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Students receive prestigious nomination

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Two young women from Transcona’s Murdoch MacKay Collegiate have been nominated for a prestigious award for their work at school and in the community.


Grade 12 students Cherese Matula and Marianne Cortes are both nominees for the Gerrie Hammond Memorial Award of Promise.


The award is presen­ted annually by the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg as part of the its Women of Distinction Awards program.


Young women must be enrolled in a school in Winnipeg and be graduating from high school in 2012 in order to be eligible for the award. It is presented bas­ed on the contributions an individual has made to their school and community.


Matula was nominated for her role in community initiatives including the school group Students Creating Autism Awareness Together, which uses drama to educate others about the developmental disorder.


Cortes, a member of the school’s Charitable Ideas group, was recognized for her volunteer work with the Christmas Cheer Board, Winnipeg Harvest, and reviving the school’s 30 Hour Famine.


Neither girl knew they were being nominated, but were honoured when they found out.


"I was very thankful because it was a lot of work for the people who nominated us," said Cortes, who moved to Winnipeg from the Philippines six years ago.


Cortes said she witnessed a lot of poverty while living in the Philippines and was frustrated by the fact there wasn’t anything she could do to help. She said one of the most satisfying parts of her new home is the opportunities she has been afforded to help others.


"When I came here that’s what I liked about the school, we had the opportunity to help," she said.


Matula said taking part in the autism project was a perfect fit since she plans on studying nursing at the University of Manitoba, and wants to focus on child care.


"You hear so many different things about autism, and you need to know what’s right and wrong," she said.


"It’s odd to be in front of so many teachers presenting, but the response has been positive."


Murdoch MacKay principal Darwin MacFarlane said having two students nominated for the award is an honour for the school.


"I’m very proud of the girls, I’m proud of all our students," MacFarlane said.


"They always seem to be a part of everything. They’re fine young ladies and I look forward to working with them in the community."


Matula said she couldn’t imagine what high school would have been like if she didn’t take the time to volunteer.


"We have the time so why not? We get to make a difference," she said.


The Women of Distinction Awards will be handed out on Wed., May 2 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

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adrian.alleyne@canstarnews.com

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