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2 Langley students make finalists in Canada-wide awards

Students across the country recognized for leadership, volunteer efforts in Loran scholarships

From a pool of more than 5,200 applicants, only 90 young people were selected as finalists in the 2024 Loran scholarships – and two are from Langley.

Each year, the Loran Scholars Foundation awards students who show a breadth of interests, commitment to community service, leadership, and drive to work towards long-term goals, reads its website.

Parker Zhang, Grade 12 student from Walnut Grove Secondary, remembers the day vividly when he got the call.

“I took a calculus test that day, and it was so hard. I came home, took a shower, and realized I missed a call from one of my interviewers,” he shared.

He immediately called back, and the interviewer praised Zhang’s work and progress so far.

“She made sure that you felt really proud of how far you’ve come already, regardless of what the results was,” Zhang recalled.

But then, she told him his journey hasn’t ended – he was a finalist.

“My first words were ‘oh my god’ and I just said thank you many times,” he laughed.

His parents were making dinner, and knew something was up when Zhang walked into the kitchen with a huge grin.

“They were really happy for me and gave me a hug,” he said.

Zhang’s community work started at his school, where he joined the student council in Grade 8 as a grade representative before becoming secretary this year, in which he has organized annual food drives.

“One of the biggest reasons for me, personally, was when I was growing up my parents and I were in a low-income household. They worked really hard to put food on the table, and when I saw other people during the pandemic and more people relying on food banks, I felt that I needed to do something,” he shared.

He is also the editor in chief of the student paper, and has been actively involved in running.

A highlight for him was running on Royal Roads field in Victoria when he was in Grade 11.

Zhang is planning to attend the University of Toronto to pursue a double-major in political science and economics, to eventually land him into a human rights lawyer career.

“Before I get into law, I want to make sure I have a great understanding of both political science and economics in Canada,” he said.

Zhang thanked his teachers, Ms. Hendersen and Ms. Gabriel, and the WGSS administration for their support in getting him this far.

Fort Langley resident Caedmon Kovacs, who attends Clayton Heights Secondary, said it was an amazing experience to make it this far alongside incredible candidates.

Kovacs, a Grade 12 student, has been involved in various club’s at his school for years, including the gaming club, philosophy club, and gardening club.

Notably, he is an executive in Project Equal, which runs food drives, volunteers at the community kitchens, picks up litter in the area, hosts dinners for seniors, and many other events.

He founded the philosophy club to help students work through real-life situations with philosophy.

Kovacs is largely involved with the Waceya Métis Society, currently serving as the youth representative.

“I have loved growing a deeper connection to my Métis heritage… I have learned so much about my Métis heritage and its history, and gained knowledge from the Elders present,” he shared.

In the society, he has helped host dinners, ceremonies, events, and other duties.

Kovacs has also played basketball since his Grade 8 year until now, only dropping out due to his busy schedule. However, he is looking to be the captain of the rugby team this year for the senior boys.

After high school, his dream is to attend the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, and pursue a bachelor in commerce with a specialization in accounting.

He hopes to run his own business one day full-time, after running one previously for two years.

“I found a love for problem solving, planning, and dealing with finances and people. However, I want to move to a different business model, and the knowledge at UBC Sauder I know can accelerate my growth,” Kovacs said.

Each finalist received a $6,000 scholarship towards any Canadian university.

Of the 90 finalists, 36 will be selected to receive a Loran Award, which includes financial support in the form of a tuition waiver and annual stipend, as well as access to programs and one-on-one mentoring to further develop their skills and knowledge.

Those selected will find out later this month at the Loran’s National Interviews in Toronto Feb. 23 to 25.

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Kyler Emerson

About the Author: Kyler Emerson

I'm honoured to focus my career in the growing community of Aldergrove and work with our many local organizations.
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