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The Salt Lake Rotary Club Tuesday, May 9, awarded Rowland Hall senior Elizabeth Izampuye with a Service Above Self award and a $2,000 college scholarship for her hundreds of volunteer hours with the Salt Lake City Red Cross, the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, and more. Seniors Alicia Lu and Kate Button were award finalists and received $1,000 each.
Elizabeth, pictured speaking at the Rotary's Tuesday luncheon, has devoted over 145 hours of her time to the local Red Cross chapter since 2014. As a junior, she served as co-president for Youth Services and planned and directed meetings. She's currently a board member representing youth voices. Elizabeth is certified to provide disaster services and teach disaster preparedness—a fitting introduction for her long-range career goal of becoming a global/public-health administrator. "My desire to help those made vulnerable by societal disasters extends to my local and global communities; specifically, the lower class, homeless, refugees, and children in foster care," Elizabeth wrote in her Rotary scholarship application. "Red Cross Youth Services has taught me about what it means to set an example for others and how to serve those in need...and teach them information they can apply to their own lives."
At the VA, Elizabeth has dedicated more than 100 hours of service since 2014. She helped veterans needing mobility assistance, and got to know them in the process. "The VA has taught me how to respect those who have done so much for the safety of myself and those I care about in a country I truly value," Elizabeth wrote. "By being a positive presence when I talk to these veterans while escorting them to their needed appointments, I have learned about the overwhelming extent many people go to, to protect and serve those who are vulnerable."
As a junior, Alicia co-led a group of upper and middle school students to collect and create eco-bricks for a new bench on school grounds—a cross-divisional endeavor that won the grand prize from the Shane McConkey EcoChallenge. Read our Fine Print story. "Service offers opportunities to work with others to grapple with issues I'm truly passionate about," Alicia wrote in her application. "Through my service projects, I've become friends with other creative and dedicated people who I had previously just passed in the hallway." Alicia is a powerhouse in the classroom and the rink: she was one of 10 high school senior scholar-athletes named to the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Scholastic Honors Team for excellence in figure skating, academics, and community involvement. She also completed two internships in science labs at the University of Utah—read about one of her internships here. Her long-range career goal is to work as a physician. "During college, I hope to utilize my education and experience to contribute to the greater community," she wrote. "As someone who has benefitted from the resources my communities have offered me, I feel inspired to help others and stay involved in service wherever I go."
Kate, daughter of beloved fifth-grade Teacher Sarah Button, might follow in her mom's footsteps: in her application, she noted she may pursue a teaching career. Accordingly, Kate spent her junior year volunteering as a Middle School tutor at Rowland Hall. "I enjoyed this work because I knew that I was genuinely helping my 'students' to understand new concepts," Kate wrote. "This progress could be seen in graded feedback, but I cared more that they could apply their newfound skills and knowledge to their future studies." Kate has an undeniable aptitude for English, her desired college major: in summer 2016, she interned with Alliance for a Better Utah and wrote an editorial for the Salt Lake Tribune supporting a state death with dignity bill for terminally ill patients. During all four years of high school, she also helped softball coach and physical education Teacher Kathy Howa plan and execute Swing for Life, a fundraiser for breast cancer research. "I know that wherever I find myself, I want to be able to help those in need," Kate wrote. "I believe that service inspires empathy, kindness, and caring for others, and the world can be a better place with more of these virtues."
Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund said the Salt Lake Rotary Service Above Self awards are a highlight of the year for him. "Seeing our students and youth from across the valley stand together and be honored for their commitment to community building, one cannot help but feel the future is in good hands," he said. "Rotary International is the standard for service organizations. These dedicated Rowland Hall seniors should be proud of this recognition."
Rowland Hall will recognize eighth-grade Service Above Self finalists and one overall winner at Middle School commencement in June. Like the seniors, eighth graders submitted applications and were interviewed about their community engagement. "The enthusiasm for service and community engagement coming out of our Middle School assures me there will be a long line of Winged Lions recognized for their commitment to the school's mission of living an ethical life," Mr. Hoglund said.