Ballenas Secondary student wins $100,000 national scholarship award

Photo submitted by My Huy Lim.
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A Ballenas Secondary School student is the school’s fifth student to win the prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarship for academic excellence, leadership, charisma and creativity.

Each year about 100 scholarships are awarded out of 1,500 nominees from the 300,000 student candidates. 

My Huy Lim said when she was told she won the $100,000 prize she felt honoured her hard work was being recognized. She is the fifth student from Ballenas Secondary to win the award in nine years.

“I was super stunned. I didn’t think I would get it because it’s such a huge award and a lot of the people at my school who got it previous years were amazing students at my school who I always looked up to,” she said. 

The scholarships are given out for students hoping to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), according to the organization’s website. 

Lim is working with other students on a project this year to build a drone for testing air quality, looking particularly at methane gas levels. She is also involved in a survey analyzing what Ballenas students think about the quarterly system brought in as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In grade 10 she worked with others on a project to find a plant that could survive in zero gravity.

Lim said she plans to study engineering at the University of Victoria in the fall. She said she thinks she was given the scholarship because of her grades, volunteer work and several science projects she has completed in the past few years.

“My mom was so happy, she was screaming when I told her. She told nearly everyone in my family,” said Lim, whose family is in Vietnam.

She said she has had a lot of help from her teachers, including Carl Savage, who teaches science.

“You can imagine what a life changing event this would be. Imagine heading off to university and knowing that you don’t have to work part time — that you can focus on your studies,” Savage said.

Lim is the fifth student from Ballenas Secondary to win the scholarship since its creation in 2012. A student from the school has won in 2012, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021.

“I think we at Ballenas have a lot of programs that we offer that allow students to explore their strengths and weaknesses and then focus on those strengths to build them,” said Savage.

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