The Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise has named Emily Mottershead, a gifted and caring Grade 11 student at Penticton Secondary School, as its Student of the Month for April.
Mottershead spearheaded key fund-raising and school spirit-enhancing initiatives both at school and in the community at large.
She is described as a "tireless workhorse at the very nerve centre of Pen High’s vibrant leadership program," devoting an average of 10 hours a week to help oversee multiple ongoing projects.
Last semester, Mottershead and classmate Simon Mennell organized Pen High’s role in the annual Penticton Provides fundraiser.
The campaign faced complications due to the ongoing pandemic and food shortages due to closed highways, but ultimately collected 18,800 non-perishable food items, 2,270 toys and $18,840 in cash to be distributed to people in need in the community and beyond.
“We were deeply sorrowed for those impacted by the floods and donated $2,000 of the donations to Princeton Secondary School, enabling us to expand the Christmas spirit of helping those in need well beyond Penticton, and for that I am very proud,” said Mottershead.
Mottershead is currently involved in two projects, Celebrate Awesome and Be Kind, that are designed to foster school cohesion and inclusion — on top of her full school schedule and involvement with the yearbook committee.
A special Be Kind week is planned for May with daily activities but students are encouraged throughout the year to practice kindness, with students wearing their “Be Kind… just because” T-shirts on specific days.
She is also helping to tee up Mental Health Week, with speakers coming in to talk about local resources, and a spring dance.
“Since receiving the Lakers Spirit Award in Grade 9, leadership has been the main focus in my life, serving as a motivator to keep my grades up and giving me personal satisfaction while also enabling me to help others gain the same fulfillment,” said Mottershead.
Teachers and administrators at Pen High sing her praises.
Her counsellor Robyn Richter described her as “kind, honest, energetic, and respectful," teacher teacher Jeremy Flett said "diligent and genuine," and teacher Eva Koch said she "exemplifies leadership and social justice in action."
"Her initiative, drive, and well-honed communication skills, coupled with her ability to recruit, inspire, and work closely with students and staff alike to coordinate project details, ensure events run smoothly. To top it off, Emily is blessed with a charismatic and engaging personality, along with a great sense of humour and infectious laugh,” Koch added.
Despite her busy extramural schedule, Mottershead manages to keep academic success at the top of her agenda, achieving an A in all her courses.
And her successes are even more incredible given her recent experiences with anxiety triggered by emetophobia, a disabling condition featuring extreme fear of feeling sick and vomiting.
Her anxiety and depression peaked during the Penticton Provides event, but she found a way to decompress and carry on, and is now managing much better after effective therapy, after hiding her condition in fear for 16 years. In so doing, she has created a blueprint for tackling future adversities.
Upon graduation next year, she plans to go to university to become a secondary school teacher in French Immersion and English/History.
"A bright future surely awaits this exceptional young lady," says the Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise.
"Student of the Month" is a Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise project. The award aims to recognize outstanding students for unique achievement in scholastics, extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership, and her service to others. The Club is pleased to recognize Penticton Secondary School and Princess Margaret Secondary School as project partners and Cascades Casino Penticton for generous financial aid.