June 5, 2014: A Grade 11 student from Grovedale recently met with 200 youths from across the nation, thanks to a program sponsored by Canadian Rotary Clubs.
On May 4-7, Hannah Schmakeit embarked on what she refers to as “a year’s worth of experiences in four days” through Rotary Adventures in Citizenship, a program now in its 64th year which offers high school students the opportunity to learn about the privileges and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship during a four-day visit to Ottawa.
“When I learned that I had been selected, I felt extremely humbled and grateful for the opportunity,” says Miss Schmakeit.
The student says she has definitely changed because of this trip.
“I was far away from my home which meant I had to become more independent and outgoing. Before this trip, I had never travelled on my own, so it was all a very new experience.”
One of her best experiences during the week in Ottawa involved speaking her first Korean words to the Ambassador of the Republic.
“When I said ‘Thank you’, he was extremely surprised and immediately brightened up at my effort. Watching his face light up made me realize how important my actions were. To me, it was just learning a few words for fun, but to him, it was much more than that.”
Miss Schmakeit also had the opportunity to interact with new Columbian citizens immediately following their citizenship ceremony.
“They spoke to me and told me about their life and I really got more perspective for my life.”
“Robert Forest also spoke to us, and he is a man who has done everything from being a contestant on a TV game show to working as a massage therapist. He told us to try everything, be flexible, and it’s never too late to try something new.”
Although she has always planned to attend the University of Alberta, she says the trip has changed her perceptions of her passions.
“I have always loved three things: language, math and physics. During this trip, I was exposed to other future aspirations related to my three passions, and not just the most obvious ones often presented. I would like to do something that makes me happy and contributes to society,” adds Miss Schmakeit.
“I would like to thank Principal Gerard for helping me through the application process, Swan City Rotary Club for sponsoring me, Rotary Club of Ottawa for this program, my family for their support, His Excellency Ambassador Cho Hee-yong for taking even a few minutes to talk to me, my host family, and everyone else who helped in general,” says Miss Schmakeit.
For more information on Rotary Adventures in Citizenship, visit http://www.rotaryottawa.com.
Photo Caption: Hannah Schmakeit, a Grade 11 student at Peace Wapiti Academy, poses with His Excellency Ambassador Cho Hee-yong, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, during her recent trip to Ottawa through the Rotary Adventures in Citizenship Program.