Pinetree Secondary School
When I think of students who have, and will continue to, make a difference in this world, Katya comes to mind immediately. This young woman has dedicated herself to making her community a better place and to helping those who are in need. She has overcome adversity in her own personal life and has used the lessons she's learned to make the world better, deciding that she would not let her circumstances define her success.
In 2020, Katya initiated the Kindness Kits Project, where she and five friends donated kits to women escaping domestic violence and living in transition houses. The kits contained approximately $160 worth of goods such as face masks, feminine hygiene products, non-perishable food items, and a handwritten note, highlighting how exceptionally strong and brave these women are. To fund this project, Katya and her team created a GoFundMe account, contacted local business for support, and sought out sponsorships. Katya's hope was to support the women and to raise awareness about the "shadow pandemic" of domestic abuse.
As a Red Cross Youth Facilitator, Katya has focused on building a more inclusive and uplifting school community. She has led anti-bullying workshops for grade 9 students, tackling topics like racism, running initiatives like "Pink Shirt Day", and creating Pinetree's signature Compliments Board. These initiatives have helped Katya to step out of her comfort zone and embrace her natural role as a leader.
Katya plans to pursue a degree in engineering because she sees problems in the world as puzzles that must be solved. She hopes to create tangible solutions for a better society, whether that's solving the puzzles of waste management or clean energy. She hopes to build more green cities and transportation, with her ultimate dream to work for NASA or the CSA.
Ultimately, the thing that stands out most to me about Katya is her incredible resilience and grit, and her ability to take challenges and hardship and turn them into something valuable for herself or others. She has undergone significant personal challenges, including the arrest and subsequent suicide of her father, which understandably shocked the foundation of her identity, yet it also shaped her to become more independent and true to herself. I am very much looking forward to hearing about the incredible things that Katya will do with her life, and would love for her to have the financial support needed so that she can focus on her goals and continue improving the world for those around her.
In addition to playing classical piano since the age of four and doing years of ballet lessons, Russian theatre, and still life painting, Katya has participated in the following extracurricular and volunteer endeavors:
Red Cross: Beyond the Hurt Program Facilitator
Kindness Kits Founder
Pinetree TED-ED Club Co-Founder
Pinetree Me to We Club Volunteer
Pinetree Alpha Wolves Volunteer
SHAD Program 2019 Participant
YELL Program and Venture Challenge 2019/2020 Participant
Instructor at Mathnasium New Westminster 2019-2020