What happens when you are a committed member of a school?
You may get selected to be the Rotary Student of the Month like Max Smeltzer, a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School.
No need to get first place in a national competition, or excel in a really difficult discipline at school. Being a great student, teammate and an everyday supporter is certainly worth some recognition.
“Max is a very fine young man. He exemplifies all of the qualities we try to instil in our students,” said Roger Wiebe, Maggie’s principal. “He is kind, compassionate, helpful, motivated and studious, to name a few.”
Born and raised in Penticton, Smeltzer is a student who enjoys school. The courses he likes the most are band and he enjoys playing volleyball. He is proud of how far he has come in volleyball, from being an average player to first-string, starting on the court every single time last year. He is also the assistant captain and a solid member of the team.
“The better I got, the more I got to play, the more fun it is,” he said.
In Grade 8, Smeltzer played baseball alongside Grade 12 students, and in the same year went to the B.C. Summer Games as a member of the rugby team. As the school doesn’t currently have a rugby team, he is trying to organize one by finding a coach and pulling a team together.
He plays baritone saxophone in the school’s band. Earlier, he took up the French horn, a difficult instrument that he chose knowing it would be hard but wanting to be good at it. Smeltzer loves music and everything about it.
“With music, everything clicks — not quite the same with the English course, which doesn’t seem to work in my mind,” he said.
“Max is a humble guy. He works so much behind the scene, but he really gets the job done. He is in concert band, jazz band, and Sing and Swing — a jazz combo at our school,” said Don Grant, his music teacher. “He is super reliable whether for early morning rehearsals or being available to help out other kids.”
Smeltzer was selected last year to do the lighting/music for the proms at Princess Margaret and Penticton Secondary School. Normally, two people are required to handle each area. However, he found himself having to do both.
“I focussed first on setting up lighting and sound system where I am very comfortable, but then had to deal with the music selection, learning to read the crowd and pick the right music. I really enjoyed doing it, and learned a new skill.”
When asked why he volunteered in so many ways in the music class, his answer: “It makes it easier for Dr. Grant, he has been doing his job for 35 years. It’s kind of stressful, so I might as well help out.”
Truly an attitude not always seen in people of any age.
Smeltzer is hard-working, motivated and is at school every day at 7 a.m. for volleyball or band practice. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and often jokes his way around stuff or awkward situations. His school teammates describe him as quiet, joking, quick, smart and always willing to help.
Outside school, he enjoys hunting with his Dad.
“Walking in the woods with a purpose, looking for something, really calms me,” Smeltzer said.
It’s a similar experience when he scuba-dives. He earned his scuba diving licence two years ago, making him the youngest person having done so in B.C.
Smeltzer intends to go to Selkirk College in Nelson to further pursue a career in the arts. The program, Music and Technology, is a major program for audio production and engineering. He knows it won’t be easy to get in as it is the only school in Canada offering the program, and only 10 students are admitted every year.
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.