Young Adam does it big
Queen's Platinum Jubilee Award for volunteerism presented to 16-y-o; back-to-back academic honours
Adam Selalmatzidis was presented with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Award for volunteerism by Member of Parliament for Sudbury in Ontario, Canada, Viviane Lapointe on Friday, February 24, 2023.

A youngster that offers big-time services — that's 16-year-old Adam Selalmatzidis.

He was presented with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Award for volunteerism by Member of Parliament for Sudbury in Ontario, Canada, Viviane Lapointe on Friday, February 24, 2023.

"It is a great honour and I am both excited and humbled in receiving this recognition. Volunteering in my community has been very fulfilling. I have made strong friendships, learned important life lessons and gained invaluable experience in both coaching and the environment. I am humbled, as I have come to realise how many people give so selflessly and the lasting impact that this has on the community," Selalmatzidis, who was born to a Jamaican mother in Toronto, Canada told the Jamaica Observer last Wednesday.

His interest in volunteerism was sparked by school science fair projects which were focused on waste reduction and micro plastic tyre particles pollution.

Adam Selalmatzidis left Jamaica in 2014 for Canada, after completing primary education at at Stella Maris Preparatory School in Kingston..

"In gathering information and understanding scientific processes, I reached out to several educators all over the world and was provided with guidance and assurance by scientists and professors. Their kindness helped me understand that we must help each other if we want to create positive change. Having an idea is a great thing, but actioning that idea with the support of others makes all the difference," he continued.

Selalmatzidis returned to Jamaica with his mother for his formative educational years, and completed his primary education at Stella Maris Preparatory School in Kingston. He then left Jamaica for Canada in 2014.

"Enjoying the many offerings of Jamaica, I have only fond memories. Visiting Caymanas Park with my grandfather, Councillor Lee Clarke [a St Mary-born former deputy mayor of the Kingston & St Andrew Municipal Corporation] who is a horse owner, eating fish and festival at Hellshire Beach, and climbing Dunn's River Falls with my mother are the most vivid and will be with me forever," Selalmatzidis said.

Now living in Ontario, he attends Lockerby Composite School which offers a science and technology education programme (STEP). He has been a Viking Scholar for three consecutive school years – a student who achieves an at least 80 per cent average in all subjects.

Adam Selalmatzidis attends Lockerby Composite School and has been a Viking Scholar for three consecutive school years — a student who achieves an at least 80 per cent average in all subjects.

Selalmatzidis also represents his school in basketball and volleyball, and is active in volunteerism in his community. But all of this required some level of adjusting.

"Starting a new life in a new country has its challenges. The weather and the culture are all very different. I credit my mother's guidance and my early education in the Jamaican school system for equipping me with a strong foundation and confidence to adapt and thrive," he related.

He has definitely thrived, both academically and where volunteering is concerned. The volunteerism projects were quite manageable because of a focus on the environment – a subject area for which he has a great propensity.

"I've always been interested in the community and the environment. I came to realise that participation and involvement is one way of creating change and perhaps making the world a better place. The environment has become a very important topic for youth and the concerns are many. I felt that I could make a difference if I worked on a world problem in my own community and I began volunteering for the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee," Selalmatzidis told the Sunday Observer.

"It is a dynamic organisation that focuses on the restoration of a large urban waterway in the city of Sudbury, and I am also a member of my school's environmental council. My work with Junction Creek has been very rewarding. Initially, I thought it was just about litter removal, but it is so much more. I've participated in the reintroduction of native species in the creek, the monitoring of turtles, tree planting and invasive species removal."

The creek's health, he added, is vital to the community's health, and "I feel happy in knowing that I'm making a difference."

The youngster expressed that his work with his school's environmental council has kept him informed on larger world issues and promotes positive change through waste reduction initiatives and education.

He was inspired by these activities at school level and integrated it into a programme now offered by the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee.

"Sitting as the lead for the Junction Creek Youth Council, which comprises of high school students within the Greater Sudbury area, we have been working on building our ranks and speaking for youth on local environmental issues," he said.

However, his participation in the community extends beyond environmental issues. Through a network of volunteerism, he was provided with the opportunity to become a general volunteer with Special Olympics and has found this experience very rewarding.

Selalmatzidis is now a bowling coach, travelling throughout Northern Ontario with the team. He also assists the athletes with their skill development, encourage their continued progress and records their performance.

"Working with dedicated athletes who play their sport with enormous joy and pride has made a huge difference on the way I participate when representing my school in sports. The Special Olympics is a great organisation that puts their athletes first. Each time I leave an event, I feel enriched and glad for the opportunity to have coached such great athletes," he said.

Looking to the future, he is certain that his next step will take him towards computer engineering.

"I find the field of engineering very interesting and I feel it will allow me to blend my aptitude for Math with my curiosity in design and development. I will also be continuing with volunteering. My role may change, but I have come to learn that volunteering is a very rewarding experience and that building a better community starts with action," he told the Sunday Observer.

He has enjoyed a good amount of success in school and represented his city in the National Canada Wide Science Fair in 2019. His submission examined waste reduction in the fast food industry and examined potential alternatives. He also have also received 12 academic awards across mathematics, science and technology.

And would you believe that his biggest treasure to date is a recent letter he received from a senior in his community?

"She had learnt of my volunteerism and reached out to tell me a little of herself and her son, a former professional hockey player in the NHL who had worked tirelessly to achieve many remarkable accomplishments," he said of the sender.

"In comparing me to her son I was truly humbled. Her kind letter has shown me that the reach of positive action is far beyond what we think. A kind deed or word can impact the world and we should keep this in mind as we interact with each other and our community," Selalmatzidis added.

His family response to his strides, he shared, has been heart-warming.

"My family is the best. Right from my Jamaican grandmother and grandfather who have been so supportive to my parents, whose guidance and kindness have always been there. I am a product of their love and the love of my extended family. I am truly blessed to have been given so much."

Selalmatzidis' academic honours:

Grade 6:

Heritage Fair - Multicultural History Society of Ontario Award

Grade 7 (April - May 2019):

Sudbury Regional Science Fair: Physical Science – Junior – 1st place

Canada Wide Science Fair Finalist

Grade 9 (2020 - 2021):

Viking Scholar

Excellence in Mathematics

Excellence in Science

Excellence in Technological Design

Excellence in Healthy Active Living

Certificate of Distinction – Beaver Computing Challenge – hosted by the university of Waterloo

Grade 10 (2021 - 2022):

Viking Scholar

Excellence in Mathematics

Excellence in Science

Excellence in Technological Design

Excellence in Architectural Design (Grade 11 class)

Excellence in Computer Technology

Excellence in Physics (Grade 11 class)

Grade 11 (2022 – 2023 to date):

Viking Scholar

Excellence in Computer and Information Science

Excellence in Mathematics

Excellence in Computer Robotics

Excellence in Chemistry

*Excellence Award – Given to a student who receives the highest mark in the grade

BY ROMARDO LYONS Staff reporter

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