Canadian School Counsellor is proud to announce the difference-makers, nominated by their high school counsellors who are the two recent recipients of the Trevor H Shirtliff Difference-Maker Scholarships.
Counsellor: Carmen Meier
School: Surrey Christian School
City: Surrey, BC
Veronika has a very diverse academic record as she came to SCS from a distance learning (homeschool) program and as a fulltime student here, she has also maintained her online course involvement. This has resulted in a rich and diverse educational experience. Veronika is also the first student to take the initiative and add a college course to her transcript by applying last semester as a concurrent student to Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She took an intro political science class and finished as well with a solid A in the course.
In the two years that Veronika has been at our school, she has maintained a very high grade point average and is ranked at the top of her class. Her academic load consists of mostly arts and social science courses and she is keen to pursue either political science or psychology (or both!) at a post-secondary school in Canada. Veronika has achieved this academic success in spite of complex mental health complications including vision loss. Veronika has shared often about her struggles in an effort to encourage others to accomplish their goals as well.
What is particularly remarkable about Veronika is her extracurricular involvement for the City of Surrey. She is the most community minded student that I have advised and continues to involve herself in all kinds of leadership opportunities both on and off campus. She has vast experience with the youth leadership programing as well as 4H initiatives. As well, she is doing all that she can to be involved in service opportunities as a leadership student and on grad council.
Counsellor: Darleen Kifiak
School: Walnut Grove Secondary
City: Langley, BC
It is with great pleasure and pride that I nominate Megan Whynott for the “Trevor H. Shirtliff Difference Maker” Scholarship. Megan has made as significant impact on both our school and on our school district. For the past four years, Megan has been the president of our school’s Pride/GLA club. She has been a strong leader in this club, advocating for the emotional and physical needs of our LGBTQ+ community. She has hosted weekly meetings to provide a safe place for all students, she organized week-long Pride events, she has advocated for a progressive alliance culture in our school, and she has spoken at staff meetings to education staff on ways to make their classrooms safe and and inclusive. On a school level, Megan was a key part of the student team who encouraged our administration of the need for safe, gender neutral washrooms for students.
As word of Megan’s impact on our school became known, our district administrators looked to her for guidance on making all schools in Langley safe and welcoming for LGBTQ+ students. She has given workshops to elementary and secondary school in Langley and in the Greater Vancouver Regional Area on ways to ensure that all youth are safe and welcome in our classrooms.
All of this Megan has accomplished while battling her own mental health issues. She is open about the depression and anxiety she has suffered. She shares her story about this with others in an effort to destigmatize mental health concerns with youth. There are few students in Langley, in BC and in Canada who have had such a strong, direct and lasting impact on a school and district as Megan Whynott have.
Megan is planning to attend university to become a high school teacher. The fact that her impact on schools could continue in the future makes me so proud and gives me so much hope for the future of BC schools.
Megan has accomplished all of these things while being a strong academic student. She has a GPA of over 95% and she is enrolled in Advanced Placement classes; she is also a French Immersion student. Outside of school, Megan is a commmitted soccer player and coach: she understands the importance of physical health to mental health.