Samantha Kilmartin was named a Capital News’ Community Leader of the Year in the coach category at the 4th Annual Kelowna Capital News Community Leader Awards, held at Okanagan College, Oct. 23, 2017. The Community Leader Awards are given to local members of the community who demonstrate exceptional commitment and leadership.
To those who know her best, Samantha Kilmartin’s passion for tae kwon do is unmistakable.
And the biggest beneficiaries of that passion are her students at Kee’s Tae Kwon Do in Kelowna.
“I like seeing that look in the kids’ eyes when they start to figure it all out,” Kilmartin said. “That determination and drive, seeing that grow and watching them become better, that’s pretty rewarding.”
Kilmartin first tried tae kwon do 18 years ago and admits to having been hooked ever since.
“It seems like I’ve always done it. When I first started, I fell in love with it and have never looked back.”
Kilmartin, now 27, began teaching at the school in her teens and 2 1/2 years ago took over coaching the sparring team. The highlight of her career came last year when she served as the coach for Kelowna’s contingent at the 2016 International Children’s Games.
Kee’s head instructor Trevor Warkentin said Kilmartin possesses all the important qualities of a good teacher and coach.
“She is a very caring instructor and coach, she pushes the students and is able to get the best out of them,” said Warkentin. “She is fair, firm and fun as a coach.”
As for her nomination for a Community Leader Award, Kilmartin is both pleased and humbled.
“It’s just nice to be recognized. You don’t do it for the recognition, you do it for the kids…but it was nice to get that phone call, a reward for the hard work I’ve put in.”
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