June 2021 Globalnews.c

Megan Ebel

The names of four Saskatchewan Junior Citizens of Year were announced Wednesday by Lieutenant-Governor Russ Mirasty, the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association (SWNA) and SaskPower. https://www.cicada.org.au/46132978-6c6f-48da-b213-2df02f4e17d1" alt="pastedGraphic_1.png" />The award recognises youth aged 8 to 18 for their ability to overcome challenges, their positive lifestyles, and community and school spirit as well as their caring personality and responsibility.

This year’s recipients are Megan Ebel from Weyburn, Darshana Lanke from Saskatoon, Michael Pelechaty from Prince Albert and Ashya Siermachesky from Melfort. Mirasty called the recipients “impressive individuals.” “Despite personal challenges, each recipient has made remarkable contributions to their family, school and community and is very deserving of this prestigious award. I am grateful to the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association for managing this award program and to SaskPower for encouraging youth through a generous bursary.”

SWNA executive director Steve Nixon said it was “incredibly challenging” to choose just four winners out of a large selection of nominees. “This year, as in all years, all recipients of this award are outstanding examples of Saskatchewan’s extraordinary youth,” Nixon said in a press release.

Each recipient receives a $3,000 bursary from SaskPower.

One of this year’s award recipients, Pelechaty, said he was in shock when he first found out he had won. “I was really happy to know that I was being appreciated and recognised through all the hard work I’ve done for the community and everybody around,” Pelechaty said.  The Grade 12 graduate was diagnosed with profound deafness when he was born. Pelechaty explained his family had two choices: “One choice was to be deaf and learn sign language and adapt and learn how to do everything through sign language, or get cochlear implant surgery,” Pelechaty said. His family decided to go with the cochlear implant surgery, explaining that there aren’t many deaf people in their community so not many people would use sign language. “They thought I’d be more successful with cochlear implants, and thankfully I was,” Pelechaty said.

The family had help from two charities – Saskatchewan Pediatric Auditory Rehabilitation Centre (SPARC) and Saskatchewan Royal and Purple Elks, who assisted Pelechaty through the process.

To give back to these organisations, Pelechaty started collecting tabs off pop cans. He was able to fill 16 big barrels with the tabs and donate them for the organisations to use for wheelchairs or other needs. “I really feel like they helped me out and I feel like it’s the best thing I can do to help out.”

Pelechaty is also planning on mentoring hearing impaired children at Sask AG Bell Camp once it’s safe to reopen with the COVID-19 pandemic. Pelechaty offered advice for hearing impaired children. “Being called or being profound deaf, it’s not a weakness, you can still find your way to things like I still found my way to be in every sport I wanted to be in.”

Pelechaty added that there will be challenges, but still encouraged others to find their place, saying “there’s always a way around things.” Pelechaty said despite all the challenges he’s faced, he sees himself as a regular person. “I don’t define myself as deaf and different in any way. I try to keep myself just the same way as everyone else. And I really think I am. I don’t want to define me in any way.” Pelechaty is headed to Sask Polytechnic next year taking carpentry pre-employment at the Prince Albert campus.

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