This is the twelfth 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.
Rebecca loves volunteering; she loves keeping busy, and she loves spending time with family and friends. Rebecca’s enthusiasm is infectious and her vivacious personality inspirational to those around her. She is compassionate and possesses a strong commitment to bettering her community and the less fortunate in our society. A generation of children will be incredibly fortunate to be taught by Rebecca once she becomes an elementary school teacher in the not too distant future.
Rebecca was born and raised in Victoria, attending Northridge Elementary, Glanford Middle School and Reynolds Secondary, where she is currently in her graduating year. In her last year of middle school (Grade 8), Rebecca discovered the Flexible Studies Program at Reynolds. It was a perfect fit, and she credits her middle school Principal, Mr. Louis Scigliano, “a leader [she] really looked up to”, with encouraging and supporting her in her decision to apply.
As noted in the program description, Flexible Studies at Reynolds Secondary “is designed for students interested in a structured inquiry-based approach to education, where students engage with their peers, teachers, community and environment as they pursue their academic potential.” In order to be eligible, a student needs a reference from a teacher and they must complete a number of essay questions, like, for example, “in what way do you hope to make a difference in your community?”
Rebecca decided the “Flex Program” was the right fit for her. She thrived as one of 30 English and 30 French Immersion students selected to enter the program in grade 9. Rebecca described how in the Flex Program the prescribed learning outcomes in the curricula mandated by the Ministry of Education are catered to individual students. As one example, she noted that in an English class a major project could involve writing a book or documenting a travel experience. In addition, she pointed out that the Flex Program allowed students greater opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities. And as you might imagine, Rebecca took full advantage of this flexibility.
Rebecca is involved in numerous activities at her high school, including leadership (since Grade 9), marching band (since Grade 9) and dance (Grade 9 and 10). She has been a big contributor to the Cops for Cancer “Tour de Rock” campaign ever since her Grade 6 days at Glanford Middle School. She has dedicated time to car washes, scrap metal drives, bottle drives, movie nights, skate events and bake sales – it’s fair to say Rebecca knows how to get the job done. She will “never forget the energy in the room” when it was announced that Reynolds had raised $107,000.00 (final tally) this year.
Despite the challenge of starting the 2014 term with the teacher’s striker, the school obtained yet another extraordinary fundraising result. Rebecca told us about the resolve of the students, who were “going to do this”; they used the missed school time to hold meetings, get organized and start planning fundraising events. Rebecca was determined “to use the strike as strength”.
There are countless more examples of Rebecca’s school activities and volunteer involvement: Halloween for Hunger (collecting food for food bank); Tour Guide for Information Night (directing parents and students to numerous locations in the school and answering questions); Middle School Presentations (speaking in front of multiple Grade 8 classes); preparation for multiple school assemblies, and many more.
Rebecca is also the Reynolds Secondary Student Trustee Representative. One student trustee is selected from each School District 61 high school to work with the District Superintendent. Student trustees provide input on educational matters and offer a student perspective at meetings of the School District 61 Board of Trustees, as well as the Education Policy and Operations Policy and Planning groups.
Rebecca has been on the Honour Roll since Grade 9 and has earned awards for Excellence in Academic Achievement, Leadership Service and the Teacher’s Choice Award. As a member of the Graduating Class Executive Committee, she has been involved in organizing dances and school spirit events. She has been a Peer Mentor since Grade 11, which involves mentoring new students and connecting them to activities, teachers and friends so that all students feel valued at Reynolds. While she is modest about her many achievements, it is clear Rebecca is a gifted leader and a hard worker.
After graduation, Rebecca plans to proceed towards post secondary education in Social Sciences or Education at either McMasters, Bishops or the University of Victoria. At least part of her desire to become a teacher can be attributed to the inspiring mentorship of two Reynolds teachers: Ms. Sarah Reside who “changed the way I look at education” and Ms. Heather Coey, who runs the leadership program and the school’s Green Group. Ms. Coey “is incredible and makes a huge contribution to our school”, with initiatives such as the Salad Bar, where teachers and students are provided with nutritious salads once per week made from produce grown in the school garden. Rebecca is one 3 managers of the weekly Salad Bar program.
Ten years from now Rebecca would like to be teaching in Victoria. The high caliber of teachers she has encountered at Reynolds has left her with a profound appreciation of the teaching profession. Rebecca is passionate about education as you “can change the way students look at themselves or even the world.”
For fun Rebecca loves walking, hiking and taking jazzercise classes. She also enjoys volunteering in the community, including visiting patients at Victoria General Hospital and serving dinner at Our Place homeless shelter once a week.
Interviewing Rebecca was an absolute delight. She is enthusiastic, joyful and pleasure to be around. She is one of those people who just rolls up her sleeves and gets the job done. And she does so in a thoughtful and humble way. Without any doubt, Rebecca will become an outstanding teacher one day. She’ll inspire a new generation of students just as she has already inspired her peers at Reynolds and so many others in our community.
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