One of the minds behind Princess Margaret’s Kindness Initiative, Sarah Wood, is the March Rotary Student of the Month.
“Sarah is always willing to work as part of a team. She is humble, hard-working and understands that these large-scale projects are only possible with the collaborative work of others,” said her English teacher, Jeff Fitton.
Wood can be found leading or getting involved with fundraising events and other activities that are part of school life. She is the leader for three projects in early March, mitigating some of the pressure by delegating to others. Wood often reminds herself of how much she would have liked to be involved when she was in Grade 9 and works hard to involve others.
“Doing something that matters makes me feel good,” said Wood.
Wood is one of the lead roles in this year’s musical Seussical. Despite having to audition against her friends, she is proud of having been selected. She has devoted countless hours in the last six months and has felt the reward in the recent performances. Wood also coaches Grade 6 soccer.
Most recently, she collaborated on a Kindness Initiative where every single student was given a T-shirt that extolled others to “be kind.”
“The logistics behind getting 550 students a shirt in a colour of their choosing to celebrate kindness was a feat upon itself,” said Fitton. “Few students could pull it off. But with Sarah as part of the initiative, it was possible and a great success. The ripple effect of this reminder to be kind can be seen in the change of tone in the school.”
Wood is a student whose vision extends far beyond her school, according to her teachers. Not only is she a self-motivated leader in the school, her influence is felt at the community level as well. She is part of a dedicated team which is the impetus behind the YES Project. She is also a member of the steering council and a youth advisor for the youth resource centre that will help fill a desperately needed gap in resources for youth in the Penticton region.
“This project has been a huge part of my life,” said Wood. “It keeps me busy, for sure, but is a huge accomplishment. There were many obstacles in the way, not the least being that, as a youth-based organization, people did not take us seriously initially. But we proved ourselves and we did it. Now a lot of people are helping us make the resource centre a reality.”
Wood led a special fundraiser at the school for the YES Project. Along with a dedicated cast of students and without any teacher direction, they put on a haunted house.
As a proud Pentictonite, Wood is one of the candidates in the Miss Penticton program. She loves the learning everything involved in the program, from public speaking and interview techniques to building her confidence and even to life skills such as how to change a car tire.
As a graduating student, Wood can feel the pressure as she decides what she will do in the future. Mainly, how she will balance her job at the Regency Centre, her social life, her school and community involvement, all while keeping up the good marks needed to pursue a degree in social sciences.
“Sarah is an all-star and when she leaves the school after next year her absence will be felt. She is a positive light in a world that desperately needs it,” said Fitton.
Student of the Month is a Rotary Club of Penticton-Okanagan initiative. The award aims to recognize outstanding students for unique achievement in scholastics, extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership and service to others. The Rotary Club of Penticton-Okanagan is partnering with Penticton Secondary School and Princess Margaret Secondary School, aided by a generous financial contribution from Gateway Casinos as part of their proactive involvement in wide-ranging community service projects.