It’s not the average hgh school student who would get excited about meeting Canada’s Governor General; but then an average student likely wouldn’t have won the Young Women in Public Affairs Award from Zonta International District Four.
Wendy Liao, 18, was chosen as the local winner by the Zonta Club of Toronto, then picked as the winner for District Four, which covers southern Ontario and western New York and Pennsylvania. The Zonta Club is an international organization of executives and professional women working to advance the status of women worldwide. The award is intended to honour young women 16 to 19 years old who “demonstrate a commitment to leadership in public policy, government, and volunteer organizations.”
Liao, a student at Monarch Park C.I., admits she had never heard of the group before applying for their award, but was quickly impressed by those involved. She now hopes to start a ‘Z Club’, the student version of a local Zonta Club.
“I really wanted to get the word out about Zonta and some of the great initiatives they’ve been doing,” said Liao.
Liao has been getting very involved in politics over the past couple years. She took part in the Forum for Young Canadians, where she spent a week in Ottawa, had the opportunity to meet MPs, observe Question Period in Parliament, had breakfast with senators, and “I even got to meet David Johnston, which was cool,” she said.
Liao has been student council president at Monarch Park for two years, and brought back student council elections, which hadn’t happened for some time.
“I really believe in the democratic process,” she said.
Along with volunteering at Toronto East General Hospital, being captain of Monarch Park’s curling team and organizing school-wide relief efforts after the Haiti earthquake and flooding in Pakistan, she also volunteered many hours with Jack Layton’s campaign office, and was a youth delegate at the NDP leadership conference. Liao will be attending Carleton University’s Public Affairs and Policy Management program in the fall.
“I really, really want to go into politics. I want to one day maybe even become a Member of Parliament,” she said.
With achievements like these under her belt, it’s a dream Liao may one day make a reality.