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Cochrane student receives citizenship award

Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell with Kassidy Gerhardi, a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Citizenship Medal. Photo Submitted/For Rocky View Publishing

Kassidy Gerhardi, a university student from Cochrane, was recognized for her dedication to volunteerism and leadership within her community, with a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Citizenship Medal.

Gerhardi was presented with a medal and a $5,000 scholarship, as one of eight Alberta recipients of the award for 2018.

“I was just completely shocked and my jaw dropped,” she said of receiving the letter notifying her of the honour. “I was so excited and very surprised.”

The Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Award was established in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ascension of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to the throne, said Rick Walters, manager of Cultural Initiatives at Alberta Culture. More than 127 young people have received the citizenship award since its inception, he added.

Nominated by Bow Valley High School, Gerhardi’s former school, her efforts included “many hours of organizing and chairing numerous events,” according to the Government of Alberta release.

The 18-year-old's record of volunteering is impressive; she's been involved with Time for Hope, Rocky View Leadership Academy and Students for Change and the Cochrane Classic Charity Hockey Game. She said she also served as a member and leader on the Cochrane Youth Council and the Cochrane Immigrants Services Committee.

In 2017, Gerhardi's commitment was acknowledged when she received multiple community awards, including Cochrane Youth of the Year, Banff-Airdrie Canada 150 and Cochrane Leader of Tomorrow.

“[Cochrane is] a community that's based around volunteerism and they really celebrate that,” she said. “Being around other people who are so excited about it, really makes it a lot easier to jump in and get excited about the whole thing. It's been a really great community to grow up in.”

Golden Jubilee Award recipients are selected by committee, according Walters, and all winners are high-school students who received the Premier’s Citizenship Award that same year.

“It's really how [the students] perform within their respective communities, obviously being their school and surrounding areas,” he said.

Gerhardi said she was thrilled when she received a letter from former premier Rachel Notley, notifying she had been selected for the Premier’s Citizenship Award in 2018. However, she said she soon forgot about the additional award.

“It was so exciting, especially because I assumed that was as far as that went. I was happy to receive [the Golden Jubilee letter],” she said.

In the fall, Gerhardi will enter her second year of post-secondary at Mount Royal University, where she is working towards a bachelor degree in business administration, with a major in marketing and a minor in social innovation.

She said the $5,000 scholarship is a welcome boost, and is hoping to continue with volunteerism in university.

“I'm not 100 per cent sure where I'd like it to take me, but I know that somehow I would like to incorporate that social-innovation mindset into whatever I do, in some extent,” she said.

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