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Thursday, 02 June 2011 11:59

Vauxhall youth receives prestigious APEX award

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By Susan Quinlan
The APEX Youth Awards were recently held in Taber, honouring those who make positive contributions to their communities and families. Among award recipients was Miranda Belcastro, a Grade 12 student from Vauxhall High School.

“It was surprising, but it feels pretty good. When I walked in (to the Taber Community Hall) it was really amazing to see what they did for the kids that help out,” explained Miranda. “It made me feel special. It looked like you were going to a ball or fancy meal or something. There was a big chandelier, an orchestra playing, dim lights … we were escorted in by a pipe band ... I was really honoured.”

One of 23 nominees, Miranda was one of four selected to receive an APEX Youth Award along with a $1,500 scholarship. Other award recipients included Amie Machacek, Alea Steinborn and Dustin Holmen, all of Taber.

Nominating Miranda was Jan Clemis, former teacher at Vauxhall High currently instructing at Central Elementary School in Taber. Determination and kindness are the two words which describe Miranda explained Clemis, who added Miranda always tries hard and perseveres through adversity.

Miranda’s mother, Val, explained Miranda has endured a number of surgeries over the years to correct a problem she had with her feet.

“She’s just a good kid. She has this heart from the difficulties she has born. She’s open to everything; she’s just kind,” said Val.

Cooking supper for the family, doing laundry, housekeeping and taking care of the family dog, Gunner, are all on Miranda’s list of things she enjoys doing. As well, she volunteers her time at the family’s Hometown Dollars store.

“She plays sports and when kids come from out of town, she brings them home and feeds them,” said Val.

In the community, said Clemens, Miranda and friend, Trudy Reimer, initiated a bottle drive to raise money for the 100-Kilometre Kidney March last spring and brought in $864.70.

“Do you know how many bottles that is?!” asked Clemens.

Miranda’s also a conscientious student who always tries to do her best, added Clemens. Over her school career, Miranda has participated in a variety of sports from swimming through to soccer, volleyball, basketball and baseball, and has also volunteered as an assistant coach for the Tier 1 girls basketball team and has coached T-ball for Vauxhall’s youngsters.

“Miranda has a passion for life, for her family and friends, and for her Vauxhall High School teammates,” said Clemens.

Miranda has participated as much as possible in sports, despite her corrective surgeries, with her dedication and love for sports evidenced when her teammates voted her captain of the girl’s high school basketball team, said Clemens.

“As a teammate, she has led by example and always gives her best during practices and games. Miranda also provides positive encouragement to others, even when things go wrong, and is quick to minimize her personal success in place of emphasizing the team. She’s one of those great people all small communities need and rely on to make a positive difference in everything they get involved in.”

Following graduation Miranda plans on moving to Red Deer to live with her sister, Sarah, while enjoying a semester off and hopefully a job at a day care.

“I’ll either become

a teacher or work with kids in some capacity.”

Any resident aged six to 18 years from Taber or the Municipal District

of Taber, is eligible to receive an

APEX Award. Groups as well may be nominated. Nomination forms are available at school offices, the office of The Taber Times and at the website:

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