Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 24, 2002
Edmonton Catholic Schools has honoured 26 junior and senior high school students with the Superintendents Award of Excellence. WCR reporter Ramone Gonzalez provides brief profiles on 8 of those students.
Grade 9 - St. HildaWith over 200 hours of Christian service, Law is an outstanding role model for her classmates and shares freely her many gifts, through tutoring ESL students and teaching music.
She is being called a rare young woman who excels spiritually, academically, athletically and socially and lives her Catholic faith through tolerance, kindness and generosity.
At 14, the Brunei-born Law exudes confidence about who she is and where she wants to go. "I'm a Catholic and I am truly blessed by God because he gave all these talents," she said. "I want to be an engineer and continue to play music just for the fun of it. My goal is to get to NASA and become an astronaut."
And who is her role model? "Jesus is a role model for me," she said matter-of-factly. "His faith in other people gives me faith too." Law also gives credit to her parents and her teachers "who have supported me and have given me all these opportunities for success."
This young woman is not only a gifted musician who plays piano, violin and flute but also a gifted athlete who excels in volleyball, swimming and track and field. She uses her athletic gifts to raise funds for charities and her multi-linguistic skills to tutor immigrants in Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka as well as French and English.
Why does she do what she does? "I want to push myself because I want to succeed," she says. "Besides, I want to share my gifts with others rather than just focus on myself."
St. Hilda teachers see Law as an outstanding individual who strives to make the world around her a better place.
Grade 9-St. HildaMazurek is a Christ-centred individual who shares his many talents in modest, quiet ways.
An honours student who excels in math and technology, he maintains the school homework web page, designs presentations for the school and assists staff and students with technology - even running lunch time in-services and tutoring students.
"I have a sense of responsibility," he says. "I feel I have to share my talents with others."
The 14-year-old, who has contributed some 200 hours of Christian service and excels in swimming and karate, also volunteers his musical talents on piano, flute, saxophone and recorder in his music ministry at St. Theresa's Parish. Mazurek hopes to get into medicine in the future to continue to help people.
He feels he owes his drive for success to his parents, his teachers and himself. "It is also a personal decision," he explains. "I want to be a source of inspiration to others."
Who is Mazurek's role model. "It's Jesus," he replies. "He provides a wonderful role model to follow."
Grade 9-St. Kevin"In a world of craziness, faith provides stability and direction to my life," says Katrina, a 15-year-old who models for others as a fine example of a kind, caring, thoughtful and cheerful individual.
An honours student throughout junior high and current student union president, Katrina has also been involved in the newspaper and yearbook groups, is a music ministry leader at school religious celebrations, raises funds and awareness for Third World countries, and serves and supervises disabled young adults at Dickinsfield Extended Care Centre.
"All the people around me, my parents and my teachers, inspire me to do good," she says, crediting her disabled sister Mikhayla, 5, with inspiring her to volunteer at the extended care centre.
But the overall motivation comes from God, "who is always there for me." An active member of Teens United in Christ, a Ukrainian Catholic organization, Katrina is also active at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral. Her dream for the future is to become a doctor so she can continue to help others.
Grade 12-Archbishop MacDonaldTalented, self-motivated and dedicated, Maya, 17, aspires for excellence and consistently achieves. Her Grade 12 average is the highest at the school and she is taking international baccalaureate, yet she gives of herself in many ways.
Apart from editing the school newspaper and participating in leadership conferences, Maya organizes students for holiday visits to seniors homes and volunteering at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
She has also organized school-wide Stop Racism campaigns and presentations on poverty issues in the Third World.
What inspires Maya are people in her school. "When I see teachers who want to teach and students who want to get involved that inspires me."
Faith also plays a role. "It provides motivation," says Maya, who was raised in a Hindu family. "Faith enables you to see good, to see the good in people."
She plans to stay involved and that's why she plans to pursue medicine. "I really want to help people," she says. "I want to help people through pain."
Grade 9-Blessed KateriKrista prays early in the morning and before going to bed. And on Sundays she attends Mass at St. Theresa Church with her parents. This is her way to thank God for everything. "The Lord has given me happiness and health and I thank him for that."
The 14-year-old deaf student says she has a lot to be thankful for. She achieves honours with distinction every year and has been chosen the most outstanding athlete in cross-country running.
She is also a member of the senior girls volleyball and basketball teams, a scuba diver and an active member of the peer leadership club.
Her parents play a huge part in her achievements. "They always encourage me and they are very positive," she said through an interpreter. "They never have a negative thought."
What would like Krista like to do when she grows up? "I would like to be a pro soccer player but I also want to pursue something scientific that involves math and sciences."
Principal Doug Yukes says Krista's high motivation are complimented by her respect for others, her caring and her exemplary work ethic.
"Each day she raises to the challenge and gives her best efforts. Krista shares her light constantly and leads by example," he said.
Grade 12-Holy TrinityCourtney is known as a true volunteer, the kind that is first to get involved and always see things through. And she says she owes her drive to her mother Susan, "a perfectionist" who has always made her apply herself. "I want to apply her values and her ideals to my life too."
But Courtney, 17, says faith also plays a big role in the way she approaches life, especially when it comes to helping the needy. "I have been raised in the Catholic faith which teaches you have to be in solidarity with the poor," she said. "We have to share with the less fortunate."
An honours student, an accomplished athlete and a polished public speaker, Courtney has been involved in student council for all her high school years and is currently president.
She worked with the blood donor drive, raised money for a variety of charities, is a member of the anti-impaired driving promotion group and has been involved in programs to stop racism and promote Third World development.
Last year she helped raise $1,300 for a water well in Afghanistan. Through senior high, she was on the volleyball, basketball, track and soccer teams and was chosen team captain for all of them the past two years.
Where will Courtney be in, say, 10 years? "I don't have a clue," she quickly replies. "I have too many doors open." She will take general arts at the University of Alberta next year before deciding what career path to pursue.
Grade 12-Austin O'BrienSophia is a Greek word meaning wisdom and Austin O'Brien teachers maintain their Sophia exemplifies that word.
In addition to being an honours student, the 17-year-old is also a lead singer at liturgical services, a talented pianist, a runway model, an accomplished athlete and a selfless and committed volunteer.
She organized a songfest at a local seniors lodge, works weekly at the Marian Centre's soup kitchen and devotes countless hours to the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
"I like to help people as much as I can," she says. "I enjoy helping at the Marian Centre because there you are helping people nobody cares about. Seeing the smiles on their faces gives me a lot of satisfaction."
Sophia said most of what she does is based on her Catholic faith. "The Lord told us to share what we have with others and to love everybody."
Sophia was born in Ukraine and immigrated to Canada only four years ago. Only a year after her arrival she won the Governor General's medal in Canadian history for Grade 10.
She hopes to be a doctor, perhaps a surgeon one day. Those who know her have no doubt she will accomplish that goal. Her teachers and peers admire her drive for success and speak of her unaffected grace and her way of enlightening and inspiring others through her example.
Grade 9-Blessed KateriJesus is a pretty good role model for Giulia, a 15-year-old sports buff who would like to pursue sports medicine upon graduating from high school. "He inspires me and I like the fact that he is always there when I'm feeling down."
Giulia, who has been awarded honours with distinction every year, loves sports and it shows. She is captain of the volleyball team, co-captain of the basketball and winner of the most valuable player award.
She is also a member of a chess club of more than 100 students. "Sports not increase your physical strength but also increase your self-confidence," she says. "You feel good about yourself."
Though she cares about sports, she also makes time to put in above average community service hours and is mentor, interpreter and best friend of Krista Norsworthy, Blessed Kateri's only deaf student.
Aside from Jesus, she draws inspiration from her parents, who "support me a lot and don't really pressure me." They guide her by example, she says.
School principal Doug Yukes describes Giulia is a person of strong character who is undaunted by peer pressure. Leading by example, he says, "she shares her light with others."
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