Posted by Barbara Warnock on Nov 27, 2018
Justin MacDonald
Samuel Gutmanis
John Sanders
Allison Duncan
Emma Butters
Today’s meeting featured the presentation of the Student Service Above Self Awards.  Each student was introduced by a teacher who provided a synopsis of their contribution to their schools and their communities.  Our faith in young people was renewed as we listened to the praises bestowed on them. 
AVSS:  Justin MacDonald
St. Joe’s:  Emma Butters
Parkside: Allison Duncan
Central:  Samuel Gutmanis
John Sanders, representing the Sanders family, made the presentations.  John is the nephew of founding member E. Frank Sanders for whom the award is named.
Kevin Butters, father of Emma Butters, won the 50/50 draw. 
Members were very generous with their Happy Fins contributions today:
Barbara:  1.  Congratulations to the students.
                  2.  Lovely visit with daughter Emily in Gagetown.
                  3.  Enjoyable Tour of Homes as co-hostess with Mary.
                  4.  Son, Julian, paid it forward.
Gerry:       1.  Dinner with his sons tonight.
                  2.  Congratulations to the students.
Mr. Gutmanis:  1.  His son was a recipient of the SAS award.
Malcolm:  10.  Celebrating 50 year anniversary of his family’s immigration to Canada.  Joined
                            together in Montreal for a reunion.  He published a book recording the family
                            history before and after immigrating.
Stu:           1.  Renewed faith in young people.
                  2.  Tour of Homes!
John Sanders:  1.  For the fellowship he always feels when attending a meeting of our Club.
                            2.  Frank was appropriately honoured by the students who received the awards.
Trudy:      1.  Amazing students.
                  2.  Pulled off another Tour of Homes with a successful auction.
Mary:       1.  Great students.
                  2.  Tour of Homes success.
Ron:          1.  Tour of Homes once again.
                  2.  Students – particularly the respect and affection he witnessed between the        
                        students and their teachers.
Jennifer:   1.  Attended Santa Claus parade with her sons and one son announced to Santa that   
                        he had bought Santa a present.  He had purchased a coffee mug with his own
Trish:      1.  Tour of Homes.
                2.  Students were amazing.
Malcolm attended an event hosted by 100 People Who Care.  One hundred people each give $100 for a total of $10,000.00.  At the event, four organizations present their case for why they should be the recipient of the money.  This year the Mennonite Central Committee received the funds for the Buy Local Buy Fresh program.  Left over fresh food is dehydrated and turned into soup base and distributed to the local food banks.  It is a model that should be expanded into every community. 
It is indeed a privilege to present Arthur Voaden’s Secondary School’s recipient for the Service Above Self Award, Justin MacDonald. Justin is a leader in our school and community and possesses the skills and qualities which make him an ideal candidate for the honour. 
Justin is a solid student both inside the classroom and in extracurricular activities. His teachers know that he is an active part of all of his classes, consistently participating and modeling behaviour for his peers to emulate. Outside of academics, he has served on various leadership groups, overseeing and assisting with many projects to benefit students. Justin has been a prominent member of our school’s video announcement program, creating content and anchoring the broadcast many weeks. He’s served as a mentor and peer tutor to younger students throughout the school during his tenure as well, even assisting with open house and transition day activities. Justin is also the voice of our morning announcement program, and starts all of our days with a “GOOD MORNING ARTHUR VOADEN.”
Athletically, Justin has played both hockey and baseball for our school teams. He’s also participated in these sports in our community as well.  He’s a part of intramural teams and even competes against our staff in many hard-played staff/ student epic athletic battles.  
Philanthropically, in addition to supporting our school programs, Justin has organized and run activities for the Salvation Army. He’s also completed hundreds of volunteer hours at a camp for the last 3 years. This again, is just another example of his selfless dedication to improving the community and lives of those around him.
Participation in these activities alone, however, is only one part of the reasons Justin demonstrates the main tenants of “Service Above Self”. Justin brings tremendous leadership to the activities he’s involved in. In addition to working his hardest to make himself better, he also assists other students in the activities he participates in. He does this with enthusiasm and a genuine desire to see his peers succeed. Our staff heavily relies on his ability and fervor. He has an excitement and energy which is contagious, and he is easily one of the most recognizable student leaders at our school. It doesn’t matter what grade a student is in—he or she is familiar with Justin and is comfortable talking with him. His friendliness and affability are two of his strongest qualities, and his leadership and example in this make Arthur Voaden Secondary School a great place to be.
It has been an absolute pleasure for me as an educator to get to know Justin and see him thrive and do so well. We, at Arthur Voaden, think all of his accomplishments and qualities truly embody the concept of "Service Above Self", and hence, why Justin MacDonald is Arthur Voaden’s recipient of the Service Above Self Award.
I have the pleasure of speaking about Allison Duncan today, as the winner form Parkside for the Service Above Self Award.  Allison is a very deserving recipient for this award.  She is model member of the community within and outside of the school. 
Within the school, Allison has been involved in a variety of activities from grade 9 through to grade 12.  She started grade 9 off as the field hockey manager, spending countless hours volunteering her time to a team in need.  She can also be found on the sideline for various other sports volunteering to time keep or run the scoreboard.  Allison continued to share her love of sport by being a leader on the Parkside Swim team.  She recruited team members, ran practices and cheered her teammates on.  She was the first one to volunteer to help time at the meets when she wasn’t in the pool.  She is the number 1 cheerleader for the swim team as well.  She always has positive words for teammates and encourages everyone to do their best.  Her personality brings a contagious optimism to everything she does and every place she is present. 
Aside from being involved in the sports side of the school community she has been a member of the Parkside Fishing Club, International Certificate Program, Student Council and the school musical.  On student council Allison is the secretary this year.  She can be heard on the morning announcements and seen on stage at school wide assemblies helping out wherever she can.  Her leadership qualities were highlighted and appreciated at Grade 9 Fun day, where she cheered on her team, made sure everyone was involved and was having fun.  She is the first one to volunteer to help out if she sees a person or group in need.  Last year, Allison committed to our production of Rock of Ages not only a performer, but as a volunteer to help facilitate a new Grade 9 student, Ryan Ryckman to the rehearsal process. Allison was fabulous and so caring, she made the show a wonderful experience for everyone. We couldn’t thank her enough for her hard work and amazing attitude. 
Outside of school Allison continues to share her positive and caring attitude into the community.  She has volunteered countless hours helping people with disabilities, doing walk-a-thons and serving at a soup kitchen in London.  In the Southwold community she has volunteered with the Fire Department doing free bbqs for kids around the township.  She gave her time to help entertain the kids at Southwold’s Winterfest and had a smile on her face the whole time I was there!  Rosy Rhubarb also had the pleasure of having Allison help out.  She volunteered as an officiant for measuring at the longest stem and leaf competition and scooping ice cream.  The bulk of her time spent volunteering has been with children.  Whether playing with children at nurseries or entertaining them at day camps, Allison is always welcomed by the staff with open arms. 
Everyone who knows Allison, loves Allison.  Her name was the first one to come up when looking for nominations for this award and was supported by more than a dozen teachers.  The office staff and teaching staff at Parkside are so proud to be able to call Allison their own and could not think of any student more deserving than her.  Way to go Allison, you make Parkside proud!
Re: Emma Butters
Over the last four years, the St. Joseph’s community has been blessed and privileged to share Emma Butters with her parents, Faye and Kevin Butters.  I first met Emma when she was in grade 9 and while I didn’t know her well at that time, I did know she was a gem and that she was going to be a leader in our high school. 
Emma has always been a very giving young woman, kind in spirit, seemingly limitless in energy, and generous with her time.  These traits are very visible in the relationships she forges with students and teachers and in her commitment to the St. Joe’s community.  Her participation in volunteer activities covers a variety of sectors within the school and across the city, including Bible School at St. Anne’s, the Christmas Tour of Homes, scorekeeping for the boys’ basketball team, and collecting for the food banks and the St. Thomas Santa Claus parade.  This year, she has been and can be found in our Health and Wellness Club meetings and events, working on props for Mary Poppins, our school production, and working with our prom committee.
All of these activities speak to who Emma is, but there is one thing that stands out in my mind that really underlines Emma’s selfless nature and commitment to a cause.  In recent years, the St. Joseph’s “Ramily” has combined our fundraiser for cancer research, the Hike for Mike, with the Relay for Life.  Our school has not only achieved their fundraising objectives but exceeded them. On the day of the event, she is on the track walking, supporting, and encouraging those who do not have her limitless energy.  Emma leads the charge in fundraising with unrivalled passion and determination.  Since we combined the events in 2016, Emma has been our top fundraiser, seeking and securing greater contributions than any other participant. Last year, her pledges exceeded $1500.00.  She is a force in the fight against cancer and it is in respect of her commitment and care for community that Emma receives this award today.
Samuel Gutmanis introduced by Scott King
Dept. Head of History, Boys Volleyball/ Track and Field, Central Elgin Collegiate Institute
“I’ll do it”
A simple phrase, really. A signal that you are ready to step up. Volunteer. Take on a
task. Take a leadership. It’s a phrase I’m afraid we hear less and less these days from
young people (and for that matter, adults). It certainly is a phrase that escapes the lips
with reluctance more often than not.
That’s why it’s truly a pleasure to know that there are people in the world like Sam
Gutmanis. I have rarely encountered a young person who uses the phrase so often and
with such genuine sincerity and ease.
Sam is a bright light in our building. He is an includer. His positivity is worn daily with his
ever present smile and energy. He seems to be everywhere and all things at once. He
is a star athlete and mentor. He is academically committed to good work. He is the lead
in the school musical having never auditioned for one in his life. He is a leader in all of
our community fund raisers for cancer.
Outside of school, Sam in involved in his church at Knox Presbyterian, helping with
vacation bible school and other activities. He has delivered meals to shut ins and works
on his uncle’s farm. When asked what he thought he did above and beyond the norm,
he cited that he likes to get his buddies to the gym and show them some stuff. This to
me speaks volumes about Sam’s priorities and focus. It’s one thing to be involved in the
big things, and quite another to be counted upon for those little moments in life that can
make all the difference in the world to some.
Sam is a mature, highly responsible and ethical individual who was a leader in our
school and in his community. His strengths are his dedication, his work ethic and his
positive attitude. His balanced high school career so far is no doubt a forecast of greater
successes down the road. I have no doubt that he is deserving of this award. In fact,
when asked to do this speech all I had to do was follow Sam’s lead and say
“I’ll do it”