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Banting students share their experience achieving “Excellence in Education”

June 26, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Hard work is the key to success. And the success that three Banting Memorial High School students achieved through their hard work was recently recognized.

Grade 12 students Emma Mundy, Willow Dedels, and Maria Cothari each received an Excellence in Education Award from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), which recognizes students who make the most of their high school experience.

Each year students are nominated by their teachers who later vote for the nominees they feel are most deserving of the award.

“I think it’s important to recognize students for their academic achievement in school and the contributions that they make,” said Kimberly George, Banting Memorial teacher and OSSTF representative for the Excellence in Education Award.

“It creates the opportunity to recognize students who wouldn’t necessarily be recognized for another award.”

Willow Dedels

Willow Dedels said her teacher presented the award to her last Monday and it felt great to receive the recognition.

“I put a lot of effort into my studies as well as extra curricular [activities] and I know the Excellence in Education Award is about the overall high school experience – making the most of it – and I definitely feel like I’ve done that,” she said. “I’ve really put myself out there and it’s been wonderful.”

Dedels served as one of the commissioners for Banting’s “Link Crew,” which helps Grade Nine students get acclimatized to high school. She was also the business president of Banting’s robotics team, helped run mock trials, and participated in Model U.N.

In terms of Banting’s sports teams, she’s played volleyball, rugby, badminton, ran track and played flag football since Grade Nine, where she won the 2016 and 2018 GBSSA Championships.

In the spring of 2019 Dedels learned about Wands for Wildlife Canada, which is a not-for-profit organization that uses mascara wands to treat animals in their care.

“The organization [is] huge outside of Banting but I kind of brought it our school. I asked students, staff as well, within the month of May to bring in used mascara wands that would have otherwise been thrown into the garbage,” she said. “The wands themselves are used to clean things like debris and oil from the fur of wild animals, so that was definitely something I was very passionate about.”

Outside of school, she’s a member the Interact Club, a place where youth leaders come together to make an impact on their community. The group is facilitated through Alliston’s Rotary Club.

Deeds also enjoyed volunteering at Simcoe Manor in Beeton for the past two years, but had to put it on pause back in March because of COVID-19.

“I’ve been doing that weekly on Thursdays, I go for an hour or so and I do one on one visits with the residents there and that’s been awesome. I love seeing them and I love spending that time with them,” Dedels said.

She told the Times this September she’ll be studying business at Queens University but upon her return to Beeton in the spring, she hopes to continue her volunteerism with seniors.

Looking ahead after graduation, Dedels hopes to study law and become a corporate lawyer, but says she’s “trying to take it day by day for now.”

She said she feels very fortunate to have studied at Banting and wishes the best for all her classmates going forward.

“I’m so grateful for everything that I’ve gotten from Banting and everything the staff there have given me,” Dedels lauded.

Maria Cothari

Fellow award winner Maria Cothari was presented with the Excellence in Education award by her teachers last Wednesday and said it felt great to be appreciated for her efforts at Banting over the past four years.

“[Maria’s] involvement with teams and clubs within the school is a reflection of her commitment to her academics and citizenship. She’s shown leadership and a passion to influence the wider school environment in a positive way,” said Caroline Ritchie, a Banting teacher who taught Cothari.

“She is an effective communicator, a collaborative contributor, a self-directed lifelong learner and a responsible citizen.”

Cothari was an active member of the Link Crew, Model United Nations at her school and the social media manager and president of Banting’s Me to We Club.

She played a significant role in Banting’s beautification initiative and the Soup for the Soul project which served lunch to seniors

Cothari said her involvement in extracurricular clubs and school activities is what led her to meeting all of her best friends and helped her to make the most of her high school experience.

“It’s been really nice to just have a solid group of friends that stem from that school participation and they’re all just as passionate about the same things that I was,” she said.

“It made all of the events extra special too because we knew that it was our hard work that made them happen and it was always fun doing things; it didn’t seem like a chore because we were always just doing it together.”

Cothari said it’s important to note that the impact she made during her high school career wouldn’t have been possible without the help of her fellow classmates.

“It was never just one person, it was always a team [effort],” she said.

In September, she’s studying Life Sciences at McMaster University and hopes to attend medical school afterwards to pursue a career in medicine.

Emma Mundy

Mundy received her award last Thursday from a teacher who taught her for the past three years and said it was great to see her in person once more before graduating.

Like Dedels and Cothari, Mundy is very active in many clubs at Banting and was filled with excitement and gratitude upon learning she was selected for the Excellence in Education award.

“It was definitely surprising, you don’t really expect to get recognition for just working hard because that’s something you do your whole life, but I was really excited once I found out,” she enthused.

“It was really awesome to be recognized alongside Willow and Maria as I’ve gotten to know them throughout my high school career and they’re both really awesome people, so I was really honoured to be recognized with them.”

All three of the students are members of the Link Crew and shared classes throughout their time at Banting where they became great friends.

Mundy said she really enjoyed running events at school and developing a relationship with her teachers and fellow classmates.

She has primarily studied the math and sciences stream where she’s excelled academically over the last four years.

“Not only is Emma an academically gifted student, she is very polite, humble, respectful of both her peers and teachers and an extremely hard-working student,” said Michael Wright, a Banting teacher who taught Mundy.

COVID-19 created an unprecedented learning environment for Mundy and the rest of Ontario’s students, but she said she was able to work through it over the past four months.

“It’s definitely been challenging, I do love to ask lots of questions in class, it’s a little bit more difficult to do that [online], but all the teachers were really great about answering emails and they all posted video lessons so it was easy to follow along,” she noted.

“One of my teachers is actually retiring and we we’re her last class so I was really upset that we didn’t get to see her and say goodbye to her and it’s just really hard for your last year to not get to thank all your teachers.”

However, Mundy was able to thank them via email where she expressed gratitude to them for helping her make the most of her high school experience, but said it’s not the same as an in-person goodbye.

Looking ahead, she’s studying biomedical sciences at Guelph University in September and hopes to pursue a career in healthcare.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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