25 Under 25 – The Future of Headwaters Looks Bright
Drum roll please: Meet the 25 young people we’re honouring with a 25 Under 25 Award.
We cannot tell a lie: Choosing just 25 talented and accomplished young people under the age of 25 from an awe-inspiring stack of nominations was a difficult task!
The idea seemed simple enough. In The Hills, Theatre Orangeville and Museum of Dufferin wanted to celebrate our own 25 years at the heart of cultural life in Headwaters by teaming up to shine a spotlight on the community’s next generation of innovators and creators. So we asked you to tell us about the fantastic young people in your lives.
We were flooded with nominations from sports coaches, educators, neighbours, friends, parents and grandparents telling us they knew the perfect person for us. A few brave souls nominated themselves. And we were blown away by the talents, volunteerism and energy that those nominations uncovered.
We sincerely thank everyone who reached out to participate in this project. The 25 recipients who made our final list are outstanding young people who represent a broad cross-section of the Headwaters community. They have all achieved a great deal in their young lives and seem to be just getting started. We’ll be toasting them at a celebration Saturday, October 13 at Orangeville’s Opera House.
If this is what the future of Headwaters looks like, we’re in good hands.
The recipients, in alphabetical order:
- Coulter Baker of Melancthon graduated from Sheridan College with the top honours in the Game Design program last year and has already helped create a critically acclaimed mobile game called Fracter. The 24-year-old also recently began his first term as a professor at Sheridan.
- Olympian Zoe Bergermann grew up in Erin and started snowboarding at the Caledon Ski Club. Zoe, now 24, represented Canada in snowboard cross at the 2018 winter Olympics in South Korea and is in training in British Columbia and Europe for the February World Cup.
- Nicole French is a competitive wrestler from Albion. At 19, Nicole has both national and international competitions under her belt and is studying kinesiology at Brock University.
- Twenty-year-old Julie Hall is a graduate of Humber College’s social service program. The Orangeville native won the school’s Board of Governors Award for her innovative work at Headwaters Hospital. At 16, Julie wrote, edited, and self-published her first novel, Keep Quiet.
- Mono’s Ryan Hann may only be 12, but he’s already made a splash with his Will Swim for Food charity fundraiser, raising $4,000 for the Orangeville Food Bank by swimming 200 laps a day for a week this summer.
- Jeff Henrick perfected his elite lacrosse game with his hometown team, the Orangeville Northmen and has competed nationally and internationally. Jeff turns 21 in November and is studying at and playing for Ohio State University – he also comes home in the summers to give back to young players.
- Emma Holmes is a long-time Shelburne Fair volunteer and ambassador. She’s taken her other passions – curling and academics – into post-secondary studies in sports management. The Melancthon 18-year-old was part of a TSN media team covering the 2018 Women’s World Curling Championships in North Bay.
- Orangeville’s Rowenna James has a way with fashion. The 16-year-old upcycles vintage jeans into walking works of art. Her business, Revamp, won a grant for young entrepreneurs from the Town of Orangeville’s Small Business Enterprise Centre this summer.
- Laura Jotham and her seeing-eye dog Watson are tireless advocates for the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, sharing the experiences of being legally blind with her Orangeville community and beyond. The 25-year-old also works as a social media manager.
- Alton’s Jayde Lavoie is a long-time community volunteer. This past summer the University of Ottawa 20-year-old volunteered for an NGO in India on a campaign to install 30 water filters for schools and home in rural areas.
- Mono’s Jessica Mason has a long history of giving back, from school anti-bullying campaigns at ODSS to participating in the Orangeville Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee from 2013-2014. The 21-year-old Queens University student plans to attend law school and become a human rights lawyer.
- In addition to being an involved school leader, 14-year-old Aysia Maurice of Bolton has set all kinds of records and top honours for her indoor and outdoor running at the provincial and national levels.
- Andrew McCreary of Mono is being recognized for his work with groups such as Dufferin Child and Family Services, where the now-25-year-old shared his experiences as a transgender man and facilitated the LGBTQ youth group, renaming it G.L.O.W.: Gay, Lesbian or Whatever.
- Twenty-two-year-old comic Michael McCreary of Mono is well known for sharing his experience of living with Asperger’s on stage in front of comedy show audiences and autism conferences in Headwaters and internationally.
- Rylee McKenna is making a name for herself as the founder of the Strong Girls Club, an Orangeville after-school club the 13-year-old started to help girls feel inspired and empowered.
- Amaranth’s Daniel Mustapha has practised karate for 12 years and achieved his black belt despite physical challenges associated with cerebral palsy. The 17-year-old is the 2018 National Para Champion in his sport.
- Mono’s Jordyn Pallett is a 15-year-old on a mission to share what life is like being a non-verbal teenager with autism. With the help of his mom Kelli, Jordyn uses a letter board to communicate, write a very personal blog, and advocate for others like him.
- Shailyn Pierre-Dixon won her first starring role onscreen at the age of 10 in the award-winning mini series adaptation of Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negros for which she won a 2016 Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress. The 15-year-old Caledon resident is also an honours student, top athlete and community volunteer.
- Samantha Penny graduated from the University of Windsor’s communications and film program with a Board of Governor’s medal for top marks. The 22-year-old Orangeville native is currently working on a documentary about the 2014 sinking of a ferry off the coast of South Korea, which claimed more than 300 lives.
- Nineteen-year-old Katherine Pound of Erin has sung locally with Theatre Orangeville, across Ontario with local tenor Mark DuBois, and on an Italian tour with soprano Aprile Millo. Katherine attends the Manhattan School of Music in New York City where she studies classical voice.
- Mono’s Sara Rose released her debut album, Until Now, this year. The 22-year-old has also brought her musical talents and her passion for social work together by creating a therapeutic music program for palliative care patients and their caregivers at Hospice Dufferin.
- Caledon swimmer Tess Routliffe is a Canadian para record-holder and Paralympic medal winner. The 20-year-old Concordia student is training in Montreal for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
- Artist and community booster Ricky Schaede teaches painting in his hometown, Orangeville. The 25-year-old was also part of the committee that organized the town’s first pride day, “Celebrate Your Awesome,” this year.
- With a degree in sustainability and environmental science from Dalhousie University, Caledon’s Jordyn Stafford has spent the last two years working with Indigenous youth in a remote community in Northern Quebec. This fall, the 23-year-old also begun work there on a new greenhouse farming project.
- As a core member of the Everdale organic teaching farm team in Hillsburgh, Jordan Tilley has helped train more than 30 young people. She managed and planned the Erin District High School micro-farm for 2017 and 2018. The 24-year-old hopes to open her own flower farm one day.