Rachelle Clark of Abbotsford is the recipient of the national Stacey Levitt Memorial Award.

Rachelle Clark of Abbotsford is the recipient of the national Stacey Levitt Memorial Award.

Abbotsford teen selected from almost 400 applicants to receive national award

Rachelle Clarke receives Stacey Levitt Memorial Award

An Abbotsford student beat out 373 applicants from across the country to earn the Stacey Levitt Memorial Award.

Rachelle Clark, a student at Robert Bateman Secondary, received the $2,500 award that is administered by the charity Parachute in memory of Levitt, a Toronto teen killed in 1995 when she was struck by a vehicle while she was jogging.

The annual award encourages Canadian youth to embody Levitt’s qualities and ideals and Parachute’s overarching goal of a long life lived to the fullest, while maintaining an approach that is rooted in risk management and injury prevention.

Clark, 18, was selected for her academic success – she has maintained a 97 per cent average in top academic courses – and her volunteer work amid challenging personal circumstances.

RELATED: Four Abbotsford students are recipients of national scholarships

She has worked at multiple jobs to support herself after she began living independently at the age of 17 following what she describes as “fallout” from her parents’ divorce.

“The story of my life is one about overcoming adversity and boldly facing the challenges that have attempted to throw me off course,” Clark says.

Her nominator, school counsellor Jennifer Crockett, says that “while this would have been an insurmountable obstacle for most, Clark accepted her new challenges without sacrificing her academic record, her volunteer work or her ability to maintain her job in the food industry and as an academic tutor for multiple students in Grades 10 to 12. Clark is a scholar, a mentor and an amazing young woman.”

Clark’s volunteer and extracurricular work has included being a math tutor; playing basketball and volleyball; participating in track and field; performing as a singer and flutist in musical performances; teaching Sunday school preschool and kindergarten to Grade 5; and assisting with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Clark plans to use the award towards her tuition at the University of B.C. for a bachelor of science degree.

Parachute is a national charity dedicated to injury prevention.

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