Penticton Rotary names February's Student of the Month

February Student of Month

The Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise is pleased to announce the selection of Princess Margaret Secondary Grade 12 student Ciara Browne as Rotary Student of the Month for February.

Browne is being honoured for her many outstanding achievements encompassing the full gamut of school activities from academics and athletics to leadership initiatives, community engagement and selfless service to others.

First and foremost, Browne is a brilliant student. Endowed with a curiosity-fuelled, razor-sharp intellect and insatiable appetite for knowledge, she has achieved an astonishing 97.3 per cent average throughout Grades 10-12.

Browne especially thrives on courses of practical value, such as English First Peoples 12 for introducing her to the Indigenous-defining concept of human-nature reciprocity and our interdependence on the natural world.

Upon learning of the endangered Monarch butterfly and its connection to Showy Milkweed, Browne was inspired to apply the reciprocity concept by creating a project that aims to introduce hundreds of Showy Milkweed plants into the Penticton area.

She intends to use her position on Youth Council Penticton—a volunteer organization composed of high school students that aims to foster community betterment—to complete the project whilst engaging with local elementary schools to foster an educational milieu where youth learn to value ecological balance.

Sports have always been a major part of Browne’s life. Passionate and dedicated, she competed in karate from 2015 to early 2023, capturing a gold medal at the 2022 Canada Open Karate Championships in Vancouver and a bronze medal at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in PEI.

Browne has also played school basketball since 2014 (except for Grade 11, due to karate). This past year she played power forward on the Maggie senior girls’ basketball team and defense on their field hockey team. For relaxation, she enjoys skating at local ice rinks.

While Browne’s accomplishments in academics and athletics are indeed eye-popping, it is her novel leadership initiatives and tireless pursuit of altruistic acts that serve to set her apart.

One of her most impactful initiatives has been the creation of an outreach program introducing engineering in an insightful way to over 150 middle school students in our school district. Also, in the English First Peoples 12 course, she completed an amazing project on reconciliation in Aerospace Engineering with a website outlining what she believes is a path forward in creating equity in this field.

Lastly, she volunteered to film and edit a music video that the class created with their kindergarten buddies, leaving a memory that will be treasured by many people.

“Ciara is a remarkable young lady. Her proactive approach and unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship, combined with her stellar academic record, proven leadership ability, and strong athletic feats make her an ideal Rotary SOM recipient," said English teacher Erica Fitton.

"I truly believe that she will continue to excel wherever her future leads may take her while making major contributions to her community and country, and the greater environmental landscape.”

This fall, Browne was one of 5,200 Canadian students who applied for the prestigious, full-range, $100,000 Loran Award tenable at 25 partnering universities. The rigorous multi-stage selection process is ”unique in its attention to a young person’s character, … believing integrity, courage, grit and personal autonomy are better indicators of overall potential than standard academic measures.”

Clearly, these criteria are right in Browne’s wheelhouse, as she is one of only 90 finalists who will shortly travel to Toronto for two days of interviews to select up to 36 awardees.

Upon graduation, Browne plans to pursue a BASc in Engineering degree, specializing in software engineering or engineering physics, at Queen’s University, UBC or University of Waterloo. Upon finishing her BASc degree, she intends to either undertake graduate studies or enter the aerospace industry as a software engineer focusing on promoting environmental sustainability.

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