A stream of speakers paid tribute to young people nominated for this year’s “Leaders of Tomorrow” awards and to their parents on Sunday, April 6, when the Ponoka Secondary Campus hosted the 18th edition of the annual awards ceremony.
National and provincial legislators as well as municipal leaders were on hand to launch the National Volunteer Week in Ponoka by recognizing this year’s nominees for the awards.
Eleven young people were awarded for their volunteer work and their efforts to help and support the community.
Emily McMillan received the award in the Grade 1-3 category, Tory Christiansen, Madison Fleck, Shaelyn Goodwin, Tyrell Griffiths, Jasmin Johal and Jodi Newton won in the Grade 4-6 category. In the junior category, Regan Corkery and KirstenPaquette were selected as the winners while in the senior category Tyson Matejka and Darien Lloyd were rewarded for their work in support of the community.
Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins said in his remarks that parents should be recognized as well as the young nominees for their support of their children in doing volunteer work.
Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Rod Fox said the future of Alberta lay with the young generation of today and praised the nominees for their valuable contributions to the community.
Reeve Paul McLauchlin of County of Ponoka said “All youth in this room are winners today” in addressing the nominees. “Thank you for being who you are,” he added.
Principal Ian Rawlinson of Ponoka Secondary Campus appealed to parents to empower their children to become leaders. “Don’t tell them what to do,” he said. “Leadership is not about having power, but it is leading by example. Empower them to become leaders.”
Bruce Banks of Alberta 4-H also congratulated the nominees. Banks confirmed that all the nominees were entitled to take part in an all-expenses-paid leadership camp in Battle Lake in May.
Darien Lloyd, speaking in a brief interview following the ceremony, said he felt honoured and privileged for being selected “out of so many nominees each of whom could have won.” He said he felt “ecstatic.” Asked what volunteerism meant for him, Lloyd said it was helping others when and where needed and giving back to the community. He said his ideal was to become a Phys-ed teacher, but if that didn’t work out, he would become a carpenter and also would seek opportunities in coaching basketball. Lloyd plays basketball and is involved with community and church activities.
Tyson Matejka, for his part, said volunteerism for him meant sharing the many opportunities he had with others who don’t have them and celebrate the achievements of those he helped. Matejka, who plays hockey and volleyball, is a member of Alberta’s 4-H judging team. Matejka plans a future in science or engineering.
Encana, the company that has supported the Leaders of Tomorrow program for many years has announced that this was the last year of their sponsorship.