On June 26, 2012, Annaleise Carr made the valedictorian speech to her grade eight class at Walsh Public School in Simcoe.
"We don't have to look far for inspiration...we each have the potential to make an inspiring contribution to others by being true to our values and committing ourselves to lofty goals."
The 14-year-old knows something about lofty goals. This past weekend, Annaleise became the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario, raising approximately $115,000 for Camp Trillium, a camp for children with cancer.
The grueling swim saw Annaleise battling two-metre swells and 15-knot winds overnight, which, in the rueful words of Humber sailing instructor and lead support-boat skipper Paul Fagan, "slowed her progress to a crawl."
But Annaleise didn't give up. A 9 pm on Sunday, August 19, she touched the wall at Marilyn Bell Park in Toronto, completing the 52-kilometre route in 27 hours.
While Annaleise was the driving force behind the fundraising effort that, to date, has surpassed its original goal of $20,000 more than five times over, she had some help along the way.
Her well-organized army of volunteers included both land and water coordinators, medical personnel, pace swimmers, kayakers, sailing pros, and coaches, and included a support team from the Humber Sailing and Powerboating Centre.
Tim Kendall, manager of operations for the Centre, said that volunteering the club's two Catalina sailboats, each skippered and crewed by Humber instructors and club members, was a natural choice.
"Annaleise is very down-to-earth, but so inspirational," Kendall says. "Helping her completely aligned with what we do as a College."