SURREY â€” Six Surrey firefighters were already on hand when the fire alarm rang at 10 a.m. in Ms. Mariche’s Grade 12 classroom.
They had arrived at Enver Creek Secondary School on Tuesday morning without much fanfare – no lights or sirens, just a blank envelope in hand as they walked into the school.
The alarm, which was part of a routine drill, was not meant to accompany their announcement that Indu Mangat, 18, had been chosen to receive a $3,000 scholarship, but the coincidence was well timed.
Her classmates applauded over the sound of the fire alarm as Mangat, who was not aware she would be receiving the honour, stood to receive her award.
After the presentation and making her way outside to join the rest of her school in the fire drill, the soft-spoken student posed for a photo and thanked the firemen.
"I feel really privileged that out of all the applicants I got chosen. I feel very honoured," said Mangat, who plans to study sciences at UBC and wants to work in developing countries.
Mangat says she never thought she would be the one to win the award, but those around her feel the award confirmed what they already knew.
Enver Creek Secondary’s principal Tim Cross said the award couldn’t have gone to a more worthy student. "There’s lots of deserving kids, so you would like everyone to win an award, but Indu is one of the kids who has done outstanding work with our school, with blood drives and a variety of other things," Cross said.
Mangat was among five Grade 12 students across the Surrey school district presented with the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society’s Ignite a Dream Educational Award, each worth $3,000.
In its first year, the scholarship was created to recognize students who have overcome challenges and are now helping their community. In total, Surrey firefighters distributed $15,000 in awards on Tuesday.
Other recipients of the award include Leeza Robertson of Semiahmoo Secondary, Mary Teklu of Johnston Heights Secondary, Sukhi Dhindsa of L.A. Matheson Secondary and Theresa Tabert of City Central Learning Centre.
The selected students all came out of challenging experiences and have chosen to give back, said Kevin Coplin, a Surrey firefighter and one of the organizers of the award.
"Judging by their applications, all of them are tremendously resilient and highly academic kids," Coplin said. "The top five we selected, we are confident they are pretty much some of Surrey’s most resilient kids."
For Mangat, who is described by her principal as being involved in "everything," the scholarship will help her to continue her education and give back to her community and family. "Everything I want to ultimately do is for my family," she said. "I want to thank my parents, who have always been there and were the ones who helped me out with the application."