by Jessy Lok, Grade 10 boarder
I had been waiting for this news for a long time and when I finally received it, I was incredibly happy. The news was that I had been selected as one of the nominees for the Maple Leaf Youth Award. This would mean that I would have a wonderful opportunity to travel Vancouver and meet Trevor Linden, the former captain of the Vancouver Canucks along with some of the other nominees.
The Maple Leaf Youth Award recognizes students who demonstrate their passions through leadership roles in the arts, community service or athletics. Also, the Canadian Club encourages young Canadians to consider what it means to be both a Canadian and, to become engaged citizens. To apply for the award, I had to write an essay and submit three reference letters as well as six pieces of my own art.
The topic of the essay, which was a major part of the application process, was “My Canada and its greatest contribution to the global community.” I think that education policies, open door policies and peacekeeping are Canada’s greatest contributions to the world. Therefore, I mentioned some of the things that we do here, at SMUS as a community, such as having service days and promoting Earth week. Also, our boarding community embraces our diversity and enhances our connectedness to each other and the world. We are educated to have a global vision so that we do not only know Canada’s culture, but we also get to know more about other unique cultures. As we have a large diverse population in Canada and have some understanding of different cultures, we have strong feelings of compassion and a willingness to help those people who are facing natural disasters and dangers in their homelands.
Travelling to Vancouver on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, I was full of excitement and nervousness. I knew there was nothing that I could do at that time but to enjoy one of the most special days in my life. It was not only my honor to talk to Trevor Linden, but also his speech reminded me of how important individual confidence is and this helps me to learn and gain experiences. I was grateful that Trevor Linden and all of the speakers emphasized the achievements of all the nominees. It made me feel that winning the prize was not as important as the extraordinary experience that I gained because I decided to apply for the award. I strongly encourage my peers to participate in the opportunities that SMUS offers and I would like to thank Ms. Murtland for accompanying me to Vancouver, as well as the support from my family, friends and boarding house.