Vivian Le is one of two local recipients of a Beedie Luminaries scholarship.

Vivian Le is one of two local recipients of a Beedie Luminaries scholarship.

Chilliwack students overcome adversity to win Beedie Luminaries scholarships

Sardis secondary’s Vivian Le and G.W. Graham’s Alisa Gusakova are among 112 students receiving money

Two Chilliwack high school students are receiving scholarships from Beedie Luminaries.

Sardis secondary’s Vivian Le and G.W. Graham’s Alisa Gusakova are among 112 Grade 12 students sharing in a $5.1 million scholarship fund. Each will receive up to $40,000 in funding as they pursue post-secondary education at a university, college or trade school of their choice in B.C.

According to a news release, Beedie Luminaries are students “who have not only demonstrated strong academic readiness, but who are also engaged in the world around them and have taken on life challenges and adversity with determination and optimism.”

Le checks all of the boxes. She is super sharp academically – her lowest grade this year was a 96 per cent in chemistry – and it is economic adversity that she has fought hard to overcome. Raised in a single family home by a loving and hard-working mother, Michelle, Le never thought she was ‘going without.’

But being able to go to the university of her choice was never a given.

Until she got a phone call from the Beedie Foundation, Le was anxious, thinking that no matter how hard she worked and how great her grades were, she might not be able to fully pursue her dream of attending the University of British Columbia and pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree.

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“There was a lot (of anxiety), just not knowing if I had enough money to go (to UBC) or not,” Le said. “There was a lot of thinking about how I could save more money, and what sacrifices I could still make to make it happen.”

The Beedie Luminaries scholarship changes the equation for Le, and in the long run it may change the outcome for many people.

Le’s mom is from Vietnam, and the teenager has gone there many times because Michelle wanted her daughter to see how fortunate she is to live where she lives and have what she has. The lesson sunk in, and instilled in Le a desire to help those people.

“I want to go back to rural Vietnam on a volunteer trip and help build houses for them,” Le said. “And maybe, with my medical degree and knowledge, I could set up a little clinic. That’s kind of my plan, but of course I have to make enough money to help people without money first.”

Le said she will be working a lot, and you’ll see her manning the snack stand at Cultus Lake Waterpark this summer. Between that, the Beedie Luminaries scholarship and money her mom has been saving, Le will be off to a good start.

“It’s funny because when I got the phone call from the Beedie Foundation, he started with, ‘I really appreciate your effort,’” she said. “I was so sure it was a consolation call and my heart sank. When he said I’d been accepted, I didn’t scream or cry like a lot of people would. I was just speechless.

“I waited three weeks to tell mom on her birthday, and she did cry.”

Beedie Luminaries launched on November 13, 2018, with a $50-million donation from Ryan Beedie, which coincided with his 50th birthday. To date, the program has awarded 335 scholarships to students across the province.

For more info visit beedieluminaries.ca


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eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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