Dilligent, hard-working and high-energy are the qualities of Grade 12 student Josephine Kay, who lives her life to the fullest.
Recognized by her teachers as a positive and eager to learn student, who has her hands in all aspects of school life, she was chosen as the Rotary Student of the Month for February.
“Josephine is one of the most empathetic students we have in our building,” said Bo Boxall, her senior leadership teacher and Penticton Secondary vice-principal. “She is always one of the first people to help with an event and is willing to do a lot of the behind the scenes work to ensure that a sense of community is developed at Pen High and throughout Penticton.”
Last year, she participated in a three-month exchange program in Belgium. Kay said it was a huge learning experience. Living the European life in Brussels, a city much bigger than Penticton, she had to learn different ways of living. The school experience itself was also very different, going from Pen High, an open public school, to a private catholic school where the classes were at a higher level and in French. Although she has been in French immersion, Kay said the language barrier was still a challenge in everyday life combined with the cultural differences. For example, Kay said she loves giving hugs, but being openly affectionate was not the norm, which made her feel very lonely.
“I became more confident because of learning to interact in different settings,” she said.
Outside of achieving good grades, music is a big part of Kay’s life.
“There has always been music in our home and dancing in the kitchen. When I was young, I had so much energy, singing and acting was a good way to channel it,” she said.
Kay was a member of the Musaic choir and used to play the violin. Now it’s the ukulele, voice with a private teacher as she works with a choreographer to prepare for auditions and does improv twice a week.
“I love playing different characters, being able to see different perspectives as I act. Playing different characters allows me to grow personally. Acting was a big part of building confidence and overcoming the anxiety about what other people think. Acting in front of people brings me joy and hopefully to them too,” she said.
Cast as the main character in Oliver, the school’s main stage production this year, she is taking the responsibility very seriously.
“It took me four years to build my skills, being present, learning and helping back stage. I trust that I will learn my lines, but it’s not just about skills,” she said. “I have to be compatible working with all the other people involved in the play, both on stage and backstage as I interact with all of them and need to show appreciation for what everyone does.”
Between her two jobs, working as a hostess at the Casa Ouzeria and at Party Perfect where she helps with children parties, and all her other activities Kay doesn’t have much time to spare. But when she does you will find her volunteering at the SPCA, Soupateria and for specific events in the community such as the Shaw TV filming at hockey games — working behind the camera.
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 and Princess Margaret Secondary Schools, aided by a financial contribution from Gateway Casinos as part of their involvement in wide-ranging community service projects.