Seven SASSY Langley youth were honoured by their peers, the local Rotary Clubs, and a theatre full of supporters Thursday night.
Four of the students recognized were from Walnut Grove Secondary, two were from R.E. Mountain, and one from Langley Secondary School.
They were the 2018 recipients of the Service Above Self Student Youth (SASSY) Awards, which were handed out at the Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley.
Each of the winners walked away with a stylized, S-shaped glass trophy, as well as a $1,000 bursary.
This was the third consecutive year that all four Rotary Clubs in Langley have come together to host this youth recognition award night.
Specifically, the SASSYs are designed to acknowledge the accomplishments of dozens of Langley’s young people, ranging in age from 15 to 21, who make a difference in the community and demonstrate the Rotary ideal of “service above self,” explained founder and presenting sponsor Rod Wainwright of Lantrax Logistics.
“There are some fabulous young people out there in Langley, and they need to be recognized,” said Wainwright, who is also a Rotarian.
“Take a look at the youth around you,” he added. “We’re in good hands.”
The list of winners spoke to the calibre of this community’s future leaders, said emceed Jasmine Lee and Ashley Haines, two of last year’s SASSY winners who returned to help the group that gave so much to them.
The community service award for 2018 was presented to Donita Raci, while the arts and culture award was given to R.E. Mountain student Kenneth Xing.
The International service award was given to another R.E. Mountain student, Allison Greenfield, while the sports leadership award was bestowed upon Walnut Grove Secondary’s Matthew Martens.
The environmental leadership award was also given to a Walnut Grove student, Hannah Cardle, while WGSS’ own Hayley Lee was selected to receive the youth leadership award, and the leadership beyond Adversity went to yet another Walnut Grove student, Netanya Castillo.
And last, but not least, the community service award was presented to Langley Secondary’s Donita Raci.
While the awards are coordinated by the Rotary Clubs in Langley, and the event is produced and chaired by Rotarian Andria McAulay.
“Youth are our future,” McAulay said, insistent that the evening’s celebration be all about recognizing those youth.
“Thank you to all our incredible SASSY nominees, you continue to inspire this committee more than you know…” she said.
In addition to the awards given out at Thursday’s, this year each of the runners up also received $500.
Further, each of this year’s applicants was asked to submit the name of a Langley charity they would like to see receive financial aid from the SASSYs.
Three thousand dollars was divvied up between three local charity efforts, based on the votes from the nominees. That translated to $750 for the new Youth Hub run by Encompass Support Services, a further $750 to the Community Justice Initiatives, and $1,500 to the Weekend Fuelbag program.
The third annual awards night also featured a variety of youth entertainers, including the R.E. Mountain jazz band, two performers from Circus Lab, and the advance dancers from Kick It Up a Notch Academy.
• Stay tuned to the Langley Advance for more about the awards night and the winning students