The Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise recently rang in the New Year by celebrating the selection of Hashanah Cabug-os — a scholarly, high-octane energetic and compassionate Grade 12 student at Penticton Secondary School — as Rotary Student of the Month for January.
Cabug-os was recognized for her dogged pursuit of excellence in academics and athletics combined with a tireless commitment to help spearhead laudable leadership activities designed to enhance school culture while displaying courageous resilience in the face of adversity.
Cabug-os’ 17-year journey along life’s highway has been “an adventurous one , with many twists and turns along the way.” She was born and raised by her maternal grandparents in the Philippines until age four, when she “took a leap across the globe and landed in Prince Rupert, BC” where her mom was working hard to build their future.
After living there for only one year, she was uprooted again and then spent 10 years in Quesnel, BC with her mom, stepdad and sister.
Cabug-os initially struggled at school in Quesnel as she was enrolled in French immersion before she spoke English. But she persevered, made friends, and fell in love with competitive dance and club soccer.
She trained in all types of dance including tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and hip hop, and competed in the provincial finals at ages 12 and 13. She also played fullback on the rep soccer team from age 11 to 14 years and was a member of her school’s track and field team.
Upon moving with her family to Penticton in 2021, Cabug-os entered Pen High as a shy, wide-eyed grade 10 student. The first year proved daunting. Besides missing her tight circle of friends, she could no longer afford either dancing or club soccer and had to adapt to a new school. Then in Jan 2022, her mom suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, resulting in added anxiety at home.
Seeking a way to stimulate her competitive juices and to make new friends, Cabug-os joined the Pen High junior girls volleyball team in Grade 10 and has played on the senior girls team for the past two years. She also played on the Volleytech Volleyball Club rep team in grades 10 and 11.
“While mentally draining, I cherish the genuine connections made on and off the court not to mention the positive energy from bonding with my teammates to achieve common goals while sharing the pressure of competing as a close-knit team to the best of our ability,” Cabug-os said.
Volleyball coach Tanya Hall said, “Hashanah stood out not only for her exceptional athletic abilities but also for her outstanding strength of character and leadership qualities. On the volleyball court, she consistently displayed a strong work ethic, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to both personal and team improvement. Equipped with an infectious positive attitude, she demonstrated resilience in the face of challenges and fostered a supportive team environment. Her ability to motivate and unite the team contributed significantly to our success.”
Driven, focused and goal-orientated, Cabug-os has always been firmly committed to excelling scholastically. Pushing through periodic bouts of fatigue and mental blocks, she persevered to attain a grade average of 94% in Grade 10 and 96 per cent in Grade 11 while carrying a heavy slate of university prerequisite courses. She prefers math and the life sciences, the former as “it is precise with only one right answer” and the latter as “they reveal the intriguing workings of living things.”
French teacher Annika Everton said, “Hashanah is an outstanding student. Armed with a tireless work ethic, she displays an unquenchable thirst to learn and a keen interest to improve. Mature and well-rounded, she is deeply involved in organizing laudable activities designed to improve school culture. Above all, she is a kind and friendly person who is well-liked by all.”
English teacher Wayne Kuechle said, “Hashanah has a mature approach to her studies; she now consistently writes nuanced essays that any university professor would love to grade. In addition, she is fun to teach, and I have been enriched by our association. She is one of those students who will go on to do great things – for her, the sky is not even the limit.”
Science teacher Geoff Waterman said, “Hashanah was a superb student in my Anatomy and Physiology 12 course last year, achieving a 99 per cent grade. Goal-oriented and industrious, she always put forth her best effort. Her positivity was contagious, enabling her to spark enthusiasm in her peers. She also is a kind and caring person, assisting at home as a care giver to her mom.”
While Cabug-os had helped earlier with various fund-raising activities, she “always wanted to do more to make a difference and have her voice heard.” To this end, she eagerly enrolled in the leadership course this year and quickly became a key member of Pen High’s creative and dynamic leadership team. Working tirelessly, she has exceeded the course requisite of 80 volunteer hours.
Hitting the ground running, Cabug-os helped plan Orientation Day for new students in September and the first Lakers Day, a monthly school spirit-promoting event, in October. A stickler for detail, she also organized the annual Cross-City School Volleyball match and was a worker bee in 10,000 Tonight—the annual city-wide food drive to collect items for the Salvation Army Food Bank.
In addition, Cabug-os served as Operations Manager in Toys for Tots to Teens—the high-profile fundraiser to provide gifts to needy families at Christmas—requiring her to help in overall planning, fielding other students’ questions and sorting appropriate toys for families. She was also the Community Outreach and Marketing Coordinator for Christmas Market, a new event created to provide a fun and affordable experience for all families during the Festive Season.
Leadership teacher Marnie Mennell said, “Hashanah has consistently shown a firm commitment to the leadership class, an unwavering dedication to community events, and a genuine passion to create a positive and inclusive school environment. Her natural leadership skills shine in organizing and leading events with infectious passion and resolve, inspiring others to follow.”
Upon graduation, Cabug-os plans to undertake BSc studies in the biomedical sciences at UBC as a springboard to medical school with the ultimate aim of becoming an obstetrician. Attaining this lofty childhood dream will be difficult, but if anyone possesses the requisite toolkit — intellect, drive, laser-focus, empathy, grit and resilience — to succeed, she most assuredly does.
"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 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