The Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise’s student of the month is Grade 12 Manjot (Manny) Panghli.
Panghli is a student and athlete at Penticton Secondary School and the Okanagan Hockey Academy.
Panghli, who is 16 years old, is the younger of two children in a close-knit, community-minded family. Well-coached at home in core life skills conducive to self-fulfillment and career success, he has harnessed his inquisitive-fuelled intellect, grit and high-octane energy to excel in hockey and scholastics while undertaking impactful charitable activities.
Panghli spent his childhood in Merritt and moved to Kamloops in June 2018 before relocating to Penticton in 2020 to enrol in the OHA.
He started playing when he was eight, becoming a goalie at age 10 before starting with competitive hockey in Grade 7.
Last season, he helped the Thompson Blazers U16 AAA team to a 12-4 record, while garnering the team’s MVP award for his strong game play and leadership.
Currently, Panghli is affiliated with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the BCHL. Last month he was added to the protected list of the Spokane Chiefs, opening the door for him to advance to Major Junior A next year.
“A quiet leader who earns respect through his ability and actions, Manny has a bright future in hockey. But hockey is really only part of who Manny is,” said Dave Nackoney, OHA counsellor at Pen High. “Very few people have the vision to see the needs of others like Manny does. He is, in fact, one of the kindest and caring young men I have ever met during my 30 years in education.”
Panghli’s desire to excel extends to the classroom. Last year, he carried a demanding load of 10 in-school and online courses, including English 10 and 11, Pre-calculus 11 and 12, Biology 11 and Chemistry 11, recording an average grade of 93 per cent.
During the fall session at Pen High, he achieved an average grade of 92 per cent in six courses, providing him with sufficient credits to graduate early.
Panghli’s favourite subjects are English and history, as they afford him “an opportunity to gain insight into different cultures and traditions.”
“Manny is one of the most amazing young people I have met in my 26 years of teaching. My job is to instill confidence, compassion, and knowledge and yet I feel — in teaching Manny — that I too have been enriched,” said Pen High English teacher Wayne Kuechle. “He has such a genuine passion, fuelled by a big heart, that he transforms into action to make an impactful difference.”
Panghli’s humanitarian work began while attending Merritt Central Elementary School when he noticed that some fellow students were coming to school on an empty stomach. This led him and his older sister, Simren, to enlist local businesses to support the school-based breakfast program.
A second food drive was undertaken in December 2017 with them raising $1,000, a donation sufficient to cover two months of nutritious breakfasts. Last June, in response to COVID-19, Manny himself collected 166 pounds of food items for the Kamloops Food Bank.
Last month, he personally obtained a #RisingYouth community service grant for $750 from TakingITGlobal, a Toronto-based charity NGO, in support of the local Salvation Army Food Bank.
Panghli is quick to credit Simren, his enduring role model, and her intrinsic altruism for igniting his burning passion for helping others.
During quiet moments, Panghli enjoys reading history and cooking tandoori chicken and other scrumptious traditional Punjabi dishes for family and friends.
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