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SASSY Awards for Surrey youth who win prize money for themselves and also charity

Event held May 3 at Surrey City Hall
Three of six 2022 SASSY Award recipients include, from left, Alyssa Hai (Community Service), Jiye Choi (Arts and Culture Leadership) and Jessica Buuck (Overcoming Adversity).

SASSY Award-worthy Surrey youth were honoured during a special event at Surrey City Hall on May 3.

Celebrating “Service Above Self Surrey Youth,” the 2022 SASSY Awards attracted close to 140 audience members and most of the 43 nominees in six award categories.

Award winners this year include Alyssa Hai (for Community Service), Jessica Buuck (Overcoming Adversity), Juliana Manalo (Youth Leadership), Jiye Choi (Arts and Culture Leadership) and Desiree Marno (Sports & Recreation Leadership). A sixth award winner, for Environmental Leadership, is not publicly named, for privacy.

The 2022 award finalists include Cabrinha Clark, Alex Passmore, Danica Almeida, Riley Haertl, Jacob Sawatzky, Manpreet Dhesi, Sanjana Karthik, Amy Bolenback, Cassie Thompson, Shamma Taank and Simi Sahota.

Award winners received $1,500 along with a $500 donation to present to a charity of their choice. Two finalists in each category both received $500 as well as $250 to give to charity.

The awards night was held during Surrey’s Youth Week of events. Presented by Semiahmoo Rotary Club and City of Surrey, the 12th annual SASSYs featured performances by Semiahmoo Secondary Jazz Combo, soloist Karishma Deo, dancer Emma Misak and singer-songwriter Richard Tichelman.

The 11th annual Sassy Awards were streamed online last year, and 2022 marked a return to an in-person event.

Proceeds from the awards support Rotary youth programs such as Interact and Rotaract, “where youth from our community lead projects locally and globally to help make the world a better place.”

Program details are posted online,

2022 SASSY Award recipients and biographies:

Alyssa Hai, Community Service: “Alyssa is a swimming and volleyball coach and oversees major initiatives within her school. She organized a video game tournament with funds supporting mental health.”

Jessica Buuck, Overcoming Adversity: “Jessica overcame personal challenges by bettering her community. She volunteers at the library and at her elementary school. Jessica loves to work with kids, instilling confidence and teaching them interpersonal skills.”

Juliana Manalo, Youth Leadership: “Juliana is extensively involved within her school and community. She started a business club and is part of the Fuse Society and Youth Leaders in Law.”

Jiye Choi, Arts and Culture Leadership: “As the president of the Arts Council, a leader and an artist, Jiye has strived to better her community through her involvement. She collaborated on a school-wide art installation and organized a multi-grade speed painting battle.”

Desiree Marno, Sports & Recreation Leadership: “Desiree is a teacher assistant for her dance studio where her passion for dance has led her to be a role model for young dancers. She has taught young kids invaluable lessons on gaining confidence and learning how to socialize through her years of volunteering.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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