CORNER BROOK — Jessica Butt's speech to earn her a trip to the Rotary Adventure in Citizenship Program in Ottawa was self-declared inadequate.
The Pasadena Academy graduate returned to the Corner Brook Rotary Club Thursday to educate Rotarians on the lessons she learned while experiencing the program designed to develop high school students' potential as leaders.
She had earned the right to represent the club in the nation's capital in late April and early May by winning a speak-off earlier this year. That speech focused on how proud she was to be a Canadian. Thursday she admitted she didn't know much about what it really was to be a Canadian prior to the 62nd annual Adventure in Citizenship Program.
"Looking back now, I realize I really had no idea what I was talking about," she said. "Now, thanks to Rotary, I can truly say I am proud, beyond measure, to call myself a Canadian citizen."
Butt was one of 220 outstanding senior high school students from across Canada to spend four days in the national capital.
Other than inspiring guest speakers, who helped her realize anything she wants to pursue in life is possible, she said she was particularly moved by the citizenship ceremony which made 50 people new Canadians.
"Most of us participants were just fortunate enough to be born in Canada, and reap the benefits of citizenship everyday," she said. "It wasn't until the official citizenship ceremony where I realized how important my individual Canadian citizenship was to me."
Butt said there was a real sense of unity among the 500 people in attendance, especially in getting the chance to renew their own citizenship.
"500 voices lifting up the words of Oh Canada, in two official languages, it brings a feeling no history book or presenter can ever prepare you for," she said.
She also said the friends she made on the trip were enough to prove to her the future of this country is in capable and passionate hands.