Céline Sterckel, a first-year St. Thomas University student from Moncton, was one of the 89 people recognized by the program Stepping up for my New Brunswick, which was created by the provincial government in July to recognize exemplary acts of service during COVID-19.
“I felt really humble,” she said.
In May 2020, Sterckel helped fundraise money for the Moncton High School’s lunch bag program through Facebook, where she raised $650.
She thought this initiative was worth doing because her community was impacted by COVID-19. Many people lost their jobs or their salary was drastically reduced, she said.
“I think it just puts a lot of stress on families, especially some with multiple kids of different ages,” said Sterckel.
With the help of the Knights Community Council and her school, she said they made a draw and sold “squares” for $2 each. The winner of the draw would take half of the money they collected.
“I had a lot of fun with it and I knew I was doing a good thing,” she said. “I was helping my peers and I knew that they would have a meal.”
The fundraiser was a success and according to Sterckel, that was thanks to the active participation of the alumni and others who didn’t have any connection to the school.
But the fundraiser was not her first time helping her community. Sterckel, who was born in the Netherlands and raised in Canada since she was three, has always had a strong sense of service and aid.
Before the lunch bag project, she volunteered for Relay For Life, Lights For Literacy and Global Minds Initiative. She also went to a leadership conference in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
Now that Sterckel is at university, she’s on the STU basketball team, a sport she’s played since she was four.
She knew STU would be a great fit for her “athletically and academically.”
The pandemic had a negative impact on her life as an athlete. When Fredericton was in the red phase, she couldn’t train or workout at the gym like she normally did.
Sterckel came to STU because she wants to become a high school teacher and continue helping kids.
“I want to be a teacher to help others who are going through stuff and they don’t think anyone’s there,” she said. “I think that’s a super important aspect of high school – having someone that’s there for you.”