Some young people reappear again and again in the spotlight, sharing their latest great invention, innovation or achievement.
Robert Lee is one of those kids you hear more about later, says Oak Bay High teacher Scott Alexander, who helped the Grade 12 student craft his scholarship applications.
“He is just so astute. He’s so determined, humble and thoughtful for a kid his age,” said Alexander. “When you sit beside him and watch him work on his laptop, his thoroughness, it’s like working with a professor or someone at the top of his game.”
An avid science and math guy, when Lee starts his engineering degree at the University of Victoria this fall, it will be with the prestigious $80,000 Schulich Leaders Scholarship spurring him on.
“I think the Schulich Leader Scholarship empowers youth to explore their passions and connect with other like-minded young leaders across Canada,” Lee said. “I’m excited for the tremendous support it will provide as I pursue my next level of education and community service.”
Launched in 2012, it’s a $100 million program that funds 50 undergraduate scholarships each year, across top Canadian universities.
Lee wrote a 600-word essay outlining how he would make a good Schulich leader as part of the application.
“A good leader is someone who is persistent, someone who is determined, encouraging, who inspires others and knows when to lead and when to follow,” he said.
Another significant aspect of the application is achievements and activities, an area Lee doesn’t lack, as numerous extra curricular activities round out his learning experience.
This year he took on a leading fundraiser role for Cops for Cancer at Oak Bay High; works on the City of Victoria youth council, tackling salient issues facing youth of the city; and served a junior counsellor at Science Venture camps at UVic, a camp he attended as a youngster. “I took a more senior role the second year,” he said.
He also ran the gamut of age groups, volunteering with a seniors and technology program at UVic. There he created teaching and press materials, recruited volunteers and seniors, delegated responsibilities and delivered workshops.
“The UVic Senior’s Program pairs young volunteers with seniors to teach computer skills,” he said. “Due to great demand, this successful program was expanded into two concurrent workshops.”
Lee was also part of the international water stewardship exchange in which we focused on our local Bowker Creek in preparation for the Water Is Life conference in Holland.
“We analyzed water samples and plant distribution in Holland’s saltwater marshes. I created our Bowker Creek fundraising and information websites, secured a grant, spearheaded a fundraiser, and compiled our school’s invasive species presentation.
“I also love challenges, so I was a year ahead in math and I also took a Uvic course last semester,” Lee said. “Challenges really foster room for growth. It’s satisfying to meet a challenge you’ve set for yourself.”
Seeing as he’s already attended UVIc for Science Venture as both a camper and a leader, in a classroom and teaching seniors, the local university appealed as his first choice school this fall. “UVic has a great learning environment and I’ve been on campus,” he said. “The facility is really conducive to learning and to allow students to pursue their passions.”