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Short on free time, this local graduate is big on motivation (4 photos)

École Notre-Dame-du-Sault graduate Cassandra Breckenridge has excelled in a wide variety of extracurricular activities, all while maintaining a high academic average

During her four years at École Notre-Dame-du-Sault, Cassandra Breckenridge has been involved in an impressive number of programs and organizations. To start with, she was the Grade 12 representative and minister of sports for student parliament this past year, and co-captain of the volleyball team. 

“We've won first and second place at NOSSA B during my four years at high school. This year, our team won two (volleyball) tournaments,” she said. “I was on the Superior Heights soccer team last year because our school doesn’t have a team and they’re the closest school and went to OFSAA with that team. I also play badminton and throw discus at track and field."

Aside from her sports-related achievements, the 18-year-old has completed close to 400 hours of community service with organizations such as the Royal Canadian Legion, the Algoma Autism Foundation and the Lions Club.

One of her favourite activities is her involvement with the Royal Canadian Army Cadets. 

Breckenridge has been in cadets for six years, and has done highland dancing, swing tenor with the pipes and drums band, part of the air rifle shooting team, orienteering team, drill team as a member and commander and biathlon team.

“I’ve competed and placed at areas, provincials and nationals on various teams, and was one of 18 army cadets from across Canada selected for the National Rifle Team,” she said. “We shoot C12 rifles (7,62 caliber) at distances varying from 300 yards all the way to 1000 yards. As a member of the team, I traveled to Bisley, England to compete in various international fullbore shooting competitions. My favourite part of the trip was our touring week when we went to visit Vimy Ridge, Beaumont-Hamel and Yypre where we got to visit the war memorials and pay our respects.” 

Breckenridge said she was able to manage her busy schedule during high school by taking things one step at a time. 

“I’m an organized person. Sometimes I had to prioritize certain activities or events and reserve the right amount of time to study. I’ve definitely had hectic weekends where multiple things are going on at once, but I just take it one thing at a time,” she said. 

Out of all cadet-related tasks, she enjoys teaching junior cadets the most. 

“As a senior cadet in the corps, I teach lessons on our regular parade nights. I’ve had the opportunity to staff a silver star (the level of a cadet in their third year) expedition in Restoule. I passed on my knowledge from my regional expedition which was a two-week camping trip where we hiked, biked over 100km and canoed in Mississauga provincial Park. I taught the junior cadets canoeing techniques and outdoor leadership skills. I was supposed to go back to Connaught Cadet Training Centre this summer as a staff cadet and a fullbore coach to teach my skills that I’ve learned throughout my 3 years of fullbore shooting, but the summer camp program is cancelled due to COVID-19.”

In her fourth year as a cadet, Breckenridge was awarded the Major General Howard medal for top army cadet in Ontario in their fourth year. This year, she’s been nominated for the President's trophy for top army cadet in Ontario based on her entire cadet career. If she’s awarded that trophy, she will be considered for top army cadet in Canada. 

“I encourage any parent with a child between the ages of 12 and 18 to think about enrolling in cadets,” she said. “Locally we have a sea, army and air cadet corps, and Navy League cadet corps for 9 to 12-year olds. The program is free of charge as a government funded program. There are opportunities for exchanges and trips to countries around the world with no cost to the family. It’s a great program that teaches leadership, community service, survival skills, and organization, and you have the opportunity to meet so many people and make lasting friendships.”

Regarding her future plans, Breckenridge will be attending Sault College for her post-secondary education, and hopes to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. 

“When I get a better idea for what I have a passion for, I might continue my studies or work in a specific field in nursing,” she said.