Student combines athletics, education and caring

Rowan Brown is the Rotary student of the month for October

Rowan Brown is the Sunrise Rotary student of the month for October. (Contributed)

Rowan Brown, a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School, is the student of the month for October, the first honouree chosen for this school year by the Penticton Sunrise Rotary Club.

Both an athlete and a scholar, Brown has achieved excellence in both the gym and classroom. This combination of traits, along with an everyday demeanour and an unselfish personality, help make Brown an inspiring leader and admired role model. He is a poster boy for Maggie’s motto: Pride is in the AIR: Accountability, Integrity and Respect.

Brown’s passion for team sports began with playing lacrosse, basketball and volleyball in childhood and has persisted to this very day. Playing on Maggie’s volleyball and basketball teams have unquestionably become his most enjoyable school activity, because, he said, “We have an excellent coaching staff and it’s something I can do with my friends.”

Brown, at six foot five inches and 170 pounds, plays both basketball and volleyball, where he plays the starting middle blocker position and was recently elected as team captain.

“Rowan is an outstanding student, extremely mature and hard working. He is courteous, kind and highly respected by peers and teachers alike,” said Maggie biology and science teacher Rich Corrie. “As his volleyball coach, I see him as a quiet leader who leads by example, always with a positive attitude. He is very dedicated and passionate about volleyball and has trained hard year-round to become a very skilled athlete.

Maggie athletic director John Buckley agreed, adding “Rowan is a self-motivated athlete who eagerly puts in the extra work needed to acquire the skills and confidence to become an elite player. Moreover, he is also a top academic student, role model and citizen.

In his own view, Brown’s greatest accomplishment to date relates to the stellar performance of Maggie’s volleyball teams. In Grade 10, he played on the junior team that placed eighth overall in the provincial finals, advancing farther than any other team in the Okanagan. He recalls how the team “gelled over the course of the season, committing to practice set plays and then executing them as a cohesive unit.”

Similarly, last year Brown was a key member of Maggie’s senior volleyball team that ranked tenth provincially, a notable achievement for a school of only 530 students.

In each of the last three years, Brown has garnered top overall student honours at Maggie, complementing his sports performance with excellence in scholastics. Achieving an average mark of 92.5 per cent last year is especially notable, given his heavy course load which included chemistry, physics, pre-calculus, English and leadership.

“Rowan is a delightful young man whose relentless pursuit of self-improvement is often done in the service of others, said teacher Jeff Fitton. “He encourages and guides his fellow students, both on the volleyball court and in the classroom, to view any obstacle as a challenge to be overcome through teamwork and perseverance. It appears that his mission in life is to help others reach their potential.”

For the past two summers, Brown attended a week-long volleyball camp at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford. The camp, featuring Canadian men’s volleyball team member Rudy Verhoeff as a guest coach, has been rewarding.

Brown appreciates the importance of giving back to the sports he loves. Last spring, he coached a group of Grades 3/4 boys in the Lake City Development League, where he said the most rewarding part was seeing their improvement over the 10 weeks.

“Rowan was instantly popular with all of our players and coaches, and one of my most reliable student volunteers,” said Spencer McKay, youth development co-ordinator for Lake City Basketball and former Canadian men’s basketball team member.”His basketball knowledge, humble demeanour, and strong work ethic made him an ideal coach for our youth league, and his character and personality made him the perfect role model for our young athletes.”

Upon graduation, Brown plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in engineering while playing intercollegiate volleyball, a challenging dual career path.

Student of the Month is a Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise project recognizing outstanding students for achievement in scholastics, extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership and service to others. The club partners with Penticton Secondary School and Princess Margaret Secondary School, aided by a financial contribution from Cascades Casino Penticton as part of its involvement in community service projects.

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