A Salish Secondary student has won a Beedie Luminaries scholarship worth $40,000.
Grade-12 student Joon Sohn learned of the honour a few weeks ago.
“I feel very grateful,” Sohn said. “It’s beyond my imagination. It opened the door for me to attend UBC.”
He said UBC wasn’t an option for him because of the great distance from his home in Cloverdale and the cost. Now Sohn can stay on campus in a dorm.
“Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t be going.”
Sohn said he’ll study poli-sci as he pursues a bachelor of arts degree. Besides receiving $10k per year, the scholarship also comes with a guaranteed summer internship.
Sohn applied to both UBC and the Beedie Luminaries Scholarship Program earlier this year. He found out in March he was accepted into UBC, but he had to wait until the beginning of May before finding out he’d won the scholarship.
Sohn said Beedie Luminaries scholarships are open to B.C. students who wish to attend B.C. Universities. The applicants must also have overcome some adversity in their lives and must also have been active doing some type of community service.
“With my background with community service work with war veterans, such as the student group Hold High The Torch, the inaugural veterans’ lunch in 2019, and the veterans’ townhall we recently held with local politicians, I thought—on the community service side—I had a good chance at wining the scholarship.”
Sohn also said he’s overcome personal adversity he and his family faced as Korean immigrants.
“The motivation behind my community service goes back to my grandparents and the Korean War,” Sohn explained. “My grandma lived in an area where Canadian troops patrolled for about 1.5 years. The troops provided food, water, and medicine to the people of her village.”
Sohn said his grandparents taught him to have a deep respect and profound gratitude for Canadian veterans.
“My family is eternally grateful to Canadian soldiers that served in the Korean War, but also all veterans,” Sohn added. “They always taught me about history and shared their stories. They always said freedom isn’t free. It’s why they survived. It’s why the country is now prosperous.”
He said they instilled in him the duty, as both an individual and as a family, to help others in a “circle of generosity” throughout life.
“That’s why I want to give back. That’s why community service work has been focused around helping war veterans.”