From left, Aaron Rodgers, Holly Baker, Tyler Krueger and John Platenius gathered outside Ucluelet’s Community Centre on Tuesday to celebrate Krueger’s Pacific Rim Foundation Scholarship. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Ucluelet local heads to Simon Fraser University with $40,000 Pacific Rim Foundation scholarship

“If I didn’t live here, I wouldn’t be able to know so many lively and caring people.”

Ucluelet’s Tyler Krueger received the West Coast’s highest scholastic honour on Tuesday.

The Pacific Rim Foundation’s $40,000 Dick Close Scholarship is awarded to one Ucluelet Secondary School student each year who has shown solid community engagement and an eagerness to make a difference in the world.

Krueger was announced as its ninth recipient during Ucluelet’s June 27 regular council meeting.

John Platenius of the Pacific Rim Foundation started his presentation to council by thanking the scholarship’s late benefactor, Dick Close, whose contribution had remained anonymous until he passed away last year and the scholarship was renamed in his honour.

“It was his inspiration and enthusiasm for supporting and encouraging a young scholar from our communities to pursue their dream and whose personal goals and public contributions were informed by a larger sense of community,” Platenius said. “Dick, by giving back in this most generous way, allows one of our own to also give back.”

He said this year’s roster of West Coast graduates presented a tough competition for the award and that West Coasters should be proud of the youth they’ve sent into the world.

“Each applicant has demonstrated that they seek to live a life of purpose and make a difference in the world,” he said. “Once again, we see the unconditional love and support that parents and our communities give to our children. 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.”

He said Krueger’s application rose to the top because of her “tremendous” leadership within the school, her volunteer efforts within her community, and her global efforts online to help promote fitness and healthy living.

“Tyler has shown, in her young life, her character and sense of purpose in a wide variety of jobs, personal interests and her selfless involvement in student government with the intention of making USS a better place for all students,” he said. “This all makes it abundantly clear that Tyler is responsible, motivated and unafraid to work hard…She sees the importance of being a lifelong learner with an open and keen mind while maintaining a generous and kind heart.”

Kreuger said she plans to attend Simon Fraser University in the fall and that her “heart stopped a little bit,” when she received the call from Pacific Rim Foundation president Gary Marks telling her she’d earned $40,000 to put towards her pursuit.

“It’s a huge honour,” she said. “I honestly never thought I’d be up here today due to the several other competitive and inspiring applicants.”

She said she’s excited to get started on her post-secondary career, but would remain committed to her hometown and continue to encourage healthy lifestyles.

“Whilst I find who I am, I hope to continue inspiring and motivating others to become the best possible versions of themselves through fitness and physical wellness through a social media platform and staying active in my community,” she said.

She thanked her coworkers, employers, teachers and friends and gave a special thanks to her parents.

“I would also like to thank both communities for encouraging local youth to get outside and enjoy what our towns have to offer. By taking part in beach cleanups and working with the Central Westcoast Forest Society and town events, I’ve been able to meet and interact with so many people with interests much like my own,” she said. “By working together in massive groups, we take something good and make it great.”

She also thanked Faye Missar, who had encouraged her to join the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s youth volunteer board and expressed love for the surroundings she grew up in.

“I’m a little biased, but I think we live in two of the most beautiful towns in the world. It’s not just the abundance of trees or the fresh ocean air, it’s the, ‘Hello’s’ from people we don’t even know on the side of the street and the people you’ve known since day-one that really make this place special,” she said.

“If I didn’t live here, I wouldn’t be able to know so many lively and caring people who have not only believed in me, but who have taught me to believe in myself. Without all their constant love and support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

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