormous. And so many young people choose a path that leads to trouble – we hear about it all the time. The good path – the path less traveled becomes less appealing.”

Chase and Jasmine are already doing great things in their communities, in their schools, in their homes, and in their Church communities. They are good role models, have good leadership skills, are committed to their academics, are athletic, are good citizens, and demonstrate strong Catholic values.  All 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. Chase Schnurr and Jasmine Brown 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 St. Boniface School  presents an athlete award, a Christian living award, a leadership award, an academic proficiency award, a spirit award, 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.

Henry encouraged not only Chase and Jasmine but also Brianna and Akash when they fill out a job application, or when they put together a resume, or trying to get into a college or university program to include the Optimist award on their resume.  Schools and companies out there know what the Optimist Clubs are all about, and when they see this award listed amongst their other achievements, it will be noticed.

Henry remembers when Chase was born!  His older sister Chelsea brought him in to school when he was just a few months old for her show and tell class. He remembers Jasmine when she first came to the school too.  She was a cousin to some of his other students. He has watched them both grow, receive their First Communion, and this year helped prepare them for their Confirmation. He seen them on the playground and has coached them on teams. They both have grown into such incredible young adults. They possess all of the qualities and requirements that this award holds – they are academically strong, athletic, kind and compassionate. They both get involved when the opportunity arises. They both balance their school work with their outside school activities. They possess all the qualities that are needed for success in school and when they are finished school. The young students of St. Boniface look up to them as their role models. Your parents should be proud of the young adults that you are today. Their hopes, and the hopes of everyone here, are that you continue on this good path. Continue doing what you’re doing.

It was with mixed emotions that Henry presented this award tonight to Jasmine Brown and Chase Schnurr – two Grade 8 students who truly deserve it.  He is happy for them and optimistic that their future holds many more awards and accomplishments.  But, it is also with some sadness that he presents this award knowing that his time with them as their teacher, is slowly, but surely coming to an end.  Everyone at St. Boniface will miss them next year when they continue their journeys through high school.  Know that you are always, always welcome to return to visit.  The staff has made the right decision in selecting both of you as this year’s recipients of the South Woolwich Optimist Club Youth Appreciation Award.  Congratulations to Jasmine Brown and Chase Schnurr.

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.

Photograph above

L-R – Chris Wade (Breslau School Gr. 7 /8 teacher) Akash Bhatia (Breslau School), Brianna Todd (Breslau School) Jasmine Brown (St. Boniface), Chase Schnurr (St. Boniface), Henry Bink (St. Boniface), Victor Neglia (Optimist), Lynn Bailey (Optimist Lieutenant Governor)

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