AMHERST – Daren White is synonymous with the fight against cancer.
The longtime teacher at Spring Street Academy has waged two successful fights against the disease and has become one of its fiercest opponents through the annual Relay for Life and other cancer fundraisers.
For this, White has been recognized by the Amherst Rotary Club with one of its highest honours, a Paul Harris Community Fellowship.
“This is probably one of the few times you’ll ever see me lost for words,” a surprised White said as he accepted the honour during the club’s 78th anniversary dinner on Monday. “I can’t tell you how much this means to me because I have always admired the work of Rotary and everything you do in the community and at Camp Tidnish.”
White attended the meeting thinking his son, Dylan, a new member of the club, was being recognized. He was shocked when emcee, Rotarian Morris Haugg read the introduction.
“I had asked to switch with one of my counterparts at the school so I could be here for Dylan. When I was walking down the hallway I saw two of my bosses and was about to turn around, but I knew Dylan was here and wanted to be here for him,” joked White.
White said he has often boated by Camp Tidnish in the summertime and when he has guests at the cottage he often takes them by the camp so they can see the wonderful work done there by the Easter Seals with the support of the Amherst Rotary Club.
“To be honoured by this club in this way is truly humbling when you think about everything they do,” White said.
White joins a list of 16 Amherst area residents to have received the Paul Harris Community Fellowship for providing leadership and service to the community within the spirit and motto of Rotary.
In presenting the award, the club made a $1,000 US donation to the Rotary Foundation with White becoming an honourary member of the Amherst Rotary Club.
“Daren White is not only well known, but also very popular and well loved in this community,” Haugg said in presenting the medal, pin and certificate that goes with the award. “It is an honour and a privilege for us as a service club to celebrate our work and our goals and our anniversary by recognizing your contribution to our community. Your achievements and accomplishments in the service of others humbles us, but also inspires us.”
A native of Amherst, White has been teaching since 1988. He has received an Exellence in Teaching Award and an Innovative Teaching Award and is a physical education mentor for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.
He is also an artist, both musical and in the visual arts, having played at numerous community benefits, entertaining young and old alike, while his paintings have been donated to fundraisers for the Kidney Foundation, the ARHS Band, Autumn House, Tantramar Theatre, the IWK Children’s Hospital and the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.
A longtime member of the Knights of Columbus and supporter of the Nova Scotia Heart and Stroke Foundation, White has also designed numerous sets and props the Tantramar Theatre and Showcase Production, and at Spring Street Academy, where he teaches, coaches sports and organizers after school activities like drawing, guitar, running, chess and a girl’s club.
White has also painted the Sports Mural on Church Street, the Dayle’s Department Store Mural, the Hockey Heritage Mural at the Amherst Stadium and a mural at the Wandlyn.
It’s his personal fight against cancer that many know White through. He started the Terry Fox Children’s Walk at area schools 14 years ago and his team has raised $82,000 in nine years for Relay for Life. He has been recognized as the top fundraiser for Relay for Life in Nova Scotia and was presented the Jim Connors Award by the Nova Scotia branch of the Canadian Cancer Society for his dedication and contribution.