A young Cochrane woman was recognized yesterday (July 23) in Edmonton, for her outstanding citizenship and artistic merit.

Kassidy Gerhardi was one of eight young Albertans who was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Citizenship Medal at a special ceremony at the Government House yesterday afternoon, along with recipients from St. Albert, Red Deer, Okotoks, Fort McMurray, Edmonton, Turner Valley, and Calgary.

Nominated by Bow Valley High School for her outstanding leadership skills and volunteerism, Gerhardi was thrilled to learn she was one of eight Alberta students selected.

First learning that she was selected to receive the Premier Citizenship Award last fall, Gerhardi, says she never dreamed more would come of it. "I got a letter in the mail from Rachel Notley, and I was really excited about that and super happy, and then I kind of forgot about it. Then, I want to say this March; I got another letter in the mail saying I was one of the eight Alberta students that were going to receive the Queen's Golden Jubilee Citizen Award."

Besides receiving the special medal, the award also comes along with a 5,000 scholarship toward Gerhardi's second-year tuition at Mount Royal University. "I was just over the moon, excited. I was totally happy with getting the recognition with the Premier Citizenship Award, so it was such an amazing surprise. Being one of eight is incredible and super exciting."

While Gerhardi isn't exactly sure how many other young people she was up against, she shares, every high school in Alberta has an opportunity to nominate a student. Giving a slight nudge to Bow Valley High School to nominate her, Gerhardi, says she is thrilled she did. "I do encourage other students to put themselves out there like I did because I don't even know if the school was aware about the scholarship. I definity encourage students to look for those ways they can advertise themselves because you deserve that recognition if you are involved in the community or sports in a certain way. I wouldn't be shy when it comes to looking for those opportunities because they might not always be obvious."

Being recognized for her outstanding leadership and volunteerism skills is nothing new for Gerhardi, whose long list of awards is extremely impressive. Nominated and recognized as one of Cochrane's Leaders of Tomorrow, as well as, 2017's Cochrane Youth of the Year, Gerhardi also received the Canada 150 Award and the President Scholarship through Mount Royal which awarded her 7,500 dollars. Being recognized for attributes other than just a high GPA (grade point average) is something Kassidy is proud of. "Although I did fairly well academically, I was really impressed in grade 12 just noticing how much recognition the school, Rocky View, and even Alberta emphasizes leadership. While I expected the emphasis to be mostly on academics or having a high GPA, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much was placed on volunteerism and how far that can take you. 

Gerhardi is currently working toward a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration, with a major in Marketing with a minor in Social Innovation. "So far I've learned a lot of different ways you can get involved in the way you want to. The Social Innovation minor I have learned about is really interesting; it is directed for students to learn how they can enrich the community. I am looking at it from a business mindset being a business student, on how a businesses can contrubute to long-term community prosperity."