Every year, 55 well-rounded B.C. high school graduates get recognition from the province through a BC Excellence Scholarship worth $5,000 for their post-secondary education. The winners are chosen for having demonstrated service and leadership, both at school and in their communities, and for having shown aptitude and commitment to their chosen career paths. Rebecca Hartley, a grade 12 student at Oak Bay High, was thrilled to find out she was a recipient for 2018.
“I got an email when I was in class letting me know I got it. I was in shock and disbelief,” said Hartley. “I gave my teacher a high-five.”
Looking at Hartley’s involvement in both school and community activities, it is not hard to see why she was chosen.
Hartley maintains top grades including in her favorite subject, history – the area she will pursue at UVic in the fall.
“I originally thought I’d go into biology but then I thought about what really sparks my interest and what really gets me going. And it’s history books that I read, it is National Geographic history magazines and watching history documentaries. I wasn’t watching biology documentaries. So I thought I should study what I’m most interested in,” said Hartley.
“Rebecca is such an engaged student whose enthusiasm for learning and for ideas is very infectious. In class, she is what I would call an idea leader, in that she carefully considers questions and ideas to a level that take our discussions to a very interactive and insightful point,” said history teacher Scott Alexander. “She is bright and thoughtful. She is fun and has a great sense of humour. She is also an unassuming person in that she is confident in who she is and allows others to be themselves.”
Hartley also finds time to dedicate herself to her love of music, playing tuba in the orchestra and marching band, assisting band teacher Jeff Weaver, and helping to digitize the bands collection of music. She was the principal director for categorizing all the music into genres and play-ability levels and organizing them so the band can find them later and play them.
“Band has been a huge part of my life in high school,” said Hartley. “The whole band program I feel has done a lot for me. I’m really going to miss it.”
Weaver nominated Hartley for a YES Award in 2016 which she won.
The YES awards emphasize the positive achievements of Oak Bay’s young people by recognizing those who have distinguished themselves in such areas as volunteerism, arts, citizenship, academics, athletics or who have overcome obstacles to achieve their goals.
On top of classes and band Hartley has managed to also take part in the debate club and building sets for the musical with stage craft.
Outside of school, Hartley volunteers at Greater Victoria Public Library as part of the GVPL Teen Council. For three years she has helped to run events around the city like the children’s fair, Friends of the Library book sales, and free comic day.
Prior to joining the teen council, she wrote and submitted some writing to the teen writing contest it hosts annually and won both times. Once she joined the council, she became a judge.
She also volunteers at the Royal BC Museum.
“I work in the herbarium there every Friday and I get to hang out with some really cool people, organizing botany specimens and helping with the botany digitization project,” said Hartley. “It has been so cool to see behind the scenes and that is what inspired me to pursue a career in history, and maybe as a curator in a museum.“
Harley is looking forward to the “buffet” of classes at UVic.