Six Richmond students among Beedie Luminaries of 2020

Six Richmond students will be receiving the prestigious Beedie Luminaries scholarship, worth up to $40,000.

A total of 128 B.C. students received the scholarships to each pursue their post-secondary education at universities, colleges and trade schools.

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The six from Richmond are Mia-Isabelle Alvarez, Sumod Gautam, Joey Huang, Melody Weng, Aaran Poon and Carlos Parada Cruz.

This year, philanthropist Ryan Beedie increased the “Class of 2020” by 23 students due to the hardships caused by the pandemic.

The Beedie Luminaries are chosen for their resilience despite financial adversity.

 “We received an overwhelming number of great applications from deserving students and it was hard to narrow down our selection to the anticipated 105, knowing the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on families and employment opportunities for young people and their parents,” said Beedie.

“We wanted to extend our support to as many deserving students as possible…as we believe that personal and financial hardship should not stop talented British Columbians from pursuing higher education and realizing their full potential.”

In addition to financial adversity, the recipients demonstrated resilience, grit, academic readiness, and the determination to succeed – with many sharing compelling personal stories of overcoming challenges.

Over 70 per cent of this year’s recipients live in rental or social housing, 48 per cent come from single-parent or foster families, and 26 per cent are first-generation post-secondary students in their family.

One of the Richmond recipients, Joey Huang, a Grade 12 student from Burnett secondary, told the Richmond News earlier this year how she plans on pursuing a career in technology at the executive level of an international corporation.

Huang, who chaired the Richmond Student District Council Organization (RSDCO), said her mother “left everything that was familiar to her and took care of me by herself” when immigrating to Canada.

While in Grade 7, Huang’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, which brought with it more financial hardships and social barriers.

“Luckily, she is doing well now. Because of this, I was very independent at a young age, seeking opportunities for myself with an indomitable spirit akin to my mother,” added Huang.

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