Student Leader, GW Williams Secondary School

Josie Kearney is a leader who wants to change the world, and I have full faith she will. To know Josie is to appreciate all her wonderful qualities, including her kindness, positive spirit, and determination to make a difference.

Josie was the Head of our Peer Mentor Group, a student-led leadership program that ensures successful transition of our grade 9 students, but also encourages its members to think carefully about the impact they can have on the local and global community. Josie took this concept to heart and led by example.

Josie initiated ‘Change for Change’ at our school. This project inspired our school community to donate their spare change towards the ‘Toy Mountain’ project, a program that distributes toys to less fortunate children during the holidays. Close to $1000 was raised through this project in its initial year. In its second year, although the dollar amount raised was not quite as high, her commitment told me a lot more about her character. She persevered and stayed focused on her desire to help these children in need.

Josie also finds ways to challenge others to go beyond the norm. She hosted our Peer Mentor holiday social at her house, and insisted it have a charitable component to it. She motivated the group to contribute to a local family in need and was able to buy $200 in gift cards to a grocery store for that family. Whenever possible, Josie’s mind turns to finding ways to help others.

Josie was also able to lead a group of students to participate in a build for the Habitat for Humanity organization. Her positive attitude and resourceful approach kept others focused on our fundraising goal. Not only was she able to lead a group to help build a home for a family in need she was also able to lead a team that contributed $1200 towards the cause.

Josie is also a key contributor to our annual Terry Fox Run. Determined to make it successful, she played a key leadership role in its execution over the last three years. She supported her team and devoted her time to speak to local businesses for their support as well as ensure the school population was excited to participate. As a result, we donated almost $6000 to the Terry Fox Foundation.

Josie is also a significant leader for our swabbing events at our school. As a direct result of her efforts over two hundred names have been added to the Bone Marrow Registry. Her efforts led to fundraising for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation, as well helping to educate our school community about the cause.

Josie Kearney is a wonderful example of the values we hope our students will embody. She understands the effect her efforts can have on others, and acts on it. Since she has left Williams her contributions have become more pronounced. We can see the legacy she left, and the countless number of people she inspired to carry on initiatives that she started. She currently acts as a mentor for current members of the Peer Mentor Group. Most significantly, she has been a guide for them as they created an impactful resource supporting Black Lives Matter. She truly is one of a kind.

– Mark Fuller, Guidance Counselor, GW Williams Secondary School