Michaela Anderson and Nicole Hollander were so difficult to choose between that MP Cathy McLeod and her panel of judges didn’t bother.
Both Mile 108 Elementary Grade 7 students received the MP Volunteer Service Award – the first time the award has ever been doubled.
McLeod said the panel had a large binder full of nominations, but it ultimately came down to two.
“We had a lot of applicants that might have focussed in on one area,” she said, but these winners demonstrated a “rounded diversity of volunteerism and excellence.”
“There wasn’t anything that they really didn’t do.”
McLeod said they conceived the award years ago to recognize young people who regularly volunteer and serve as leaders in their community.
One award is typically granted to a student up to Grade 7 and another to a student from Grade 8 to 12.
“I hope that these sorts of awards inspire all the students here,” she said.
McLeod, herself, attended the school’s year-end awards on Thursday, June 28, to honour the girls.
Steve Almond, the Grade 3/4 teacher who nominated the girls, said the list of volunteer activities he sent “was just immense.”
Anderson and Hollander regularly helped out at breakfast programs, with the Kindergartens, in the office and anywhere else they were needed, he said. “Anytime you asked these kids to help out they were just always willing.”
Almond said he’s never seen such “incredible leaders and good role models” in all of his 28 years of teaching.
“I really thought that they deserve the recognition of an award like this.”
He was a couple of days late sending in the applications, he admitted, but was thrilled to be able to announce that they’d won. The girls, he said, were overwhelmed and happy with the news.
“We’re hoping this is going to send them off in a real positive direction as they go into the high school and I’m sure they’re going to continue to be leaders there.”
Almond said the school strives at teaching its students to be good citizens as well as strong academics.
Principal Kevin McLennan raved about how much easier Anderson and Hollander made it for the school’s staff and teachers.
“They are here all day every day helping other people. It’s just what they live to do.”
McLennan said the girls have become an important part of the school’s fabric over the years and it wouldn’t have been enough to give them a citizen award.
More than just freely giving up their time, he said both students are smart and athletic and “absolutely all around just rock stars.”
He said everyone at the school is going to miss them but that he’s excited to see where they go from here.
“They’re awesome kids.”