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(Posted 11:30 a.m., Nov. 20)
Outstanding Youth Awards honour
east end's shining lights

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Camille Juzwik and Steffi Didomenicantonio were among 24 youth from across the east end honoured at this year's Orleans Online Outstanding Youth Awards. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Some of the east end's most amazing young people were honoured at the Orleans Theatre on Saturday during the the 4th Annual Orléans Online Outstanding Youth Awards.

The awards were first organized in 2003 to celebrate the exploits and accomplishments of area youth. Organizers received 42 nominations this year for young people ranging in age from eight to 18.

Each nominator submitted a short biography of the person they were nominating which was passed on to the seven member judging panel. Working independently, the judges went through the submissions and selected their top 12 candidates. The lists were then compiled and any nominee who received a minimum of four selections was bestowed with an award.

Of the 42 nominees, only two were selected by all seven judges. For the distinction, 17-year-old Steffi Didomenicantonio, who made it to the top five of Canadian Idol, and 18-year-old Lester B. Pearson grad Camille Juzwik received a special Crystal Award sponsored by Regimbal Trophies.

Juzwik is currently attending the University of Ottawa where she is majoring in microbiology. Last year, she attained the highest average among all four boards in the east end with a mark of 98 per cent. She also won a gold medal at the city high school wrestling championships in February and helped launch her school's Expose! anti smoking campaign.

Beside her experience on Canadian Idol, Steff D. is also an accomplished puppeteer who writes her own plays and is an honour student at De La Salle High School.

She is currently writing her admission exams in anticipation of pursuing her career south of the border and she's working on a French language play that will be produced in either Sudbury or Toronto next spring.

Steffi took time out from her busy schedule to receive her award and bring the ceremony to a close with a spell-biding rendition of "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5

Sérina Constantineau-Booth received an Outstanding Youth Award for organizing an Angel Hair for Kids event at her school. Besides donating her own hair to be used for hair pieces for kids going through cancer treatment, the nine-year-old recruited 12 of her friends to do the same. The initiative was so successful that the Angel Hair for Kids organization has used Sérina's fundraising package as a tool to help others organize similar events.

Serina Constantineau-Booth is presented with an Orleans Online Outstanding Youth Award by Tina Chan from the Fallingbrook Travel & Cruise Centre. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Among the 24 award recipients was the Orleans Rebels peewee boys fastball team made up of Charlie Momy, Andy Barber, Spencer Rodd, Daniel Kemp, Scott Adams, Eric Dodd, Nick Scott, Matthew Beliveau, Paden Shorey, Tyler Borris and Mark Stewart that won the Ontario Provincial Championship in August.

Other recipients included Andrew Both, a 15-year-old St. Peter High School student who is the chairperson of the highly successful Charity Classic Golf Tournament that has raised over $40,000 the past two years and Segun Makinde who won gold and silver in the 15 and under 100 and 200 metre events at the Legion National Track and Field Championships in Burnaby, B.C. in August and is also an Honour Roll student at Colonel By Secondary School where he is enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program.

The near-capacity crowd was entertained throughout the ceremony by some extremely talented performers from the east end including pianist Claudia Chan; the Cross Town Youth Chorus; fiddlers Ella and Tessa Bangs; and illusionists Alex Normand, Léo Trudel and Eric Marcotte from Béatrice-Desloges High School who were given an extended ovation for their incredible performance.

Emcees Anne-Marie Fontaine and Dan Pihlainen took time out during the ceremony to acknowledge the support of the sponsors from all three levels of government, various community groups and local business leaders for making the awards possible.

Among the this year's award recipients was Rick Massie who received the Miza Davie Award for a lifetime commitment to youth for his involvement as a minor football coach with the Cumberland Panthers for the past 13 years.

Massie was presented with the award by his long time friend and Panthers' co-founder Dix Lawson.

"Rick is just a super guy who truly has the best interests of his players at heart," said Lawson.

This year's awards were made possible thanks to the support of sponsors like Lacroix Source For Sports, Place d'Orléans, LOEB, Laporte's Flowers and Nursery, the Kiwanis Club of Orléans; M.L. Bradley Ltd. and Ace Body Shop..

Last but not least, Hal MacPherson, Margaret Coleman and a small army of volunteers from the Navan Lions Club provided the food for the post-awards reception organized by Fallingtbrook Community Association president Zybina Richards.

For a complete list of recipients and their accomplishments visit www.orleansonline.ca/OYA.


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