Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise names Sophie Robinson April's Student of the Month

April Student of the Month

The Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise is pleased to announce the selection of Sophie Robinson — an exceptionally gifted, core values-driven, high octane-fueled and altruistic Grade 12 student at Penticton Secondary School — as Rotary Student of the Month for April.

The selection of Robinson for SOM honours is a slam-dunk. Her notable achievements in academics and the performing arts coupled with creative leadership initiatives promoting youth participation in civic affairs and global sustainability action serve as a case study of how focus, perseverance and drive in the dogged pursuit of laudable goals can produce eye-popping results.

Born and raised in Penticton, except for two years while attending the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Robinson is the younger of two children in a close-knit family. Caring, engaging and conscientious, she has been well-coached at home in developing core life skills conducive to self-fulfillment, public duty and social responsibility.

Endowed with a piercing intellect fuelled by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, Robinson has always excelled scholastically. Since enrolling in Pen High in Grade 11 last year, she has achieved a stellar average grade of 96 per cent while carrying a heavy slate of especially demanding STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-foundational subjects.

French teacher Kathryn Stel said, “Sophie is amazing! She exemplifies courtesy and respect, extending warmth and kindness to everyone she meets. Her dedication to her studies is exemplary, as seen in her commitment to completing homework diligently and on time."

Firmly committed to making a positive difference for environmental change, Robinson heads Pen High’s Sustainability Club. Under her inspiring leadership, the club has heard talks from members of First Things First Okanagan and other action groups, met with City Council, and held school events to highlight the real and present need for meaningful sustainability action.

She has thoroughly enjoyed working with other club members, noting, “They have truly inspired me with their own initiative in events we lead and within their own personal passions.”

Among the club’s many impactful activities was a field trip to Oliver in which members helped the Gleaners’ prepare a dried soup mix from unused produce that would otherwise be waste, thus repurposing the produce to create 100,000 meals for the hungry globally.

“I have seen Sophie work tirelessly to find ways to make a difference in city development and sustainable changes. She organized field trips, campaigns, workshops, and even a 5-week event to help other students learn how to implement sustainable practices in accessible ways," said sustainability club teacher sponsor Jolene Broccolo.

"She is surely leaving an impactful legacy by her laudable actions.”

Out of school, Robinson loves to dance — styles varying from ballet to modern, and lyrical to contemporary. In the past six years she has placed first in Penticton and Kelowna Kiwanis Festivals numerous times and the First Steps Choreographic Competition at the Winnipeg Royal Ballet.

Refreshingly modest, Robinson does not focus on awards as they are not what defines us. To her, “It is much more important that people continue to try and are involved in what they love to do.”

Robinson founded Youth Council Penticton last January. The council, led by Robinson with 11 other eager members from Pen High and Maggie, aims to unite and empower youth to have their voices heard on climate change, mental health and other issues that matter to them as well as learn about civic governance.

To cap her banner graduating year at Pen High, Robinson was recently selected as one of only 36 Loran Scholars in the class of 2024, from a starting pool of 5,200 applicants nation-wide.

She is the very first Penticton student to capture this highly coveted, full-range, $100,000 award tenable at 25 partnering Canadian universities, since its inception 35 years ago.

Loran’s rigorous, in-depth selection process is unique “in looking beyond grades to identify youth with exceptional strength of character, deep commitment to service, and the potential to lead with integrity.”

Upon graduation, Robinson plans to undertake undergraduate studies leading to a bachelor’s degree in international relations at either U of T’s Trinity College or UBC, with a long-range goal of working at the United Nations.

Irrespective of her career path, this immensely gifted young person seems destined to eagerly accept the challenge to leave the world a better place than she found it.

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