Ballenas Secondary School student wins prestigious $100,000 scholarship

A Ballenas Secondary School student, bound for the University of Victoria, has been awarded a $100,000 scholarship.

My Huy Lim is the school’s fifth winner in nine years to be awarded the Schulich Leader Scholarship for students pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM).

Lim said she was excited and very honoured to learn of her successful nomination and for the recognition of her hard work.

Her family was just as excited.

“My mom was screaming and telling everyone,” said Lim. “My family was like, ‘don’t be sad if you don’t get it.’ So when I got it, they were like ‘whoa – what?’”

As per the organization’s website, up to 100 scholarships are awarded to high school graduates enrolling in STEM programs at one of their 20 partner universities across Canada.

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Of the 216 nominees from British Columbia, Lim was one of only 37 from Vancouver Island and the only nominee from Parksville.

“It’s kind of like a tradition now at Ballenas because we have gotten so many past winners,” said Lim.

The prestigious scholarship winner is currently working on a group project for her science research method class on a drone that monitors for methane gas and other air pollutants.

“Right now we’re just learning the process and workings, but because of COVID, we haven’t been able to actually have a drone to fly. We just got permission to learn how to fly a drone and actually put the sensors on because (COVID) regulations have lessened and we got the shots (vaccine).”

Another project Lim is involved with has a working group surveying Ballenas student responses to the school’s quarterly system enacted as a result of the COVID pandemic.

She is very appreciative of, and thankful for, the teachers that helped her obtain the scholarship.

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“Olivia Hill taught me since Grade 8, she was my rugby coach, my Model UN Club interact teacher and also for political studies. Carl Savage is my physics, astronomy, and science research method teacher. I obtained the award because of what I did in school, and they helped me with a lot of what I did.”

Born in Vietnam, Lim came to Canada in Grade 8 as an exchange student. Living with a host family in Parksville at 13 years old, she said it was very scary being in a different country and experienced a bit of culture shock at first.

“The first two years, it was hard. But then after that, I started joining clubs and stuff and it got easier.”

Lim said her older brother and sister were also exchange students, which is why she ultimately chose to move to Parksville.

In Grade 10, Lim obtained her permanent resident status, but much of her family, including her mother, still lives in Vietnam.

With her scholarship, Lim will be studying at UVic this fall to earn an undergraduate degree in engineering, after which she’ll pursue a master’s degree from a Canadian graduate school.

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