Three LCCVI students honoured for courage and community service

Lexi Hext, Billy Armstrong and Madison McKinlay

Three LCCVI students have been honoured for their courage, philanthropy and service to the community.

Madison McKinlay, Billy Armstrong and Lexie Hext were all honoured by the Sarnia-Lambton YMCA with a Youth Scholarship of $1,000 for their post-secondary education.

McKinlay was honoured with the Bellavance Family Award, which recognizes students who excel academically despite mental health challenges. McKinlay began seeking treatment for anxiety and depression when she was in Grade 7 and was finally diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in Grade 11.

This January, the teen went through a particularly rough patch and was hospitalized because she was suicidal. Through that, McKinlay worked hard at school to achieve good grades.

She says the judges were “amazed” she was able to do so well in the face of adversity. But McKinlay says she kept working hard because “I want to be able to do some good with my life.”

McKinlay will be going to Carlton University to study criminology and criminal justice in the hope of helping children, perhaps at the Childrens’ Aid Society.

Armstrong was given the Steeves and Rozema Philanthropy Award. His dragon boat team was short of funds and the Bothwell-area Boothill Jamboree didn’t have a clean up crew for its weekend event. Armstrong put the two groups together and the dragon boaters were able to raise $10,000 in two years to buy a new boat.

Armstrong will use his scholarship as he studies at McGill University in biomedical and life sciences as he works to become a neurosurgeon.

And Hext was given the Jim McMurray Award recognizing someone who has overcome personal tragedy. Hext and her father organized I Skate for Mom, a fundraiser for the Caring Hearts program at St. Joseph’s Hospice, after her mother died. They raised $11,000.

Hext will be using the YMCA scholarship as she studies kinesiology at Guelph University as she works to become a physiotherapist.

Meantime, her father will continue the fundraiser, working with the local skating clubs including Petrolia, Sarnia, Mooretown, Point Edward and Alvinston.