Joey Knowles, the Duncan Rotary Club’s Student of the Month for March 2021, receives her cheque from program coordinator Kim Barnard and her certificate from club president Gregg Perry, outside Chemainus Secondary School earlier this month. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Joey Knowles, the Duncan Rotary Club’s Student of the Month for March 2021, receives her cheque from program coordinator Kim Barnard and her certificate from club president Gregg Perry, outside Chemainus Secondary School earlier this month. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Commitment to volunteering earns award for Chemainus Secondary’s Joey Knowles

Grade 12 student helps out in the kitchen and as a student mentor

Described as a role model for her fellow students at Chemainus Secondary School, Joey Knowles has earned recognition as the Rotary Club of Duncan’s Student of the Month for March 2021.

A Grade 12 student from Thetis Island, Knowles is a big contributor to the school community on several fronts. She helps in the kitchen five days a week preparing meals and snacks on behalf of Nourish Cowichan — cooking, cleaning and even running the kitchen when the need arises. She also takes time to talk, chat and connect with her fellow students as she serves. On top of that, Knowles is a peer tutor, working as a mentor for younger students, and displays exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, builds trusting friendships and helps vulnerable students.

“Joey goes above and beyond,” said Tina Stanyer, Knowles’s adult staff mentor, who has known her since Grade 8.

Knowles estimates that she volunteers between one and two hours every day with the lunch program, in addition to the time she spends working one-on-one with younger students, which can include going outside or going for a walk when students need to breathe or talk.

“Joey is an awesome example of what we hope all students strive to be: kind, caring, helpful, a role model and a contributor in many positive ways to create a respectful and caring school community,” Chemainus Secondary principal Lori Hryniuk said. “Joey gives back to our school in many ways and most importantly she does this without being asked. She exemplifies the values of the Rotary Club — particularly she gives selflessly.”

The Rotary Student of the Month award is presented to a student who has acted as a positive role model for their peers and contributed to their school and community in ways that represent the principles of Rotary International. The selected student receives a certificate sponsored by Duncan PrintCraft and a cheque for $100.

“This means a lot to me,” Knowles said. “I really, really enjoy serving the kids, and I really enjoy working one-on-one with them as well, and it means a lot to be able to put this toward my future career.”

Knowles plans to work for a year after graduation to save up for university, where she will study culinary arts and work toward her Red Seal Chef certification. She already has 3,000 hours toward the 5,000 she needs for her apprenticeship.

In the meantime, she will carry on her commitment to volunteering.

“I like to help,” she said. “I like to see the kids smile. It just makes me feel good. And I like to give back.”

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