Jessica Maitland is a star student leader and avid athlete.
While maintaining above average grades in the A-B range, she finds time for sports and fine arts, to the degree her counsellor at École Lansdowne middle school saw fit to nominate her as a Young Exceptional Star.
Maitland was one of 10 youth to be awarded an Oak Bay YES Award recognizing talented youth in Grades 6 to 10.
“I’ve never heard of a community recognizing kids like this,” said her dad Michael Maitland. “It’s so positive for kids of this age to be recognized for the good they do.”
School counsellor Melinda Budgell said Maitland can be counted on to complete any task she is given and often volunteers to help others.
The Grade 7 student participates in school activities including the French public speaking contest, Concours D’Oratoire, the French Public Speaking Contest. Last year Maitland won the School Project X award for Extreme Kindness. She’s involved in Lansdowne’s leadership, Eco action and Youth Creating Inclusion groups.
Many of those groups she participates in with fellow winner and longtime friend, Leah Smith.
“We did a brick-by-brick campaign to build schools in Africa,” Maitland said, recalling those Grade 5 days at Willows elementary. “It always makes me feel good to help other people when we have so much.”
Maitland also plays flute in the Lansdowne school band; sings in the Grade 7/8 school choir that meets at recess and after school, and plays in the school orchestra.
“I really like choir, I think I get it from my dad, he’s always singing or whistling around the house,” Maitland said.
She has a recorder solo in a favourite piece, Kitsune, that appeared in the school showcase in June.
“At the beginning it’s mysterious and really slow, then halfway through it gets really fast,” she said. By the end the blend is “pretty cool.”
Professing a love of water, in October Maitland added triathlon to her already hefty athletics load that includes school basketball and volleyball teams. Maitland has played Vikes field hockey since she was eight years old.
“My parents do a lot of sports,” she said. “I like how it makes you feel after you’ve practiced – a good sore.”