Following in the footsteps of previous winners, Shay Hoyt in 2011 and Emalee Murphy in 2012, the 2013 Youth of the Year award went to outstanding member of Magrath’s community.Looked up to in a school and sports-based environment, born and raised Magrath native Derek Strate spends most of time playing some kind of sport, or doing something active.
“Sports is kind of my thing. Basketball and baseball are my favourites,” said the 17-year-old of his habits. “I used to hunt a little more when I was younger and since high school I’ve focussed more on being ready for basketball.”
At the top of the sibling heap, along with twin-brother Dawson, Strate also has three younger sisters and two very supportive parents. During the summer the family likes to spend time near the Waterton Lakes area, where other members of their family own a cabin.
Over the years Strate has been involved with several different areas of sports, from playing to coaching to volunteering. He has also represented both the Town of Magrath and Canada in the united states while playing baseball for the Lethbridge Elks American Legion Baseball Team, based out of Montana.
While there Strate was one of the top pitchers on the team and batted a .300 as an outfielder.
Back at home Strate was also voted, by other coaches in the high school league, to play in the high school All Star League while still in Grade 11 – an amazing feat, as most selected are seniors.
Known as a volunteer referee for both volleyball and basketball games, he also assisted his father Ron, with coaching the Grade 7 girls basketball team to a divisional title.
“I like that Miranda’s team won league this year. Maybe I should take up coaching,” Strate said, who added he has also umped for baseball and helped younger kids in the community with sports skills.
Strate was also recently interviewed for his Queen Venture badge in the Scouts, which he has been involved with since he was a child.
“It was a really nice honour (to have been nominated for Youth of the Year.) Mostly because there’s lots of other youth in this community who have given to this community a lot, and who have done kind and generous things for this community, so being mentioned along with them, made me really happy,” Strate said of his nomination.
“I was pretty shocked at first. I was kind of like ‘whoa.’ I’ll admit I didn’t even really know the award existed and then I (found out more about it) and it was like ‘whoa, this is really cool.’”
Although Strate would choose gym as his favourite subject, if he could, this semester the sciences seem to peak his interest. He also occasionally drops by the student council headquarters to give helpful suggestions, often times for kids too shy to bring it up themselves.
“I’ve always really liked chemistry,” he said of school.
Recently Strate and his twin-brother, Dawson were selected for a verbal commitment to play on a South Virginia University baseball team. While attending the university Strate plans to take part in some classes, either focussing on teaching or pharmaceuticals.
“This summer I plan on serving a mission when I get back,” he said, while adding he plans to play dual sports while in Virginia, both basketball and baseball. “If I’m on my mission and stuff changes I can just change it with them, just right now that’s the plan. I guess try and get married and have kids, which is weird to say because I’m still in high school but it’s coming up.”
Right now the primary focus is just to have a special senior year, full of unique experiences.
“Thank you to all my coaches, teachers, parents, family and friends for helping me with my different achievements and my parents for raising me the way they have, I’m so grateful for them,” he said.
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