Community boasts ten worthy nominees
© Andrea Gunn photo
From left, Mayor Al Hawkins and McDonald’s owner Peggy Bartlett present Heather Harbin with the 2011 Youth of the Year award for her extensive school, community, and volunteer involvement.
Teenagers get a bad rap.
But if the ten young men and women that were nominated for this year’s Grand Falls-Windsor Youth of the Year Award are any indication, people need not worry about the younger generation.
The ceremony, which took place at McDonald’s Restaurant on Monday evening, saw a healthy crowd come out to support the communities’ best and brightest.
This year’s nominees boasted resumes that included numerous volunteer organizations, fundraising initiatives, and other extra curricular activities like sports, music, and more. On top of that, they all still had time to keep great scholastic records.
Although the judges had the choice of a lifetime, Level III Exploits Valley High student Heather Harbin was selected as the Youth of The Year and the recipient of a $500 scholarship.
Harbin’s many volunteer and extra-curricular activities include her role as an executive member for her school’s Social Action Committee, which organizes many events such as the 30-Hour Famine to help raise awareness about world hunger and other far reaching world issues. She’s involved within her school not only on the Social Action Committee but on the yearbook committee, leadership committee, grad steering committee, and more. She’s also a blood donor and a trained youth firefighter. Harbin is involved with various sports as an athlete and a volunteer, and has been on the honour roll since 2007.
Despite all the work she puts into helping to make her community and the world a better place, Harbin was still shocked to hear her name called as this year’s winner.
“It was really unexpected, especially hearing all the other nominees resumes,” she said.
Harbin said it was an honour to just be selected as a nominee among her peers.
Harbin, who will be attending her first year of Memorial University in Grand Falls-Windsor in the fall, said she hopes to study nursing.
“I like helping people,” she said. “So it’s a good fit.”
Her love for helping others is seen through her extensive resume, and she said she really enjoys all her volunteer work.
“I’ve always been drawn to groups in school that focus on the more worldly issues,” she said, adding that one issue she’s taken very seriously in her efforts is world hunger.
Harbin said even though a few bad apples can spoil the reputation of a whole demographic, she has faith in her peers to make the world a better place.
“I feel very confident in my generation, I really believe in them,” she said.
For the future
Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Al Hawkins attended Monday’s ceremony. He addressed the crowd and said the Town is proud to support its young people and celebrate their accomplishments.
“I take pride in the many young people in our (town) that make the community what it is,” said Mayor Hawkins. “Volunteers are the fabric of our community, I encourage each of you to continue with your volunteerism in the future.”
Peggy Bartlett is the owner of McDonald’s in Grand Falls-Windsor, her business has been partnering with the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor for over fifteen years to recognize the achievements of the community’s youth.
She said the most impressive part of being involved with the event is seeing the number of young people nominated.
Bartlett said the nominees are the future community leaders, and that it’s an inspiration to see so many worthy young adults each year.
The other nine nominees for the Grand Falls-Windsor Youth of the Year 2011 were Sabrina Andrews, Alexandra Antle, Melissa Blackmore, Emily Bland, Christopher Janes, Ryan Moss, Katharine Nuotio-Trimm, Bethany Parsons, and David Skeard.
Bartlett said during her greeting at the event that each year she’s reminded of a saying when she looks at all the bright and dedicated young nominees.
“It’s not important where you stand, but in which direction you’re moving,” she said.
And, from where these young people stand, it looks like they’re headed in the right direction.