Grade 12 student revives Relay for Life at her high school after 11-year hiatus

Above, Rideau District High School student Katelyn Stojadinov is known for her caring attitude and sense of service. She helped revive the school’s Relay for Life in May 2019, which raised $33,000 for cancer research. Courtesy photo

ELGIN — Rideau District High School student Katelyn Stojadinov stands out for her caring attitude and sense of service. 

The Grade 12 student has logged 158 volunteer hours during her high school career, and played a key role in reviving her school’s Relay for Life last May. She volunteers with the school’s stage crew, and helps organize school dances and other fun activities that enhance the school culture. And, Stojadinov does it all while maintaining a 93.8 percent average. 

Despite a heavy course load, which included English, French, math and biology last term, she takes the time to volunteer because she knows its value. 

“Volunteering is important because it’s a way to give back and say thank you to our community,” says Stojadinov. “It’s particularly important for youth because we’re giving back to a community we may raise our families in one day.” 

To revive the Relay for Life at the school, which had been on a 11-year hiatus, Stojadinov worked to determine what needed to be done and to find a teacher within the school to act as an advisor. Teacher Christy McCreary agreed to help. Stojadinov then co-led the organizing committee. She coordinated speakers, helped celebrate fundraising milestones, ran the Relay website, liaised with Relay officials, and assisted with registration. The event raised $33,000 for cancer research, tripling the committee’s goal. 

Stojadinov has also served as student liaison with the North Leeds Youth Council (NLYC), and is the only student in the 60-year history of RDHS to be elected twice as student council president. 

As liaison to the NLYC, she coordinates the school’s annual Christmas visit to Maple View Lodge, a retirement home near Athens. Members of the student council lead seniors in craft sessions and Christmas carols. 

Her sense of caring extends to the environment as well. She became interested in the environment after attending the Grade 11 Outdoor Education course at her school. 

In September, she attended the Ontario Nature Youth Summit for Biodiversity. The conference, held in Orillia, discussed a range of environmental issues such as zero waste living, and biodiversity and youth action. 

At the conference, she attended a presentation by a University of Windsor professor who spoke about rehabilitating and conserving land impacted by natural disasters. She was so inspired that she now hopes to spend a career doing similar work. 

Stojadinov is well on her way to achieving that goal. In June, she will be one of the first students at RDHS to graduate from the Specialist High Skills Major Environment program. After graduation, she plans to attend the University of Guelph and study within the environmental science program.

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