If you’re looking for the post about Vegas, it’s the one below. This one is dedicated to something a little less frivilous.

I wasn’t sure how I would cross off #62. Be recognized for a journalism-related achievement from my list. I had even thought about leaving it on there until the bitter end as motivation to go out and achieve something worth recognizing. But winning a Jack Webster Student Journalism Award fit this goal best for several reasons.

First, it’s something that I’m proud of because second, it’s an honour. Third, I originally created my list as a list of eclectic, adventurous, and significant celebrations for all kinds of achievements: This definitely is one of those. Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, the award was journalism-related, and not for actual journalism.

So what did I write about?

My essay was short and to-the-point, like most of my essays are when I’m up against a pushy deadline, and constrained to a tight word count. In 500 words, I wrote about my view on the place of journalism in the world, my aspirations, and my reasons for getting into journalism in the first place. In my opinion, the reasons behind why anyone chooses any career – or any path for that matter – is very telling. Being allowed to know why anyone does anything is fascinating to me.

When I re-read my reasons, it all seems to make sense. I can trace back how I got to where am I by selecting certain “significant” events, by pointing to people who have encouraged me, events that influenced me.

But at the end of the day, I’m not so sure those are the case. What I mean, is that looking back I can choose to include what I think got me into journalism in the first place. In reality, if some small, seemingly irrelevant, non-journalism-related, circumstantial detail was changed, I may not be in my final year, studying journalism, and in love with the idea of telling stories and embarking on a career path that allows me to learn for a job.

There are, however, a few “milestones” (for lack of a better term), that definitely had an impact.

One of them was my discovery of Christiane Amanpour.

When I share this story with people, 80 per cent of the time I get a response that has to do with how she and I have similar hairstyles. If success in journalism was based on hair, I must be on the right track.

We share at least one other thing in common though, and that is a positive belief in the potential of journalism.

I won’t post my essay: When I went searching for past award recipients’ essays online in an attempt to dissuade myself from entering a competition that sees a number of high-caliber entries by more qualified entrants than I, I couldn’t find a single thing. I won’t break the tradition of secrecy by making it easier for next year’s essayists. They will just have to be original. I will give you the first three lines.

Christiane Amanpour once stated that: “Good journalism, good television, can make the world a better place.” And I believe that to be true. 

The key, however, is that journalism itself should not set out to make the world a better place. Rather, journalism that discusses ideas, explains concepts, and provides accountability for actions, has the great potential to make our world a better place by informing populations and educating minds.

Thank you to the Jack Webster Foundation for seeing something true in my writing, and for a fantastic evening; Thank you to one of my instructors for flat-out telling me to apply.


Last night was my first formal opportunity to practice my continental-style eating habits.

The DIVERSEcity awards, held at the Executive Airport Plaza hotel in Richmond, honoured businesses and organizations of different sizes that value multiculturalism and incorporate ethnic diversity into their business plans.

I was there on behalf of Kwantlen as a PAT member. My friend for the evening was a sociology and criminology professor from the school.

The evening was long, and featured interesting music and keynote speaker Roy Henry Vickers, a First Nations artist and recipient of the Order of Canada, among other achievements.

One of the highlights was the food. It was a buffet, with selections from Italy, Greece, India and Japan. Dessert included tiramisu and, my personal favourite, baclava.

I didn’t slurp my coffee, nor did I chew with my mouth open. But there was no way I was getting the flaky and crumbly Greek dessert on the back of my fork.

So I cheated the continental rules a little bit, but no one noticed. In the end, I think it’s better to be focused on enjoying the food and the company around you than focusing on how to eat while ignoring everyone else.

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After spending countless weekends away visiting other communities in B.C., I got to welcome visiting royalty from all across the province to my home town.

The Miss White Rock pageant and White Rock Youth Ambassador gala was held on Friday, kicking off White Rock’s Spirit of the Sea festivities held annually on the August long weekend.

It was an emotional night, partially because I know the retiring ambassador team very well as I’ve travelled and attended local events with them for the past year.

But the excitement, anxiety and joy I felt was mostly due to the fact that my sister @ChloeWoodin was competing.

And boy did she compete.

She cleaned up all of the program’s awards except for the talent award, winning the public speaking, essay, community quiz and fashion show components as well as the Committee Award.

Even though we (my family and I) knew all along she would win, it was nice to know it officially.

The rest of the weekend happened quickly. All of the sparkleheads attended the dance after the pageant, went down to the beach Saturday morning to check out the vendors and free concerts, and rode in the Torchlight Parade that evening.

I rode in a 1964 Ford convertible Mustang, red of course, with my fellow B.C. Ambassadors.

Like I said, this weekend has been a bit of a blur, but an unforgettable experience nonetheless.

And for the first time in history, two sisters have both won the title of Miss White Rock.

This is only the beginning.

So watch out world, here come the Woodins…

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I booked Tuesday night off work so I could attend the 8th Annual Community Leader Awards held at the Surrey Arts Centre.

Two very important women in my life, Debbie and Donna, were being honoured at the reception for all of their hard work in running the White Rock Youth Ambassador Program, also known as the Miss White Rock Pageant.

They have helped dozens of youth over the years find their strengths, improve their self-esteem, acquire public speaking skills, and hone their etiquette and social skills. Having gone through the program, (Miss White Rock 2008), I can’t even begin to describe the impact they have both had on my life.

So I went to the reception, flowers in hand, to show my gratitude.

Now, both Debbie and Donna are full-grown women with kids in their 20s. Needless to say, it was a bit surprising to all of us when they received an honourable mention in the youth category.

But with all of the poise, dignity and grace they’d taught me and my fellow ambassadors back when I was a part of the WRYA, they accepted their award on stage, along with a six-year-old, and two high school students.

Ah, to be young.

Congratulations Debbie and Donna!

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