Daniel Osborne has spun his dedication to his community into a life-changing opportunity.
Osborne is this year’s Pacific Rim Foundation West Coast Scholarship recipient, earning himself $40,000 to put towards his postsecondary pursuits.
The scholarship is the grand prize amongst the over $100,000 worth of scholarship and bursary money Ucluelet Secondary School awards to its grad class each year.
Osborne received a Lund Award, a CBT scholarship, the Scott Fraser MLA Social Justice Scholarship and a VIU Entrance Scholarship during the school’s graduation ceremony on June 14 and received word the following day that the grand prize was his as well.
“I was really excited when I got the phone call for sure because that’s the one that’s probably the most life-changing,” Osborne told the Westerly News.
The 18-year-old life-long West Coaster was announced as the scholarship’s recipient during last week’s Ucluelet council meeting.
Foundation president Gary Marks was unable to attend the meeting but spoke through a letter read by Foundation secretary Donna Fraser.
“The Foundation awards the student who has excelled with their involvement in their respective communities and their engagement in the world,” Marks wrote. “We celebrate their volunteerism and contributions to others and their determinate to make a difference in a world faced with great challenges.”
He noted this year’s strong field of applicants illustrated a solid base of youth and mentors on the Coast.
“Once again we see the unconditional love and support that parents, teachers and community give to our children,” the letter read. “These young adults are a reflection of us, and their hard work and earnest efforts are a tribute to the best in all of us.”
Osborne’s exemplary community involvement and global efforts set him apart from the pack, according to Marks.
“Daniel has demonstrated his character, reliability and sense of purpose and direction all in a mere 18 years,” Marks wrote. “His extensive long-standing commitments and involvement in various endeavors, both local and abroad, are commendable.”
Osborne said his West Coast upbringing instilled a natural inclination towards community service.
“From a very early age I knew that helping people is important and I received so much satisfaction from helping people and I know that they also very much appreciated it whether it was people from a developing nation or your neighbour,” he said.
During his high school career, Osborne has been involved with student council, the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust and demonstrated a keen interest in an organization called Free the Children.
He said Free the Children works with people in developing nations pursue clean water, education, healthcare, and alternative income sources.
With his well-deserved funding in hand, Osborne is on his way to Vancouver Island University (VIU) in Nanaimo with his sights set on science courses and an end goal of becoming a doctor, perhaps a family practitioner.
Osborne said his early interest in sciences was well nurtured and expanded by USS science teacher Wade Appenheimer.
“Mr. Appenheimer, and many people have said this before, really stirs up a lot of interest in you and the labs that he has you do are engaging and exciting so that definitely has prompted me to take science courses post-secondary,” Osborne said.
“A lot of people associate sciences with being kind of tough and boring for some so the fact he makes it so relatable to life and how you can do these experiments and labs in your backyard… It really makes it relatable and enjoyable.”
Appenheimer was stoked to see Osborne’s hard work rewarded.
“He’s a great kid and he deserves it 100 per cent,” Appenheimer said.
Osborne chose Nanaimo for its close proximity to his hometown and he plans to return to roots often.
Along with his educational pursuits, Osborne plans to participate in VIU’s student government.
“That’s something I experienced in high school so it would be cool to experience it in a different environment,” he said adding his interest in politics stems from his passion towards “making a change and helping people.”
“I’ll really be able to focus on my studies and not have to worry about the financial strain of university…I’m definitely grateful to have received this award,” he said. “It really allows me an opportunity that I may not have had and I’m just incredibly thankful to the Foundation and all those that have allowed me to receive this award.”
He was quick to give credit to his family.
“Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the ongoing support and for, I’m sure, many more years of ongoing support.”