Children & Youth Committee at Rotary Club of Guelph
HIGH SCHOOL AWARDS
 
For over 40 years (since the late 1970s, as far as anyone can remember!), the Rotary Club of Guelph has supported and honoured  students at the Commencement Exercises at all the local high schools. In the early days, an award of $100 (later $250)  was entitled  Community Service Award and presented to both a male and female graduate. A Rotarian would attend the graduation and present the awards – a framed certificate and cheque. Those students later were invited to attend a Friday Rotary lunch meeting where again they would be honoured by the club. 
 
In 1995, after the death of Rotarian Gary Tatum, a new award was created in his memory.  The Gary Tatum Award of $250  recognized a graduate from each high school who had achieved success while overcoming adversity. This award continues to this day with the value of $500. Rotarians still attend the Commencement ceremonies, and personally present this award to a deserving candidate selected by their school. This award continues today and is offered at all eight high schools in Guelph.
 
In 2019, some changes were made to the awards presented.  The Community Service Award was changed to the Service Above Self Award recognizing Rotary’s motto and signalling the type of students to be honoured. However, with the initiation of a major new project being supported by our club, the Integrated Youth Services Network in Guelph Wellington, and with budgets being tight, it was felt that funds would be better spent supporting this new Rotary-inspired initiative which would help so many youth in need. Consequently the Service Above Self Award was disbanded.
 
Another very special award was created in 2008 and continues to this day. Upon the passing of Rotarian and Youth Committee Chair Don Bower, The Don Bower Award was created for a graduating student at College Heights Secondary School in honour of Don,  who served that school so diligently. The award was created in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Guelph Foundation to present a cheque for $2,000 to a deserving student to give him/her a significant contribution towards next steps in their career. Once the funds at the Foundation from the donations at the time of Don’s passing were used, the award reverted to $1,000 from the Rotary Club of Guelph Youth Committee budget. 
 
Rotarian Joanne McAuley presenting the Community Service Award to
Brandon Michaud, June 18, 2018 at Bishop Mac Secondary School