Parksville high school see 7th student win prestigious $120K scholarship

Parksville high school see 7th student win prestigious $120K scholarship

A Parksville student has won a prestigious Canadian scholarship in the field of science, tech, engineering and math.

It’s the seventh time a student from Ballenas Secondary School has won what’s billed as Canada’s most coveted scholarship. It covers tuition, lodging, textbooks and food for a four-year undergrad.

Behind the student’s success is Mr. Savage, as he’s known by students, who teaches a one-of-a-kind high school class in British Columbia.

It’s called Science Research Methods and it’s for those kids who want to reach the stars, not just figuratively, but literally.

“So that program allows them to develop those skills that they need in order to succeed in post-secondary, which is where most of the students end up going,” said Carl Savage.

You may recall when a group of Ballenas students’ science project was selected five years ago to grow alfalfa sprouts in the International Space Station.

Now, another remarkable feat.

This is Mahir Singh, one of Savage’s students who just got a call from the University of Calgary on Monday saying that he won a Schulich Leadership Scholarship worth an incredible $120,000.

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Ballenas Secondary student and Schulich Leadership Scholarship winner Mahir Singh is pictured. (CHEK News)

The teen is filled with gratitude.

“I’m just really grateful for the staff we have here. I can’t say it enough but they’ve really contributed to this big accomplishment, not just for me but the school as well,” said Singh.

Each high school in Canada can nominate one student for the scholarship, and just 1,500 get picked as potential nominees. From that pool, the universities pick just 100 students from across the country.

The stiff competition makes Making Mahir’s selection a remarkable achievement, but even more remarkable is just how many Ballenas students have won this scholarship.

“It’s very rare. It’s only about 10 per cent of the high schools in the country have gotten more than two Schulich leaders, and we’ve got seven,” said Savage, who’s a teacher all about math and probabilities.

As for Mahir’s latest win.

“Mahir’s very dedicated to his studies. He’s a very diligent student and he’s not afraid to put in the work,” said Savage.

The school’s former principal, now in the district administration, says Mr. Savage is a special teacher.

“He’s an astrophysicist,” said Rudy Terpstra with the Qualicum School District. “He does have connections with NASA, but he’s just super passionate about teaching kids and loves to teach physics.”

Savage started the board-authorized course, which runs all year. Since then, the Schulich Leadership awards for the Parksville school have continued to roll in.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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