This is the seventh in our series of stories celebrating the outstanding accomplishments of youth in our community. These inspirational young adults are enriching our lives with their passion and commitment to the betterment of society.
Our first impression of Claire was that she was a teacher or an administrator at Oak Bay High School because of her commanding presence as we met her outside the East Office. She naturally, and quickly took charge and guided us to a small room for our interview. “Sorry for all the mess in here, it’s all the materials for the arrival of Tour de Rock tomorrow”. It turned out that she was one of three co-campaign leaders for the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock. She was immersed in last minute preparations for the big event to take place at the newly opened Oak Bay gymnasium. Yet, Claire had a calm, approachable demeanor while at the same time exuding confidence.
Clare has been involved in Cops for Cancer for a number of years. In grade 10, she shaved her head and raised $2,300.00 for the campaign. In grade 11, she became a project leader, handled media and public relations, worked on the website and emceed a benefit concert. Her role as 2014 co-campaign leader involved a speech and selection process last spring. Claire described her role in this years’ campaign as: overseeing the running of the project (extra challenging this year due to the teachers strike and late opening of school); making sure fundraising was happening; hosting meetings; setting up assembly timeline; media and public relations and assigning jobs. Claire described her leadership style as highly organized, being a good delegator and able to hold people responsible for their commitments.
Claire was born and raised in Victoria, attending Monterey and Margaret Jenkins schools before Oak Bay High. Her favourite courses are Law, Comparative Civilizations and History. She is a high achiever academically too, with an A average. “I’m not a math brain, but I loved Physics” she told us. She received Honours in Grade 9 and Honours with Distinction in Grade 10.
In addition to her studies, we weren’t surprised to learn of Claire’s many other activities. She was in Student Council (Grades 9 and 10), Community Leadership (since Grade 9) and a Connect Club Leader in Grade 11 (organizing mixer activities for international students). Last year, she joined the Environment Club and volunteered with Helping Homeless Hearts (organizing Christmas care packages for our homeless population and working at the Rainbow Kitchen). All this, and she has held part time jobs in the food service industry in her spare time! Last year, she received the prestigious Green and White Award at her school and the CTV Amazing Kid Award, along with a $1000.00 prize.
Claire has been a rower since grade 9, competing on both school teams and in club rowing. Unfortunately, this year’s school rowing season had to be cancelled due to the teachers strike. But that hasn’t diminished her passion for it. And Claire told us she’s even met one of her best friends through rowing. Claire was on the school swim and synchronized swim team in Grade 9 and last year, she joined the first girl’s rugby team at Oak Bay High.
When asked about who has been inspirational to her, Claire was quick to respond with Murray Allen, Vice Principal at Oak Bay High. “He’s a man of his word and he holds people accountable” she said, and further noted “if he says he will do something, it will get done”. It was clear to us that Claire has tremendous respect for Murray Allen.
In the long term, Claire has her sights set on a career in international relations and federal politics. She is considering a gap year with the Latitudes Program following graduation and she has already applied for a 6 month program in Ecuador. In preparation, she is taking a Spanish course in the evenings through Camosun College. Claire doesn’t have her educational goals “set in stone” and she wants some flexibility, but she did mention her dream school for an eventual law degree would be the University of Toronto. She also talked about first obtaining an undergraduate degree in political science at either the University of Victoria or the University of Toronto.
In the hour we spent chatting with Claire, it became clear to us that she was on a path to do great things. We commented to each other after the interview that we wouldn’t be a surprised to see Claire become our Premier one day. Her interest in politics, impressive leadership skills, confident yet approachable nature, and commanding presence suggest to us that Claire has a very promising future. Our democracy would be profoundly enriched by Claire’s presence, whatever political party she ends up working with.
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