A brief look at the seven finalists for the Township of Langley’s Pete Swensson Outstanding Community Youth Award.
The award was won by D.W. Poppy Grade 12 student Virginia Nikkel.
Justin Curran, age 18, Grade 12 student at Walnut Grove
Justin Curran wanted others to feel the same positive experiences he did growing up in North Langley.
“Making sure to always give back to the community that helped you become the person that you are is super important to me,” he said. “It is not just about personal benefit (for yourself), it is also about helping build the community up and providing role models for the younger kids so they can grow up to be awesome volunteers.
Curran’s volunteer resume includes time with B.C. Special Olympics, serving as a camp counsellor, teaching water safety through his job as a lifeguard and volunteering through his church.
He plans on attending Douglas College to study sports science kinesiology and wants to become a physiotherapist.
Elizabeth Lacey, 17, Grade 12 student at Langley Fundamental
Elizabeth Lacey loves being on the ice, whether she is playing hockey or officiating.
She is also involved in volunteering at her church’s summer group as well as helping organize the Fundamental Youth for Christ group at her school.
Meaghan Laycock, 18, Grade 12 student at Brookswood
Meaghan Laycock has spent the past two years as a member of the Langley Youth Homelessness Task Force, and was the main organizer for last year’s outdoor concert fundraiser.
“I want to help others make a difference and shape my world positively and help in any way I can,” explained Laycock.
“And I really like the feeling I get when I see how happy I can make people.”
She plans on studying at SFU with a goal of becoming a French Immersion teacher.
Caleb Onderwater, 18, Grade 12 student at Credo Christian
Caleb Onderwater has always enjoyed helping others so it makes perfect sense that his chosen career path is to become a doctor.
“I really take a pleasure in helping people,” he said. “And this is a job which will have an effect on people’s lives.”
Onderwater’s volunteer activities include helping out as a member of the Langley Youth Advisory Committee, as well as helping out at his church and local elementary school.
Katrina Schulz, 17, Grade 12 student at R.E. Mountain
Thanks to getting ahead in her course work by taking summer classes, Katrina Schulz found herself with some extra time. But rather than spend that time sleeping in or catching up on work for her other classes, she spends it volunteering, either as part of the Weekend Fuel Bag program, collecting donations and putting together a lunch program for needy students in the district, or at Lifemark Physiotherapy, working with amputee clients and other injured workers.
She is especially interested in the latter as Schulz plans on studying at the University of Waterloo to become a physiotherapist herself.
Karen Shakirae, 17, Grade 12 student at Aldergrove Community
What better way to give back to her community than policing?
“Make the community a better place and keep everyone safe, that is the ultimate way of giving back,” explained Karen Shakirae.
Shakirae, who plans on studying criminology either at UFV or Kwantlen Polytechnic University, also enjoys giving back to younger kids through coaching soccer, a sport she has played since she was five years old.
Taylor Swift, 18, Grade 12 student at Langley Secondary
When something needs to get done at LSS, teachers know they can count on Taylor Swift.
The LSS ‘go-to’ person leads virtually every student event and initiative at the school.
And that has not gone unnoticed as she is one of 80 finalists from across Canada for the major TD Scholarship for Community Youth Award.
But Swift doesn’t do any of this for the recognition.
“I just find it fun (and) why wouldn’t I want to make school a fun place,” she said.
She is also involved in activities outside the school, playing a role in the Youth Homelessness Initiative Task Force.
The competitive dancer also gives by teaching younger kids.