Emma Jane Harper recognized as Burlington’s Junior person of the year. Start them early and they just get better and better.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON May 30, 2011 It all began when she was 10 years old. Not an awkward child but certainly not a child that would stand in front of a group of people and make a short speech. Today Emma Jane Harper expresses all the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ and the “awesome’s” that populate the speech of her generation.

Emma Jane Harper, Burlington’s Young Person of the Year.  Keep an eye on this one, you’re going to read a lot more about her.

Emma Jane Harper, Burlington’s Young Person of the Year. Keep an eye on this one, you’re going to read a lot more about her.

The Junior Person of the Year award for her was appreciated but what she takes away from the night was being able to sit amongst a group of people who have made such a difference to their community”. It was amazing, absolutely amazing and when it was my turn to make a few comments I wasn’t really sure what I was going to say”.

A student at Corpus Christi High School Emma Jane got into the community service business at an early age when she took part in a CIBC Run for the Cure Race and a few years later, at the age of 10, she became became a team captain and basically hasn’t stopped since then.

Her list of achievements just goes on and on. When she graduated from elementary school to high school – she was attending a brand new school and because there wasn’t much in the way of structure or student organization – Emma Jane jumped right in and began setting up student groups.

She has worked with her twin brother Luke on a video about veterans that he taped and edited. The video was about the contribution veterans made during the Second World War. “I found them to be just so positive. They told me I could do anything I wanted in life and that was surprising to me to hear those words from people who had gone through so much pain.” The video was done with the S4S (Students or Students) group at her high school. The lesson that I got from that experience was the question: “Why do we go to war?

Her best subjects in high school? History and English and right now Louis Riel is getting a lot of attention from this student. University will follow once she graduates with Queen’s and Brock at the top of her list. That next step in her journey has a bit of trepidation attached to it, “I’ve never been away from my family” she explains, but she is still looking forward to the idea of being a full time university student.

School used to be about text books and classroom conversation. That changed when the internet arrived and today much of the research and a lot of the social chit chat gets done on computers. Emma Jean took charge of that as well and created a web site for the Students 4 Students project she set up for her high school. The link for that web site is:

http://www.wix.com/beyourownsuperhero/s4s Check it out.

The most recent book she read and liked? Three Cups of Tea. Most recent movie she liked? The Note Book. The magazine she would pick up at the airport is she were taking a long flight? “17”, the teen magazine for girls, and that just about sums up Emma Jean Harper; a bright outgoing, giving young woman who still has a lot of girl in her life. Keep an eye on this one.

A touch of poignancy to close this piece. Arlene Miller, the woman who accepted the Citizen of the Year Award on behalf of her late husband John Boich taught Emma Jane’s Mother English as a high school student. That’s a bit less than six degrees of separation.

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