Past SASSY winners like Ashley Haines and Alex Way are invited back to help organize even emcee the awards night. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

Top teens shortlisted for Langley SASSYs

Judge described student finalists as ‘amazing’ and their accomplishments as ‘mind-boggling.’

Once again, judges were at a logger head on picking the winners for this year’s SASSY Awards.

Long after the students had cleared out from Saturday’s judgment day at James Hill Elementary, several of the judges were still locked away in classrooms, debating the strengths and merits of the various top candidates they thought worthy of this year’s youth recognition.

For the third year running, all four Langley Rotary Clubs have sponsored a special recognition program called Service Above Self Student Youth (SASSY) Awards.

All the semi-finalists (three in each category) took their turn before panels of judges this past weekend, explaining why they should win.

Last year there were 42 nominations, this year there were 61.

That record number of nominees was subsequently whittled down to the top three in each of seven categories: sports, youth, community service, arts and culture, international service, and environmental leadership, as well as an overcoming adversity award.

The finalist have been picked now, but they will remain a secret until next month. The winners will be revealed during the SASSY Awards presentations on Thursday, May 17 at the Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley.

One of the judges, Susan Cairns from the Langley School District Foundation, described the students she met and interviewed Saturday as “amazing.”

Like many of the judges, she was astonished by how much each of the nominees managed to do in a day, and how much they gave of themselves to their community.

“Talking to the kids, hearing their stories. Their accomplishments are really mind-boggling,” Cairns said.

A few of last year’s winners are back. In keeping the tradition alive, Rotarians involved in organizing this program have invited past recipients to help out in subsequent years, including emceeing duties.

For instance, Alex Way, who won in the sports leadership category in year one of the SASSYs, was back last year to host the festivities. And, she was back again this year to help on judgment day.

RELATED: Youth awards night in Fort Langley included $10,000 give back

Way said she’s still anxious to give back for just a bit of what she received and learned from being part of the SASSYs.

Likewise, that’s why Ashley Haines, 18, is clawing out a bit of time from her poli-sci studies at UBC to help out with this year’s awards.

She too was at judgment day, and now she’s gearing up to share the emceeing duties with another 2017 SASSY award recipient, Jasmine Lee.

“I’m so excited to be back with the SASSY Awards this year…,” said Haines, who won last year in the youth leadership category.

“I’m really hoping that all of these youth are well represented, and I’m so excited that they’re being showcased with all of their amazing accomplishments in their different categories of leadership… it’s all about the youth this year, and the leadership they have in this community,” Haines said.

Tickets for the SASSY awards are $20 each and available from Rotarians or by going online to www.sassyawardslangley.ca.

RELATED: Deadline extended for Langley’s SASSY awards for youth

 

Aldergrove Rotarian George Bryce gauged the reaction of SASSY nominee Kenneth Xing to the interview questions and procedures used to help pick the award winners during judgment day on Saturday. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

Debate and disagreement is par for the course during the SASSY Awards judging day. Again this year, picking the top student in each category proved difficult. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

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