We are proud to recognize Burnaby School District’s 2016/17 recipients of the Governor General’s Academic Medal. The award is given to the graduate with the highest average at each of our secondary schools. These students’ impressive accomplishments were shared by their principals at a public meeting of the Burnaby Board of Education, and now, here.
Jade Yeung Alpha
Jade Yeung graduated from Ecole Alpha Secondary with a 94.38 GPA – a commendable achievement! She was awarded Work Ethic Distinction and Principal’s Honour Roll status every year of her high school career. She won a Burnaby Teachers’ Association Scholarship worth $750 on the basis of her academic performance and was the recipient of Simon Fraser University’s Dean’s Academic Excellence Award of $12,000.
In her senior years at Alpha, Jade focussed her studies in STEM related subjects: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and Calculus. She is currently studying Behavioural Neurosciences in the Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology Department at Simon Fraser University. Jade is working towards a career as a Behavioral Therapist to support children diagnosed with behavioral or neurological disorders.
A J Ligocki Burnaby Central
AJ Ligocki was an academic leader and so much more while at Burnaby Central. Unafraid to face challenges, AJ took Math Honours classes and participated in multiple math contests. But it was an immense passion for languages – specifically French, Spanish and Mandarin – where AJ particularly flourished. In fact, recognizing that mastering any language meant immersing oneself in their culture, AJ travelled both to Quebec and to Mexico to live in these environments. These rich experiences are what made AJ the perfect nominee for the Dogwood District Authority Award in Languages.
Upon graduating, AJ received three grade 12 top student awards – those of History, Spanish and Language and was also a gold cord recipient. The PAC “We Believe in You” Award was presented to AJ Ligocki, as well as more than $5,000 in University Scholarships.
It was not only academics that defined this student. AJ also played an active role supporting SOGI initiatives. In grades 9-12 AJ was a club leader in the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance group and in grades 11 and 12, AJ represented the voice of Burnaby Central as part of the School District’s LGBTQ Committee. Two key initiatives that were spearheaded by this Committee included the installation of Gender Neutral washrooms and the District’s first ever PRIDE dance. Additionally, AJ participated in the schools TRUST program, that helps students resolve issues and build positive, supporting, relationships.
AJ’s love of languages continues. Presently studying at SFU with a major in French, AJ wishes to one day be teaching social studies at a French Immersion Secondary School. Perhaps this path will lead AJ right back to our Burnaby Schools.
Cissy Yan Burnaby Mountain
Throughout her 5 years at Burnaby Mountain, Cissy Yan was a conscientious and hardworking student, balancing her heavy academic schedule with leadership activities and giving back to her community.
Cissy successfully completed seven AP courses in in her Grade 11 & 12 years, and took 19 Grade 12 level courses. Placing in the top 25% in multiple math contests, as well as being the top placing Burnaby Mountain student in the University of Toronto Biology contest and Thompson Rivers University Chemistry contest, Cissy was awarded the top Grade 12 student in science. Cissy completed her senior years with a 98% average.
Cissy was a section leader, singer, and accompanist for all three choirs at Burnaby Mountain. She also played flute in the Concert Band and Orchestra, and served on the BMSS Music Council. Ms. Gestrin, her choir teacher commented that: Her reliability, dedication, and work ethic were unparalleled. Outside of school, Cissy successfully auditioned for the BC Music Educator’s Honour Choir, as well as the British Columbia Youth Choir. As a music leadership student, Cissy developed skills and confidence to rehearse the Intermediate Band and conduct them in concert.
Cissy’s diverse interests include a love for animals. Cissy participated in a variety of animal related work experiences throughout her time at Burnaby Mountain, including an animal hospital and SPCA. Her passion for sciences, particularly biology and chemistry, combined with her love of animals, has led her to pursue a future career in veterinary medicine.
Currently a student at the University of British Columbia, Cissy is learning and expanding her knowledge as she works towards a degree in Applied Animal Biology.
Daniel Lu Burnaby North
Daniel Lu graduated from Burnaby North Secondary with a 99% GPA. He maintained this level of academic excellence while challenging himself as a participant in the AP Capstone Diploma Program.
While his outstanding academic standing set him apart at Burnaby North, he was also a very active member of the school community. In terms of extracurricular academic oriented pursuits, he was involved in the STEM Club, Coding Club and was a member of the Noble Tutor Club where he tutored students needing support in physics and chemistry. He was also the Visual & Performing Arts Representative on Student Government and a proud member of the award winning Burnaby North Vikings Marching band.
Daniel was also involved with a number of initiatives at the school that made a real difference in the community, including Christmas Cheer and Small Steps, a club that makes and serves food for the homeless twice a week. Very reliable and eager to help out wherever and whenever, he could often be found at the school until the late evening working on projects or fundraising efforts.
Daniel is presently studying Engineering at the University of Toronto. He plans to pursue a degree in electrical engineering, with a specialization in energy systems.
Paul Lin Burnaby South
While at Burnaby South, Paul Lin was an academic leader, achieving 100% in 10 of his grade 11 and 12 courses, with an overall average of 98.2%. He was also an academic winner, the top student in AP Calculus and AP Statistics, recipient of an AP Scholar with Distinction Award, and he led the school in both the American Mathematics Competition and the Canadian Senior Mathematics Contest.
Yet, Paul didn’t just receive outstanding marks and awards, he also generously shared his gift of mathematics. In both grade 11 and 12, he led the Senior Math Club, preparing senior students for the challenges of multiple math competitions. And as a collaboration mentor he enjoyed teaching and inspiring a love of math in the Grade 8 and 9 students he worked with. He even shared his math prowess with the community, where he volunteered for three years at the BC Math Challengers competition – a competition that he had also excelled at in grade 8 and 9.
In addition to his academic pursuits, Paul supported his school community as an active member of the “Rebels Reach for Cancer” team where he spent time and effort into raising awareness in the school community about cancer and healthy eating. He was also a member of Burnaby South’s Ultimate Frisbee team.
Paul is extremely grateful for all the support he received from his teachers, staff and the administrators of Burnaby South. He also appreciates the opportunity that the Honours/AP program provided him – a great preview of what the university experience would be like – plus advance credit toward these university courses. As a result, he’s been able to reduce his course load in his first year of university, and save a lot of money too. Perhaps it is exactly this forward thinking that led his grad class to vote him “most likely to become a billionaire?”
His grad write up precisely sums up Paul’s outlook on his bright journey ahead. It’s a quote by Sherlock Holmes, “Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons, with the greatest for the last.” Paul Lin’s series of lessons are presently taking place at UBC. He’s in the Faculty of Engineering.
Gurwinder Sidhu Byrne Creek
Gurwinder Sindu is a remarkable young man who has represented the school, the community and his family with pride and distinction. He graduated with 56 more credits than he needed, because his wide variety of interests inspired him to take classes as diverse as AP Biology and Physics, Geography, leadership, calculus peer tutoring, French, Law, First Aid and economics. He finished Grade 12 with a perfect 4.0 GPA, but since grade 10 has maintained an overall average of 97% over 33 different classes.
Amongst the many remarkable things about Gurwinder is the impact he left on school staff. Upon learning that he was the GG AMR, comments about him included “Best peer tutor ever”; He loves to learn and appreciates the challenges that come when you push yourself, A brilliant mind; One of the most exceptional students I have ever had the privilege of working with. And funny – he really appreciates humour;. A great young man. Incredibly smart and hard working.
Currently Gurwinder is a first year student at UBC in the faculty of science. His plan is to major in biochemistry and he will conduct research at UBC with the proceeds of his Tuum Est Experiential Award he won. Gurwinder aspires to attend Dental School after finishing undergraduate studies and then plans on traveling the world and collaborating with others in philanthropic efforts. Gurwinder is following in the footsteps of multiple Bulldog Governor General Award winners by combining academic excellence, leadership and service to both his community and the world around him. He is already well on his way to making a significant difference in the world.
Ashley Chana Cariboo Hill
Ashley Chana entirely encompasses the qualities of a Governor General Academic Medal recipient. A proud Cariboo Hill Charger she achieved academic excellence and was dedicated to extracurricular activities, leadership and sense of community mindedness.
In her final three years of high school, Ashley took a total of 26 full time courses, achieving an average of 96% in her top 13 courses, most of which were Advanced Placement and Honours courses. She showed up on the Honour Roll every term, which speaks to her exceptional work habits and dedication to academic success. And in her final year, she topped the Principals List too.
In addition to her academic accomplishments, Ashley demonstrated her strong interpersonal skills as a peer mentor, working with junior students in developing their academic abilities. She also participated in numerous clubs including the Youth Action Committee, Grad Council, and helped organize a number of epic Fine Arts nights. In the community, Ashley selflessly volunteered with a variety of organizations including the Burnaby Village Museum, Edmonds Community Centre, and the Vancouver International Children’s Festival. As a dedicated volunteer at the Burnaby Public Library, Ashley worked closely with children and adults building reading skills, organizing fundraising events and awareness campaigns. Ashley is also a member of Quantum Leap, an organization that helps organize conferences to promote science education and STEM technology and research. Her nurturing demeanour shines through in all that she does.
Ashley is currently enrolled at the UBC Sauder School of Business. She plans to pursue a career in Corporate Law.
Samuel Huang Moscrop
Samuel Huang is an exceptional student who not only excelled academically at Moscrop Secondary, but demonstrated exemplary citizenship and leadership in his school and in the community. Academically, Samuel achieved top marks in all subject areas from Grade 8 through Grade 12. He also challenged himself by enrolling in rigorous Honours and AP courses in both the sciences and humanities. His teachers have described him as exceptionally bright, hard-working, well-rounded and insightful. He has received numerous awards over the years, including Moscrop’s Scholastic Achievement Award and UBC’s Tuum Est Experiential Award.
What is perhaps most impressive about Samuel is his extra-curricular involvement and willingness to help others. His volunteer work with the Burnaby Hospice Society and at many children’s camps in Burnaby demonstrates his desire to help others. He also turned his passion for playing basketball into coaching younger players in the Burnaby Eagles Basketball Club, further demonstrating a desire to make a difference and give back to his community. In each of these capacities, Samuel has consistently demonstrated leadership, maturity and a strong sense of responsibility.
Samuel is a well-rounded, exceptional academic student who is at the same time an accomplished athlete, volunteer, mentor and student leader. At Moscrop, he was highly respected by peers, teachers and administrators alike, who all marvelled at his ability to balance his academic pursuits and his extra-curricular responsibilities. Now at the University of Toronto, Samuel is studying Computer Sciences and plans to pursue software development.