Sixteen-year-old Regan Burden of Port Hope Simpson placed among the top 10 in this year’s Miss Achievement Newfoundland and Labrador Scholarship Program which took place in St. John’s. Nov. 1-4.
Regan is no stranger to Miss Achievement. In 2011 she was first runner-up in the program.
A glance at her contestant profile makes it evident why this astute student does so well in her endeavours.
A Grade 11 student at Bayside Academy, Regan travelled to Iceland, Greenland, Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Torngat Mountains with Students on Ice in 2011.
“I learned so much about climate change, how we are affecting the earth, how we can make a difference and how important it is for us to do so,” Regan said during a recent telephone interview.
Regan is also an avid volunteer in her community. An accomplished athlete, she’s involved with her school’s student council and the community recreation committee. She had no problem shaving her head as a fundraiser for Young Adult Cancer Canada when she hosted a Shave for the Brave at her school in 2011. The efforts raised over $3,000 for the cause.
“I could not be more proud of everyone who participated. And we had three girls, including myself, who donated their hair. So somewhere out there, there are little girls who get up in the morning and they wear our hair. I truly believe that makes them feel beautiful.”
Regan is a recipient of the provincial government’s URock Youth Volunteer Award for 2012.
She was delighted to be recognized for her volunteer work, she says.
During the public speaking component of the Miss Achievement, Regan talked about the importance of volunteering. She started her speech with a quote by American author/clergyman Edward Everett Hale.
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do, interfere with what I can do.
Regan says the quote applies to everyone as every person can make a difference in another person’s life.
“I know that where I come from, this is more than true. When I look around my hometown I see people that I have known my entire life. I see a community built up on people willing to help each other. People who care enough to sacrifice their time for others.”
Regan said there are numerous life-changing programs taking place in Port Hope Simpson because of volunteers. Some of these programs include the Junior Canadian Ranger Program, organized school sports, the Kids Eat Smart Breakfast Program, the Barton Hicks Memorial Hockey Tournament, and the Easter Festival.
Volunteering is simple and enjoyable, she said.
It makes your community stronger than ever and makes a difference in the lives of the people around you.
“Volunteering has changed the world and continues to do so every single day... Take an hour out of a week, or even a month, to make your community stronger. You can’t do everything, but you can do something.”
Miss Achievement celebrates the tremendous achievements of young women like Regan who are between the ages of 13-18.
Thirty young women participated in this year’s program. They were judged on everything from interview skills to public speaking talent to fitness level and knowledge about environmental issues.
Regan says the participants toured several facilities in St. John’s including the landfill at Robin Hood Bay.
“They have this amazing system for their waste. It’s very interesting,” she says.
Although she has another year of high school to complete before entering post-secondary education, Regan has her mind set on what she’ll do in the future. Her plan is to become a lawyer, she says, and then work as a Crown Prosecutor.
Regan says she’d encourage all eligible young women to enter Miss Achievement.
“This program never ceases to amaze me. The volunteers are amazing. There is always someone there to support you. It’s such a great learning experience. I truly believe every girl that was there took home a really positive experience and developed as a person from attending this program. ”
Kandice Power of Paradise was crowned Miss Achievement Newfoundland and Labrador 2012/13.
Mackenzie Dove of Clarenville was first runner-up.
Natalie Hiscock of Mount Pearl was second runner-up.
A total of $7,500 in scholarship prize money was awarded to the participants.
Program co-chair Kathy Dicks-Peyton says Miss Achievement is an opportunity for young women to strengthen their self-esteem, public speaking and essay writing skills and to meet other young women from various areas of the province.
Ms. Dicks-Peyton says the participants’ achievements raise community awareness about the positive contributions youth make to this province.
While there were numerous scholarships to be won, Ms. Dicks-Peyton says Miss Achievement isn’t all about winning.
“These are the young women who will be tomorrow’s leaders. Miss Achievement Newfoundland and Labrador is a personal development weekend. It’s an opportunity we’d like to offer to all young women in this province.”