During the 2015/16 school year Ethan Benoit was finishing his second year in The Wheelhouse program and he truly thrived in all aspects of this unique learning community. Developing leadership skills is one of the core components, but the program also strives to connect learning to the community, and teaches students to take charge of their learning.
“The Wheelhouse has helped me develop my skills as a leader. My teacher has given me countless opportunities to take on a leadership role,” says Ethan. “In this program I also watch other leaders lead – and that in turn has helped me become a better leader.”
One of Ethan’s biggest passions is water polo and he has been playing since he was 8 years old. He competes with both the Fraser Valley Water Polo Club and the Haney Neptunes Aquatic Club. For the last two years, he was also accepted to play on the Garibaldi High School water polo team. His coach at Garibaldi, Antony Cowie, was very appreciative of his contribution, saying of a recent tournament, “I was immensely proud of Ethan. He is an accomplished U14 player, but this weekend he was right up there with the best of all high school aged players.”
Ethan has made countless contributions to the school community at Alouette. He was selected to represent his school at the SD42 student leadership forum, attended We Day and was a member of several school athletic teams: basketball, track and field, and ultimate Frisbee. This past spring, he was also invited to participate in the BC Student Leadership Conference as a part of the Thomas Haney leadership team.
What does Ethan feel makes a successful leader? Well, his water polo coach gave him some advice that has stuck with him over time. He advised that you should “pass the shirt to the next guy so he can keep going.” Ethan feels that it is important to, “push others forward, rather than put yourself at the front.” However, he also knows that it takes much more than a loud voice and a tall presence to be a strong leader. He describes it as “doing whatever it takes, but in a classy manner…I don’t want to be the guy that is barking orders and forcing others to do things…”
When Ethan leads a group, others naturally gather around, listen, and welcome his leadership. They look up to him for guidance, wisdom, and level-headed thinking. But Ethan would like people to know that it is not all about being the leader. He says, about teamwork, “I am willing to be whatever people need me to be at the time.” He is more than willing to take his role on the team and is not afraid to work hard as part of the group to achieve success.
In his future, Ethan is hoping to become a pilot and follow in the footsteps of his uncle and grandfather. He has also set a goal to secure a spot on the Canadian National Water Polo Team. However, despite having strong ambitions for his personal success, he also wants to give back to his community. He is planning on coaching for the Haney Neptunes because he knows that the future of the sport depends upon having coaches to support the developing athletes. “I want to do the best in everything that I do. I get involved in everything that I can,” he says.
About Leaders of Tomorrow
The Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District (SD42) has teamed up with the Maple Ridge News to celebrate local students who are making a difference at school and in the community. Elementary and secondary students featured as Leaders of Tomorrow were picked by their principals for making positive achievements in academics, sports, arts and community involvement.
The list is just a sample of outstanding students in the school district selected by their school during the 2015/16 school year – there are many others who were equally deserving of recognition for their exemplary achievements both inside and outside the classroom. ?
Every Tuesday throughout the school year, SD42 will profile a student selected as one of the 2016 Leaders of Tomorrow.