The Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise is pleased to kick off its Student of the Month feature for academic year 2019-20 with the selection of Rowan Brown, a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School, as SOM for October.
Endowed with exceptional athletic and scholastic abilities, Brown is hardwired to achieve excellence in both the gym and classroom. This rare combination of innate traits, bolstered by a lunch-pail mindset and a humble, unselfish personality, help make Brown an inspiring leader and admired role model. Clearly, he is a poster boy for Maggie’s motto: Pride is in the AIR: Accountability, Integrity and Respect.
Brown’s burning passion for team sports began with playing lacrosse, basketball and volleyball in childhood and has persisted to this very day. In fact, playing on Maggie’s volleyball and basketball teams has unquestionably become his most enjoyable school activity, because, “We have an excellent coaching staff and it’s something I can do to have fun with my friends.”
Brown, at six-foot-five and 170 pounds, is built to play both volleyball and basketball. This he does extremely well, especially volleyball, in which he plays the starting middle blocker position. His recent election as team captain attests to the esteem afforded him by his teammates.
Maggie biology and science teacher Rich Corrie said: “Rowan is an outstanding student, extremely mature and hard working. He is courteous, kind and highly respected by peers and teachers alike. As his volleyball coach, I see him as a quiet leader who leads by example, always with a positive attitude. He is very dedicated and passionate about volleyball and has trained hard year-round to become a very skilled athlete.”
Maggie athletic director John Buckley agreed, adding: “Rowan is a self-motivated athlete who eagerly puts in the extra work needed to acquire the skills and confidence to become an elite player. Moreover, he is also a top academic student, role model and citizen.”
In his own view, Brown’s greatest accomplishment to date relates to the stellar performance of Maggie’s volleyball teams. In Grade 10, he played on the junior team that placed eighth overall in the provincial finals, advancing farther than any other team in the Okanagan. He fondly recalls how the team “gelled over the course of the season, committing to practise set plays and then executing them as a cohesive unit.”
Similarly, last year Brown was a key member of Maggie’s senior volleyball team that ranked 10th provincially, a notable achievement for a school of only about 570 students.
In each of the previous three years, Brown has garnered top overall student honors at Maggie, complementing his stellar sports performance with excellence in scholastics. Achieving an average mark of 92.5% last year is especially notable, given his heavy course load which included chemistry, physics, pre-calculus, English and leadership.
For the past two summers, Brown has attended a week-long volleyball camp at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford. The camp, featuring Canadian men’s volleyball team member Rudy Verhoeff as guest coach, has been extremely rewarding.
Brown fully appreciates the importance of giving back to the sports he loves. Last spring, he coached a group of Grades 3-4 boys in the Lake City Development League, noting that: “the most rewarding part was seeing their improvement over the 10-week period.”
Spencer McKay, Youth Development Coordinator, Lake City Basketball and former Canadian men’s basketball team member, said: “Rowan was instantly popular with all of our players and coaches, and one of my most reliable student volunteers. His basketball knowledge, humble demeanour, and strong work ethic made him an ideal coach for our youth league, and his character and personality made him the perfect role model for our young athletes.”
Upon graduation, Brown plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in engineering while playing intercollegiate volleyball. This dual career path will be challenging indeed, but if anyone possesses the multifaceted tool-kit – athleticism, intellect, drive and grit – needed to pull it off, it’s surely him.
Student of the Month is a Rotary Club of Penticton Sunrise project. The award aims to recognize outstanding students for unique achievement in scholastics, extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership and service to others. The club partners on the project with Penticton Secondary School and Princess Margaret Secondary School, and is aided by a financial contribution from Gateway Casinos.