Rotary Student of the Month for April is Emily Mottershead, an extremely gifted, energetic, and deeply caring grade 11 student at Pen High who was one of the key organizers of Penticton Provides. (Submitted)

Rotary Student of the Month for April is Emily Mottershead, an extremely gifted, energetic, and deeply caring grade 11 student at Pen High who was one of the key organizers of Penticton Provides. (Submitted)

Penticton Secondary’s Emily Mottershead is April’s Rotary Student of the Month

Mottershead has overcome personal adversity to excel as a key leader in school initiatives

Spearheading fundraising and community spirit efforts are just a few reasons why the Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise honoured Emily Mottershead as their Student of the Month for April.

A Grade 11 student at Penticton Secondary School, Mottershead plays a key role in the schools leadership program and devotes, on average, 10 hours a week to help oversee multilple ongoing projects and coordinate with fellow students and teachers.

Last semester she co-organized, with classmate Simon Mennell, Pen High’s role in the annual Penticton Provides fundraiser. The city-wide campaign, conducted jointly with Princess Margaret, required the organizing team to navigate COVID-19 restrictions and food shortages from flooding. The campaign was a major success, far exceeding its goal by collecting 18,800 non-perishable food items, 2,270 toys and $18,840 in cash.

“We were deeply sorrowed for those impacted by the floods and donated $2,000 of the donations to Princeton Secondary School, enabling us to expand the Christmas spirit of helping those in need well beyond Penticton, and for that I am very proud,” said Mottershead.

In addition to being a part of 2022’s yearbook team, Mottershead is currently involved in two projects, Celebrate Awesome and Be Kind, that are designed to foster school cohesion and inclusion. The former aims to celebrate impactful positive actions by individual students and the latter to simply spread kindness throughout the year.

Upcoming events Mottershead is helping to tee up in May include Mental Health week focusing on steps to improve mental wellness. Local speakers from Penticton Foundry, RADAR, PATHWAYS and Okanagan College will showcase local resources available. A Spring dance is also in the works.

“Since receiving the Lakers Spirit Award in grade 9, leadership has been the main focus in my life, serving as a motivator to keep my grades up and giving me personal satisfaction while also enabling me to help others gain the same fulfillment,” said Mottershead.

Despite her busy schedule, Mottershead is still committed to her education. Enrolled in the French Immersion program, she has worked to maintain high grades, earning an 88 per cent average for Grade 10 and 94 per cent in the first semester of Grade 11.

“As a key organizer in many leadership initiatives, Emily is extremely reliable and dedicated and keeps everyone focused, enthusiastic and on-track. Words alone cannot fully capture the impact she has had on our school and her legacy will be felt at Pen High for years to come,” said French and Leadership teacher Jolene Broccolo.

It has not been all smooth sailing for Mottershead, however, as until recently, she often experienced anxiety triggered by emetophobia, a disabling condition featuring extreme fear of feeling sick and vomiting. Her anxiety and depression peaked during the Penticton Provides event, but she still found time to decompress and carry on.

Now with effective therapy, she is managing things comfortably every day and sleeping well. After hiding in fear for 16 years, she, with abiding parental support, has conquered her phobia and created a blueprint for tackling future adversities.

Mottershead’s engaging and caring demeanour, coupled with her drive and thirst for knowledge, fuel her love of teaching others and she plans to pursue a BEd degree to become a secondary school teacher in French Immersion and English/History.

READ MORE: Penticton Secondary’s Ollie Jacques named Rotary Student of the Month

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