Source:  Bancroft This Week, January 30, 2004

By:  Jessie White

For an improv performer, Desiree Lavoy was relatively speechless when she was presented a "Celebrate Youth Award" this week.  The Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class in the local 229 Viking Sea Cadets was recognized for her many achievements and contributions to the community in front of her peers at the regular cadet meeting on Monday night at the Dungannon Community Centre in L'Amable.  Ms. Lavoy had been nominated for the award by Sub Lieutenant Russell Forde of the local cadet organization.
"I feel awkward, but good," said Ms. Lavoy, after the surprise presentation was made.
The local teenager has been involved with cadets for a number of years, and through this has attended camps in Ontario and British Columbia, where she was a staff cadet.
"I've known Desiree for five years through the cadet organization; she was shy when she joined, but now has no problem stepping out front, [and] taking responsibility for younger cadets," said SLT Forde in his nomination letter.  "She has the respect that she deserves from fellow cadets and officers."
This once-shy cadet, however, seems to have come in to her own, and is now also a long-time member of the North Hastings High School Improv Team and hopes to pursue comedy in the future.  "I have an audition to get into the comedy writing and performance program at Humber College on Feb. 28," says Ms Lavoy, who does improv, stand-up, and other theatrical performances, and has won awards for her work.
While she officially graduated last year, Ms. Lavoy is currently taking a few more high school classes to upgrade before attending college in the fall.  Through NHHS, she has also been involved in student council, the wrestling team, Students Making A Difference, and the group CAVEAT.  Outside of school and cadets, Ms. Lavoy has helped out with Our Lady Of Mercy Church, taken driver's ed, holds a green belt in martial arts and has been involved with martial arts organizations, has won the local and Provincial Remembrance Day poster contest, and is a talented artist.
"She gives 100% at all cadet activities, as I'm sure she does outside cadets," says SLT Forde.
The "Celebrate Youth Award" is sponsored by the Community Futures Development Corporation of North and Central Hastings and South Algonquin to recognize local youth for their achievements in almost anything, including sports, community work or leadership.  Recipients of the award receive a gift certificate from Pizza Delight, and a framed certificate.