Rockwood, Arthur, Mount Forest students honoured as VIPs

GUELPH – Three county students were recognized by Wellington Catholic District School Board officials during its board meeting on May 6. 

Chiara Petruzza from Sacred Heart Catholic School in Rockwood, Lily Baker from St. John Catholic School in Arthur, and Justin Obach from St. Mary Catholic School in Mount Forest were each celebrated for their significant contributions to their school communities. 

What sets these three students apart from their peers, chair Marino Gazzola said, is their ability to balance academics, athletics and co-curricular activities. 

He described them as the leaders of tomorrow, noting each of them is an active participant and role model in their community. 

Trustees read out reports about each student, prepared by their teachers and principals, that outlined what makes them deserving of the awards. 

Chiara Petruzza

Petruzza is described as a responsible, reliable, and generous student who “approaches each day with a strong desire to learn.

“Within the classroom, Chiara is recognized for her exceptional organization and dedication to contributing to a safe learning environment,” trustee Cassandra O’Donnell read from the report.  

It highlights Petruzza’s success with the Gauss Math Contest and her contributions to planning whole-school initiatives including the National Truth and Reconciliation Tree and Christmas Spirit activities. 

“As the student council treasurer, Chiara managed fundraising activities with precision and ensured financial accuracy,” her teachers and principals wrote.  

Petruzza also assists other students as an office helper and math tutor, and plays on the school’s volleyball, basketball and badminton teams. 

“In all aspects of school life, Chiara’s empathetic nature, kindness and leadership qualities make her an invaluable asset to our community,” Sacred Heart officials state.  

Lily Baker

Baker is a Grade 8 student who has attended St. John Catholic School in Arthur since kindergarten. 

She is described as an “intelligent, respectful individual who carries herself with dignity and is kind and considerate with everyone around her.” 

Baker plays for the Arthur Twisters baseball team as well as every sports team at her school, “and has consistently been an asset to each team,” trustee Vikki Dupuis read from the report.   

She works well independently and corroboratively, and is “always prepared to lend a hand,” her teachers and principals wrote.  

“There is no job, big or small, that Lily couldn’t be trusted with,” St. John officials state. 

Justin Obach

Obach’s teachers and principals describe him as “inquisitive and diligent in his studies” and eager to help out whenever possible. 

Particularly since a fire at St. Mary Catholic School forced the students and staff to relocate, Obach has “been instrumental in keeping up the school spirit. 

“As soon as we moved into the new locations, he wanted to get things in place for students so they could still celebrate spirit days and have fun despite being at two different sites.

“Whether it is organizing a school-wide event, assisting a teacher in the classroom, carrying things for others or simply picking items up that have been left on the floor, Justin is there to help out.

“Justin truly lives his life in the service of others.”

 Obach also plays on all of St. Mary’s sports teams “and shows great sportsmanship.” 

He has a strong sense of humour, and “his smiling face and contagious laugh are a blessing to everyone he meets,” school officials write.  

Trustee Andrew Finoro said “Justin is a born leader and he puts others before himself.”