The Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise recently honoured Autumn Janzen, an outstanding Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School, as Rotary Student of the Month for December.
Janzen is being recognized for her unwavering commitment to improving the social fabric of her school and our greater community. Accordingly, she has eagerly participated in virtually all school activities in support of worthy charitable causes and team-building exercises.
During the previous three years, Janzen worked tirelessly on Maggie’s Haunted House fundraiser in support of the community YES (Youth Engagement Strategy) project. Her efforts helped garner her a leadership award. The triannual fundraiser proved immensely successful, raising over $11,000, enough for the student body to sponsor one of the talking rooms in the newly-opened Youth Resource Centre.
“Autumn sat on Maggie’s Youth Advisory Committee for the Youth Resource Centre,” said Amberlee Erdmann, a previous YES Project Coordinator. “She works hard to lead from behind the scenes while inspiring others to be activists for positive change. Autumn has a natural talent that sparks enthusiasm in those around her. “
Janzen and classmate Amrit Dhaliwal co-organized Maggie’s contribution to last month’s 10,000 Tonight city-wide food drive, an annual local service joint venture with Pen High. This year’s event collected 18,300 non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army food bank.
“Autumn played a crucial lead role in 10,000 Tonight,” said leadership teacher Gerri Hess. “Exhibiting superb organizational skills and an amazing ability to work with others.“
“Autumn is an exemplary student — sincere, dedicated, empathetic toward others, respectful and intrinsically motivated,” said Cory Hogg, a science teacher at Maggie. “Her extensive training in dance has helped her develop intense passion and resolve, facilitating a very positive, collateral effect on fellow students. “
In the true spirit of the sestive season, Janzen has teamed up with fellow student Megan Shelley to organize the annual Christmas Luncheon with proceeds going towards Christmas hampers for families of less fortunate classmates. Besides being a lead student on the grad committee, Janzen helps with the breakfast club and promotes school events on social media platforms.
International Baccalaureate program coordinator Christy Bevington said, “Autumn is totally engrossed in giving back and making a difference in the world. She is a hands-on workhorse in all our leadership activities and strikes a fine balance between managing a very full academic load and being a valued member of our vibrant Maggie family. “
Fellow IB teacher Karla Kirmis added: “Working this year as the peer tutor in my Grade 9 IB Individuals and Societies class, Autumn is an excellent role model, offering junior students valuable tips to help them navigate a successful high school career. “
Despite her demanding extramural schedule, Janzen is firmly dedicated to quality education. She achieved a grade average of 88% in grade 11 while carrying a full slate of challenging subjects comprising biology, chemistry, pre-calculus, physics, English and French.
Janzen’s infectious passion for dance was sparked at age four when her mom enrolled her in the Okanagan Dance School. This love affair has grown steadily in the interim, propelling her into becoming one of the studio’s most accomplished dancers. For many years, she has taken classes for days, totalling nine hours, each week. The long hours of hard work have paid off with her earlier recognition as OKDS’s most improved dancer.
Autumn views her lessons as a therapeutic escape from the real world.
“My body always feels like it has to be moving and dance is the best way to express emotion through movement,” she said.
OKDS director Traci Bourne said, “Autumn is truly the consummate student … incredibly hardworking, generous, humble and always anticipates the needs of her dance team. We are so honoured to have her in our dance family.”
“It’s been my pleasure to watch Autumn grow into a beautiful, mature young woman. Her dedication, bright outlook and unrivalled work ethic are exemplary. A great future awaits her, and we are excited to see where her career takes her,” said OKDS instructor Mhaire O’Shea.
OKDS instructor Shannon Cote fully agreed, adding that, “Autumn is a unique and special teenager … thoughtful, kind and lovely in so many ways. She puts her heart and soul into dance and represents the very best in our program.“
Clearly, Janzen’s engaging and caring demeanor, coupled with her intense drive and strong sense of public duty, fuel her burning desire to reach out and improve the health and well-being of those around her. With this laudable goal as her overarching mission in life, it is fitting that upon graduation, Janzen plans to pursue university undergraduate studies, preferably at UVic, majoring in the health sciences.
Student of the Month is a Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise project. The award aims to recognize outstanding students for unique achievement in scholastics, extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership and service to others. The Club is pleased to partner with Penticton Secondary School and Princess Margaret Secondary School, aided by a financial contribution from Cascades Casino Penticton as part of its extensive involvement in community service projects.
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