Do you know how to build a battlebot or a drift trike? Well if not, Brody Thomsen, a 15-year-old, Grade 10 student at Penticton Secondary School can tell you all about it.
Born and raised in Penticton, Brody always wanted to know how things worked.
When he was younger he had a remote control car that stopped working. So, he took it apart and put it back together. Now that he is in high school and attends technology class, he gets to build his own things.
His teachers will say that Brody doesn’t need a lot of direction. He is self-motivated and has a great attitude. His curiosity and creativity are well known to those around him.
“Brody is always in the recycle bin looking for the next bit of material for his battlebot or drift trike. He excels at building and designing,” said B. Allanson, his Tech teacher.
Brody said what he enjoys most at school is sciences, and what he enjoys least is social studies. Luckily for him, this semester at Pen Hi doesn’t include Social Studies. From Grade 6 until last year, Brody was in French Immersion. He knows that if he enjoyed the subject, he would find it easier to succeed, so he fully intends to give social studies a try, in English this time.
What stands out to his peers and his teachers is his ability to help others and working well in group settings.
“Brody is always upbeat and happy”, says Keith Brodt, his drafting teacher. “He has positive interactions with both staff and students. He shows great enthusiasm towards learning, it’s infectious.”
Brody’s schoolmates agree adding he is funny, kind, hard working and generous.
Brody is an active member of the 259 Penticton Panther Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron.
After three years, he has reached the rank of flight corporal on his way to being promoted sargent.
He is proud of having made it this far.
“It is more than a time requirement now, I get more choices volunteering on optional activities, and getting recognition to reach higher levels,” said Brody.
When he joined the air cadets being one year late, it was a clean slate. He needed to build new bonds, as his friends were all in a different year group (flight).
“It all changed and I needed to learn to make new connections,” said Brody. “This is out of my comfort zone. I have my own interests, unique to me, that is why I am who I am.
“What I have come to realize is that I can be interested in others without sharing their interests. Once I made connections, I have the feeling that I fit in.”
Last summer, Brody participated in a three-week training camp on Vancouver Island.
He took the basic survival course, which is the most difficult one to pass. It includes spending four days in an isolated area with a couple of teammates, limited supplies and lots of obstacles to overcome.
He discovered that once you were done with the basics such as ground to air signal, smoke sign, making a fishing rod with only a hook, water collection, etc, there was not too much to do.
You couldn’t walk too far for fear of meeting another group, which would automatically fail your team.
“Being so far away from home, with limited space to live in, I was initially homesick and quite hungry,” he recalled. “Not being used to putting myself out there, it required effort to connect with my partners, but I’ve have made good friends that continue now at school.”
The process certainly worked: Brody’s team won three awards at the end of the exercise: top flight in general, top barrack and top sports, as the most enthusiastic group.
Although Brody is not sure what he will do after high school, he knows it will be with computers.
Going to BCIT or UBC in Vancouver is likely in his future, with perhaps a transition through OK College or UBCO in Kelowna closer to home.
Brody is proud of having been selected to be the Rotary Student of the Month.
“I never thought it would be me, standing out as a role model that someone would look up to,” he said. “It makes me believe that if you do your best to be helpful and kind, being as good as you can be, then you may still be recognized, even in small ways like getting a thank you for helping out, or being selected as a Rotary Student of the Month.”
“Student of the Month” is a Rotary Club of Penticton-Okanagan initiative. The award aims to recognize outstanding students for unique achievement in scholastics, extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership and service to others. The Rotary Club of Penticton-Okanagan is partnering with Penticton Secondary School and Princess Margaret Secondary School, aided by a generous financial contribution from Gateway Casinos as part of their proactive involvement in wide-ranging community service projects.