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Chenoa Kaufman is Lac La Biche's 2019 Junior Citizen of the Year

Chenoa Kaufman, a 15-year-old J.A. Williams High School student, has been awarded the 2019 Junior Citizen of the Year. Kaufman was one of the highlights of Friday night's Light Up parade where she helped to light the giant downtown Christmas tree.

Chenoa Kaufman, a 15-year-old J.A. Williams High School student, is the 2019 Junior Citizen of the Year.

To win the award, a candidate has to exemplify a giving spirit, a positive attitude, and a willingness to help out, and Kaufman demonstrates these traits on a daily basis, says one of the three  people who nomiated her.

“Chenoa can be counted on to assist with school and community events. She is the first person to step up to the plate and volunteer, sometimes being the only student to help,” said JAWS staff member Lisa Dribnenki.

The Grade 11 student doesn’t hesitate to give her time to important causes, events and activities that need an extra helping hand. Kaufman is motivated to volunteer for many reasons.

 “Part of it is that I get to learn new skills, and meet new people, and have fun while I’m doing it,” she tells the POST. “But also, we live in a community that has a lot of great volunteer opportunities, so I enjoy giving back so that we have more opportunities like that.”

Kaufman is involved with the Student Union at JAWS, as well as JAWS Sports teams, Girl Guides, FCSS Leadership projects and the annual Circus Camps. She also frequently volunteers to help out at the Farmers' Market and the Agricultural Society.


On top of Friday's official presentation of her Lac La Biche Junior Citizen of the Year award — where she was highlighted in the Light UP parade and officially lit up the giant downtown Christmas tree, Kaufman also just won the Paul Harris Fellow award for, “her significant, positive contribution to the community. The award was presented by Lac La Biche Rotary Club members, and is named for Rotary's founder Paul Harris. The award has been given to more than 1.2 million people worldwide since 1956, and Kaufman joins such notable recipients as former US President Jimmy Carter, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk.

Kaufman tackles every opportunity with a smile and an unwavering work ethic that has been instilled in her from her parents. 

“It first started because my parents volunteered at events, and I would go with them. I got older, and I was able to go by myself. My mom and my dad are always pushing me to do my best, and they are making sure I do the best job that I possibly can.”

If her schedule wasn’t already busy enough, Kaufman also participates in extracurricular sports activities. 

“This year I played senior volleyball, and I’m also playing club volleyball which will start in January,” Kaufman told the POST, adding that she's happy to be doing what she is right now — but when asked about her future plans — like most teenagers, she's leaving the door open.

“I’m not sure yet, I’m definitely going to university, and I’m going to pursue something in science, and that’s pretty much all I know right now.”

For this year's Junior Citizen of the Year awards, the nominations also included a group of young areas students who are rallying behind a young boy battling long-term medical issues. During the presentation to Kaufman, honorable mentions went to Zander Kruk, Lincoln Shulko, Liam Cox, Travis Yackimec and Hussein Ghutmy. The young Aurora Middle School students were nominated for the 2019 Junior Citizen Award by officer Glynton Brittan, the new School Resource Officer in Lac La Biche. The five boys have been making and selling bracelets to raise money for their friend Ryder Stanton, who has been unable to go to school since complications to a long-standing medical condition have forced him to spend weeks in hospital. 

  The boys have been classmates and friends with Ryder since kindergarten and they miss seeing him in class. In late October, Zander lead the group as they  decided to make bracelets. On his first day he made seven dollars in sales. In the last two months since it began, the group as raised  $550 for Ryder and his family. They are also expecting to sell $300 worth of the bracelets after a recent order from another school. The boys will be going to Vera M. Welsh in the next few days for a pancake breakfast and to give all of the bracelets out to the students there.

“It’s amazing how many children have come to help make these bracelets,” says Erin Shulko, a teacher at Aurora, and Lincoln's mom. “It’s so great to see in our community.”