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Optimists hold annual youth appreciation banquet

Victor Neglia president of the South Woolwich Optimist Club, Chris Wade Breslau Teacher, Elyse Hiller (Breslau School), Adam Frederick (Breslau School), Mitchell Hartman (St. Boniface), Henry Bank, St. Boniface Teacher, Ally Pooran (St. Boniface).

The South Woolwich Optimist Club held their annual youth appreciation banquet on Wednesday, June 14th at the Bloomingdale Recreation Center Hall. President Victor Neglia introduced the special student guests, their parents and siblings as well as Breslau teacher Chris Wade and St. Boniface School 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 and two young students from Breslau Public School 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 who are good role models, have good leadership skills, are committed to their academics, are athletic,  good citizens, and demonstrate strong Catholic values. That’s a lot to ask for in a boy or girl when they are only at the age of 13 or 14.  I’m proud to say that both of our St. Boniface recipients do possess all of these qualities, and more.

Whenever he presents this award, he thinks a great deal about the recipients and the qualities that they possess.  Realizing how difficult it must be to be a young adult in this world today. Gone are the simple “good old days” when kids were kids, they  just had to worry about school, and 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, as well as the social pressures of Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and all kinds of other social media venues that are out there which they are constantly being bombarding with. Students today need to be prepared for a tech world that we can’t even imagine existing yet.

Mitchell Hartman and Ally Pooran are good role models, have good leadership skills, are committed to their academics, are athletic, and are good citizens.  Our hope is that they continue doing all of these things, with confidence and with the assurance that they are on the right path. 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, and they 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.  I want to stress the value and importance of this award to the recipients here tonight!  This is a good one to have under your belt!  On Graduation night we present 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.   Mitchell and Ally,  Adam and  Elyse when you fill out a job application, or when you put together your resume, when you are trying to get into that college or university program, be sure to include this award on your resume.  Schools and companies out there know what the Optimist Clubs are all about, and when they see this award listed there amongst your other achievements, it will be noticed.

You all possess the qualities and requirements that this award holds – you are all academically strong, athletic, kind and compassionate. You get involved when the opportunity arises. You balance your school work with your outside  school activities.

“Mitchell – your hockey abilities – I have loved hearing about your games and your tournaments – your wins and your losses.  Ally, the confidence you have gained in the past couple of years, and your talent in acting within your drama group has been inspirational. You have both grown into incredible, confident, talented young adults! You are leaders by example. You make good decisions for yourself, and for your classmates. You possess all the qualities that are needed for success in school and when you are finished school. The young students of St. Boniface look up to you as their role models. I’m certain it’s the same for the students from Breslau.  Parents – you should be so proud of the young adults that they are today. The hope of everyone here is that you continue on this good path. Continue doing what you’re doing.”

Henry was honored to present the award to Mitchell and Ally tonight, but it is with mixed emotions that he did so. He was happy for them, and optimistic that  the future holds many more awards and accomplishments.  But, it is also with some sadness that he presents this award to them, knowing that his time with them, as their teacher for the past two years, is slowly, but surely coming to an end.  He along with the staff from  St. Boniface will miss them next year when they continue their journeys through high school.  Know that they are always, always welcome to return to visit.  Congratulations to Ally Pooran and Mitchell Hartman, this year’s recipients of the South Woolwich Optimist Club Youth Appreciation Award.

Chris Wade is the grade 7 and 8 teacher at Breslau Public school and also 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 also shared some things about the two deserving recipients of this year’s South Woolwich Optimist awards –  Adam Frederick and  Elyse Hiller.

The first recipient is Elyse Hiller. She is graduating in a little over a week and has been an active member of the Breslau Public School  community. Throughout her time at Breslau, she has been involved with many leadership opportunities including the Athletic Council and Leadership Group,” Me to We”  group, a couple of early morning hockey times on Fridays and track and field.   She was involved in their school musical this Spring putting in countless hours of practice. Elsye is also active outside of school, performing in various plays and musicals on her own time. Elyse is a mentor, a leader and an excellent example of what we encourage at Breslau Public School with our Pride Motto- Playing Fair, Respect, Inclusion, Do The Right Thing and Encouragement. Her teachers will be sad to see Elyse go to Grade 9 because she makes the classroom and school a fun, respectful place to learn. Chris  knows that Elyse is looking forward to attending Grand River in the fall to continue her studies.

The second recipient of this year’s Optimist award is Adam Frederick. He is familiar with this award because his sister won two years ago! Adam is a thoughtful student who comes to school happy and cheerful each day. He can often be found singing his favourite musical number in the hallways. For the past several years, he has been involved with various activities at Breslau Public School. He has participated in their  leadership group, school orchestra and the school musical, stealing the show with his performance of Captain Hook. Outside of the school, Adam plays hockey, attends the theatre, takes chello lessons and umpires softball.  Adam has certainly added to Breslau Public School’s learning environment with his attitude of positivity and humour.  He is currently working on our school video yearbook and will be attending Eastwood in the fall for the musical program.

“It has been a pleasure to teach both of these fine young adults for the past two years and their teachers want to congratulate them on this honour and join a special group of former students from Breslau Public School that show leadership, commitment to learning, patriotism and optimism.”

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.

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