Gifted and caring, Meredith Allen is the Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise Student of the Month for February.
A Grade 12 student at Penticton Secondary School, Allen was recognized by the club for her achievements in scholastics, music, highland dancing and above all, inspiring leadership in pressing for local climate action.
Born and raised in Penticton, Allen is a brilliant student with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Enrolled in the French immersion program, she has attained average grades of 98% in Grade 10, 99% in Grade 11 and 98% in the first semester of Grade 12. Her program has covered subjects ranging from “life sciences and physics delving into the natural world and AP English reading ancient fables to life skill courses in textile studies and woodworking.”
“With 150 students each year, I have taught some amazing students including Rhodes scholars, Canadian national scholars and Ivy League School graduates. Yet, Meredith is my top student in my 28-year career,” said English teacher Wayne Kuechle.
Allen’s quest for excellence extends to the performing arts. Her love for music is baked into her DNA as her mother, Heather, a soprano in the Seraphim Early Music Ensemble, has formal training in music performance, theory and composition. Allen learned to play the double bass at age 11 when she was too young to carry it, and now participates in the Penticton Academy Orchestra and the Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra.
A versatile musician, Allen also plays piano and violin and composes her own music. Last fall she studied composition under UBC Professor Jennifer Butler in the OSYO mentorship program. Her work, ‘Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo’, was performed by the OSYO at their concert last fall.
Highland dancing has been a big part of Allen’s life since she saw Scottish dancers perform at a family wedding 11 years ago, leading her to enroll in Emily McDonald’s School of Dance. Since then, she has performed at competitions, cultural heritage festivals and retirement homes. In April she plans on taking the Scottish Highland Associate Exam, licensing her to teach dance.
Allen’s passion for climate action began when she heard a talk by environmental activist Tzeporah Berman at the Meadowlark Festival. In Grade 10, she helped form the Sustainability Club as a forum to highlight climate change and discuss possible solutions.
“Unquestionably, our world must radically rethink our human-focused, resource-based view of nature, and implement the adaptations needed to live in harmony with nature, ” Allen said.
Allen places a premium on “being a good citizen from extending kindness and empathy to others all the way to having utmost respect for our land and environment.” In her Grade 11 year, her display of these values, coupled with “integrity, commitment, strength of character and courage to do what is right,” earned her Pen High’s Jonathan Snyder Citizenship Award.
For relaxation, Allen enjoys reading English classics—Pride and Prejudice being a favorite—and hiking, canoe camping and exploring the wilderness with family. She also enjoys sewing and making her own clothes, allowing her to not only follow a family tradition—two great-grandmothers were expert seamstresses—but also to use her creativity to customize odd fabrics and thus address environmental concerns over fabric wastage rather than support fast fashion.
Upon graduation, Allen plans to study economics with a minor in environmental sciences at either UBC or UVic, leading to a career as an environmental policy analyst.
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