Winners of the 2019 SASSY Awards in Surrey include, from left to right, Chanya Chawla, Arry Pandher, Gian Franco Soquena, Karambir Dhaunsi, Eman Dhanoya and Jasneet Nijjar. Not pictured is award winner Meriwether Morris. (submitted photo)

It was a SASSY night in Surrey for seven award winners

Local youth recognized during ninth annual event held at Surrey Arts Centre

At the Centre Stage theatre at Surrey City Hall, seven “influential” young people were recognized during the ninth annual SASSY Awards night on Thursday, May 9.

The event is held as part of a Rotary scholarship program for youth, aged 15 to 21, who live, work or study in Surrey or White Rock.

Designed to celebrate youth achievement, the multi-category program is based on the Rotary ideal of “Service Above Self” among Surrey youth – or SASSY.

More than 230 people gathered at city hall to celebrate the seven award winners for 2019, including Chanya Chawla (youth leadership), Arry Pandher (international service), Gian Franco Soquena (community service), Karambir Dhaunsi (overcoming adversity), Eman Dhanoya (environmental leadership), Jasneet Nijjar (sports leadership) and Meriwether Morris (arts and culture leadership).

CLICK HERE to see video and biographies of each award winner.

Award recipients receive a trophy, a $1,000 bursary and $500 to donate to a Canadian registered charity of their choice. The event is presented by Semiahmoo Rotary Club, the City of Surrey and KPU.

This year’s event featured performances by FIONN, Skyla Cote, Erik Helgason, Julie Lin and the Tamanawis Secondary Drum Line, and the event’s musical director, Ben Dunnill, and his band, Big Paw.

“Youth are a valuable part of our community and future, and we are very proud of this year’s SASSY award recipients for their contributions, ideas and leadership within the community,” Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said in a press release from the city.

“Thank you to this year’s sponsors, performers, volunteers and youth leaders who made this year’s event another great success.”

Proceeds from the SASSY Awards support Rotary youth programs including Interact and Rotaract, “where local youth lead projects locally and globally to help make the world a better place,” according to the release.

More details are posted on the program website, sassyawardssurrey.ca.

In 2018, the SASSY Awards winners were Xin Yi (Cindy) Zeng (community service), Julia Paler (environmental leadership), Emma Salisbury (overcoming adversity), Jaymie Cristobal (arts and culture leadership), Olivia Barbieri (sports leadership) and Van Ahn (Vivian) Tran Pham (youth leadership).

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