Una Chang, a grade 12 Walnut Grove student, earned a trip to Belgium and France through the Vimy Ridge Foundation. (Alexandru Stratulat/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Una Chang, a grade 12 Walnut Grove student, earned a trip to Belgium and France through the Vimy Ridge Foundation. (Alexandru Stratulat/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Langley student earns educational excursion to Belgium and France through Vimy Ridge Foundation

Una Chang said she’s still looking forward to the trip, despite COVID-19 postponing it by half a year

A Langley high school student, Una Chang, won the national Vimy Pilgrimage Award earlier this year — a fully funded educational program that takes place in Belgium and France during the week leading up to Vimy Ridge Day on April 9.

Out of hundreds of applicants from across the country, Chang, 17, was selected to participate in this Vimy Foundation program, which recognizes the actions of 20 young people aged 14 to 17 who demonstrate outstanding service, positive contributions, and leadership in their communities.

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Vimy Foundation has suspended its educational programs involving student travel to Europe for the immediate future.

“The trip is mostly visiting sites from the First World War and learning about Canada’s contributions,” Chang said, adding that she found out about the postponement right before spring break.

Chang said she is still excited for the trip, explaining that she applied on a whim and didn’t expect to win.

READ MORE: Anson Yu, an R.E. Mountain Secondary student in Langley, recognized as a Loran Scholar

As a member of the Langley Youth Advisory Committee, Chang represents Walnut Secondary School at city council.

The grade 12 student volunteers at Langley Memorial Hospital, at Langley Gardens seniors home, and as a member of the Fraser Valley Gleaners, preparing donated vegetables to make soup mixes.

Chang is also a workshop facilitator with the Red Cross teaching youth about bullying and self-awareness.

“The local rotary clubs have a saying ‘one who serves most profits most’ and I really believe that,” Chang told the Langley Advance Times. “There’s always something you can learn about yourself and it’s a way to meet new people, give back, and develop empathy.”

Chang said her interest in history is best summed up in the quote “If you don’t know history, you’re bound to repeat it.”

On April 9th, 1917, at Vimy Ridge, 100,000 Canadian soldiers gathered for the first time as a unified force.

To commemorate Vimy Ridge Day this year, The Vimy Foundation will be sharing tributes to Canadian military personnel created by the 2020 Vimy Pilgrimage Award recipients.

Applications are now open for the 2021 Vimy Pilgrimage Award with applications available at www.vimyfoundation.ca.

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Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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