COLUMN: In praise of our young adults

We have some amazing young people here in Summerland.

We have some amazing young people here in Summerland.

I’ve realized this in the past as I’ve taken pictures and written stories chronicling their achievements, and I’ve realized it each time I’ve covered graduation ceremonies. Their accomplishments in the classroom, in sports or in leadership are noteworthy.

But this year has been different. Over the past year, I’ve seen several of our youths who have impressed me because of the character they have displayed.

If these young people will become the leaders of tomorrow, our future is in pretty good hands.

Over the past semester, Parker Karnish, a Grade 11 student at Summerland Secondary School, has worked here at the Summerland Review through the school’s work experience program.

I’ve given him a variety of picture assignments, stories and other projects, and he continually impressed me with his work ethic and his skills in dealing with the public.

Often, I had to remind myself this was a high school student, not someone who had completed a year of university-level journalism training.

No matter what the assignment, he tackled it with enthusiasm and professionalism. (For one example of his work, see the Canadian trivia elsewhere in the paper. Half of the questions were compiled by him.)

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he becomes a trusted voice in journalism in the future.

He’s not the only outstanding young person in Summerland.

Caitlin Shaw, who is graduating today, has been recognized for her humanitarian efforts. She and three other students at the high school formed the Epilepsy Awareness Squad to provide information about epilepsy.

Whenever she has approached us at the paper to talk about her initiatives, she was articulate and extremely polite.

Members of the Epilepsy Awareness Squad organized a fundraising gala as well as initiatives to talk about the disorder. These efforts take a considerable amount of time and energy.

When I learned she had been selected as one of this year’s recipients of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, I thought she deserved the commendation.

Or consider Alex Fenning, a Grade 12 student who also works at Nesters Market. If you’ve stopped in at that grocery store, you may have encountered him working one of the cash registers.

His courteous and personable manner has impressed me. He doesn’t just ring up purchases; he also makes sure to have a quick conversation with each customer.

Every time I’ve been at his till, I’ve noticed this effort. It’s an outstanding example of good customer service.

This is the type of treatment that keeps people coming back to a business.

There are plenty of other outstanding young people in the community and it would be impossible to acknowledge all in this short space.

Some have made their mark in sports, in academics, at science fairs or in community service. Some have organized special events or promoted a variety of causes.

They deserve recognition for their efforts.

If you know a young person who has made a positive impression, take the time to tell him or her about it.

Better yet, let the community know. Take time to jot a quick comment in the comments section following this article, or send us a letter to the editor.

Outstanding efforts deserve to be recognized.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.