Today I had the privilege of attending the Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (Y.E.S) awards ceremony at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre where 15 exceptionally talented youth in grades 6 to 10 were honoured for their achievements.
As noted by the Oak Bay Child and Youth Committee that administers the awards, “The goal of the awards is to emphasize the positive achievements of Oak Bay’s young people by recognizing those who have distinguished themselves in such areas as volunteerism, arts, citizenship, academics, athletics and/or who have overcome obstacles to achieve their goals.”
Congratulations to this year’s award winners: Georgia Alexander, Andrei Bielay, Jack Carson, Owen Crewe, Sophie de Goede, Christopher Graham, Rachel Hughes, Nicholas Kojima, Alisa Lyesina, Anika McDonald, Zachariah Mears, John Mossie, Carson Rust, Rubee Twohig and Annika Weir.
I had the pleasure of presenting the award to Sophie de Goede. Below is the text of my speech.
Sophie stands out amongst her peers in all aspects of life around Oak Bay. She is known around Oak Bay High School as an incredibly talented athlete. While this is a well-deserved reputation, it only tells part of her story. She was nominated for this award by two of her teachers – Mr. Kinnear and Mr. Garraway.
When it comes to athletics Sophie is elite in all aspects. Her desire, drive, and passion is unmatched. She spends several hours everyday training with an elite group of young athletes at the extremely prestigious Canadian Sports School at the Pacific Institute of Sports Excellence. She has parlayed this hard work into an already stellar sports career at Oak Bay High School as a Grade 10 student.
Sophie has been a starter for two years on the Sr. Girls Soccer Team. Mr. Garraway says that Sophie was the first grade 9 player in his 13 years as the Sr. Girls Soccer coach, to make and start on the senior team. She helped lead them to a Provincial Bronze medal and this year is an assistant captain — an honour which has never been given to a grade 10 player before. Sophie is also a big point getter for the Sr. Girls Track and Cross Country Teams, starter for the Sr. Girls Volleyball team, starter and multiple MVP for the Sr. Girls Basketball team, as well as team captain in what most would consider her main sport of rugby. She excels in nearly all these sports in the community as well. This includes as an underage member of the Provincial U-17 Basketball Team, and competing internationally on both the 7 & 15 aside rugby teams.
Sophie also is an academic leader at Oak Bay High School. She thrives in the classroom boasting straight A’s in all her academics. What’s even more remarkable is that Sophie also pursues volunteering opportunities around the school. This year she applied, and was accepted, to be a member of the Hero Holiday crew. These students partake in various fundraising opportunities over a two-year period. And I had the pleasure of being jailed then bailed at one of these fundraisers! The students use this money to purchase supplies to build and furnish homes in impoverished communities in Mexico. Over a ten day period they travel to Mexico and build these homes for families in need. The students immerse themselves in the community and get to know the importance of giving back to those in need.
Selfless, hard working, and determined — these attributes allow Sophie to be successful in all aspects of her life. In less than two years around Oak Bay High School, Sophie has excelled amongst her peers in all pillars of excellence. She has already created a legacy that many of our most elite students struggle to conjure up over four years. What truly makes Sophie exceptional is that despite all her success you would be truly hard pressed to find a member of staff or the student body that has even an ounce of ill will towards her. She does all these things with such class and dignity the whole school has become Sophie de Goede fans.
We are fans too Sophie, and are extremely pleased to be presenting you with a well-deserved YES Award!
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