Ucluelet Secondary School’s largest and most prestigious scholarship isn’t about grades, it’s about making a difference.
The $40,000 Pacific Rim Foundation Scholarship will recognize its tenth recipient this year.
The annual scholarship was launched in 2009 and funded by Dick Close, whose identity as its benefactor remained anonymous until his death in 2016.
“He left, in his estate, enough funds for us to continue our work because that’s how important it was to him,” said Foundation president Gary Marks.
Marks said Close’s vision was to recognize a local student’s ability to make an impact.
“It was specifically focused, primarily, on a person whose story already includes a sense of purpose in life,” Marks said. “It wasn’t about the best grades. It was about how much commitment and involvement they have in their school, in their community and in the world.”
Marks said he will be presenting to USS students this Friday to encourage them to start working on becoming the type of difference-maker the Foundation is looking for. Students in all grades are invited to the meeting and a complete rundown of the scholarship’s criteria is available at www.pacificrimfoundation.org.
“Simply put, look beyond yourself. Look to where there’s need or where you see need, where you see somebody could use some help,…Get involved in the world,” Marks said. “We’re looking for people that aren’t solely focused on themselves. We want kids to participate in the world and think of others. It’s not necessarily the organized volunteer activities, it’s them showing initiative…It’s their desire to make the world a better place.”
He encourages parents and guardians to help students get engaged.
“Even if they aren’t the fortunate recipient, that’s going to make that human being a better human being because now they’re engaged in the world. Once you start thinking beyond yourself…I can tell you, the world’s a better place and you’re a better person for it,” he said. “If you help a child see beyond themselves, you’re helping that child and you’re helping the world.”