Celebrating 2022’s top scholars
A.H.B. “Spoon” Wotherspoon Memorial Scholarship
The recipient of the A.H.B. “Spoon” Wotherspoon Memorial Scholarship for $1,000 is Emmalynn Pindera of Tumbler Ridge.
Pindera is graduating from Tumbler Ridge Secondary School and plans to pursue studies in commerce. With particular interest in economics and business, she says she may start her own business one day.
During her time at Tumbler Ridge Secondary, Pindera excelled across disciplines in academics and community, racking up awards including Honour Roll, Work Ethic Award, Top Social Studies Student, Top English/Social Studies Student, School Citizenship Award and Top Math and Science Student.
Outside the classroom, Pindera is active in her community, volunteering at the Tumbler Ridge Food Bank to help with distribution of hampers, and with the Grizzly Valley Saddle Club she helps train young riders in the basics of horsemanship. Pindera competes in both show jumping and dressage.
Her School Citizenship Award was received for her work on recycling collection at Tumbler Ridge Secondary. Pindera also held the position of 2022 graduation president.
Pindera is the granddaughter of Josephine Pindera, manager at HUB International in Tumbler Ridge.
Autoplan Brokers Legacy Scholarship
The recipient of the 2022 Autoplan Brokers Legacy Scholarship for $2,500 is Liza Jacob of Squamish. Jacob will graduate from Howe Sound Secondary School this June. There she has received multiple awards for her academic dedication, including a Science Award, Social Studies Award, English Award and being named to the Principal’s List for five years.
After high school, she plans to study biomedical physiology at either SFU or UBC. This program, she says, will help her acquire a better understanding of the human body and the biological world, aiding her entry to medical school. Jacob’s dream is to become a medical doctor and serve underrepresented areas such as the Yukon.
Jacob is passionate about her community, too. She’s volunteered with the Squamish Public Library’s Reading Buddies Program, Britannia Mine Museum, the Tutoring Club, Physics Olympics, Foundry Youth Advisory Committee, and the Squamish Food Bank. She also helped raise more than 300 pounds of food for the Squamish Food Bank, $1,900 for the Children’s Miracle Network, $850 for Red Cross, and $750 for the Breakfast Club.
Jacob is the daughter of Jacob Kurian, an insurance agent with Squamish Insurance Services, in Squamish.
Dennis MacNeill Memorial Scholarship
The 2022 recipient of the Dennis MacNeill Memorial Scholarship for $2500 is Reece Whitehead of Castlegar. Whitehead plans to attend Selkirk College where he will pursue a diploma in digital fabrication. He plans to develop and reproduce 3D models for the purpose of classic car remodelling, a passion he wants to pursue by starting his own business where he can practice digital fabrication while also mentoring youth to give them experience in the field.
Whitehead is active in his community, currently volunteering as a minor league lacrosse coach and at the local Firefighter Games. His family cooks Sunday breakfast at Robson Community Hall with funds raised going to local NGOs. Whitehead is also active with local Christmas hamper distribution and Adopt-a-Road initiatives. In terms of community service, however, his proudest accomplishment has been taking part in a humanitarian mission to Mexico to build homes.
Whitehead is also an athlete, active in rugby, curling, lacrosse, gymnastics, and hockey. A member of numerous teams, he has won hundreds of medals in lacrosse, gymnastics, snowboarding and curling. Juggling this array of athletics, Whitehead has perfected the art of balance, too, managing to spend hundreds of classroom hours tutoring younger students in metal and automotive technical practices.
Reece Whitehead is the grandson of Tina Marie Popoff, who is a broker with Kootenay Insurance Services.
Joe Stonehouse Mentorship Scholarship
The recipient of the inaugural Joe Stonehouse Mentorship Scholarship for $2,500 is Samuel Lukas of Coquitlam. Presented by Brody Stonehouse of AC&D Insurance, this scholarship is awarded to a student related to someone in the insurance industry who demonstrates the attributes Stonehouse was known for – mentoring, dedication, and diverse personal interests.
Lukas will graduate from Burnaby Mountain Secondary School in June. He has been an honour roll student and received the Work Ethic Award.
Academic success hasn’t prevented Lukas from being active in the community. He organized week-long events for Asian Heritage month and helped produce school-wide initiatives for Black History month. Engaged both in and out of school, Lukas has peer-tutored at school and works as a tutor with Kumon. He has been on student council, volunteered as a swim instructor with the City of Coquitlam, and has also been a member of the Badminton Club.
Lukas’s passion lies in computer science, however. Noting the growing influence of the tech industry, he intends to get a degree that will enable him to work as a software engineer. He says he hopes to develop a platform, service, or app that will help marginalized or persecuted people and wants to use explore innovative programming that could create more efficient solutions.
Lukas is the nephew of Melda Lukas, a claims examiner with BFL Canada Insurance Services in Vancouver.
John F. Hamilton Scholarship
The 2021 John F. Hamilton Scholarship for $3,500 has been awarded to Paisley Nelson of Queen Charlotte. Nelson will graduate from Gidgalang Kuuyas Naay Secondary School in June. She plans to attend the University of Northern B.C and has earned the UNBC Scholar’s Award. Nelson has excelled in academics having earned Top Academic, Excellence in Mathematics and English, Excellence in French, Computer Technology and Home Economics.
Influenced by her upbringing on the remarkable island of Haida Gwaii, Nelson plans to pursue a bachelor of arts in environmental and sustainability studies with the hope of protecting the environment. After this, she hopes to become an elementary school teacher and maintain her active lifestyle.
Nelson has shown remarkable community engagement, finding time to volunteer at the local SPCA, at the local Fall Fair and in the organization of the Terry Fox Run. She is also actively involved on student council. She has worked part-time at the Vancouver Island Regional Library, and as a Youth Stewardship Worker. She plays and coaches volleyball, where she received five all-star awards and was captain to her team.
Nelson is the daughter of Sheila West, manager, insurance, Haida Gwaii, at Northern Savings Insurance Services in Queen Charlotte.
John M. Toomer Scholarship
The recipient of the 2022 John M. Toomer Scholarship for $5,000 is Jasleen Saini of Richmond.
Saini attends Hugh Boyd Secondary School from which she will graduate this June. Her academic honours include the Principal’s Honour Roll of Distinction, English 11 Honours Award, and MYP Certification with Distinction. Balancing academics with extracurriculars, she has also been active in book club, student council, and the graduation committee. She has been accepted at University of Toronto, SFU, University of Victoria, and McGill in programs related to life sciences and health sciences.
Saini also demonstrates remarkable leadership. She received a Major Service Reward – First Responder (over 100 hours of service), a Leadership Award for Badminton, and an award for Top Incentive Student. As president of the Interact Club she has been active in assembling an executive team, took part in local shoreline clean-ups, and led fundraising efforts for children in South Africa. She also started the ‘Girls Up’ Club to maximize opportunities for girls in leadership roles.
Saini currently tutors with the Extended Learning Time Club and is busy establishing a Maternal and Child Health Endowment Initiative with the Richmond Rotary Club. This will help fund specific healthcare programs in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Saini is the daughter of Harpreet Saini, insurance advisor, at Harris Insurance Services in Richmond.
Renate Mueller Trailblazer Scholarship, Recognizing Future Women Trailblazers
The inaugural recipient of the Renata Mueller Trailblazer Scholarship, Recognizing Future Women Trailblazers, presented by Westland Insurance, is Brooke Zelinski of Maple Ridge. This is the first year awarding the Renate Mueller scholarship which is intended to go to a post-secondary school student who demonstrates a commitment to community service and a dedication to professional development. Applicants must also share how they plan to promote the advancement of gender equity and support for women in business.
Zelinski has attended Maple Ridge Secondary School, Douglas College and Thompson Rivers University and has received several honours including the Douglas College 50th Anniversary Entrance Scholarship, and the 2020 Girl Guide Scholarship. She received a Digital Arts Academy Certificate in 2020 and was a “Top Hat” Grade A student 2016 to 2020.
Zelinski will be attending her second year of the Thompson Rivers University Adventure Studies Program, a course of study inspired by a passion for the outdoors. After she completes this intense program, she plans to become certified through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides.
Zelinski has built an impressive leadership profile as an adult leader and camp leader with the Girl Guides. She has led week-long backpacking excursions and coached and mentored younger girls as a student aid in school. She received the Del Gardener Award for exceptional service and the Gold Trailblazer and Canada Cord Award for highest marks. Active in the broader community, she served at semi-annual church teas and served as a photo editor at their annual service event.
Brooke Zelinski is the daughter Karleen Zelinski, who is an insurance instructional designer and trainer with BCAA in Burnaby.
Vancouver Insurance Association Scholarship
The recipient of this year’s Vancouver Insurance Association Scholarship for $1,000 is Rachel Robertson of North Vancouver. Robertson attends Capilano University in North Vancouver where she is enrolled in a bachelor of legal studies program. She was a Dean’s List recipient in 2020 and 2021, and was also the 2022 recipient of McMillan LLP Scholarship and plans to apply to law school this fall.
Busily engaged in the community prior to the pandemic, Robertson volunteered at Parkgate Community Centre with their youth programming and for youth events and programs with Highlands United Church. She has also tutored students in a variety of subjects. Winter weekends find her on Mount Seymour or exploring other mountains in B.C.
Robertson has also been very active with Capilano University’s Legal Association, receiving the Top Prosecuting Attorney Award at the Dominion National College Cup. She was also part of winning team in Dominion National College Cup’s Mock Trial. When she completes her juris doctor degree, she plans to work in criminal law with hopes of positively impacting areas of domestic violence, organized crime, and the opioid crisis.
Robertson has worked as an insurance broker for one year with Central Agencies Insurance Brokers in North Vancouver.
The CAIB awards are awarded to licensees who receive the highest marks in CAIB courses completed in the previous calendar year.
The 2022 $1,000 Ken Underhill Award for the highest cumulative mark on all four CAIB exams completed in the prior calendar year is awarded to Simranjit Kaur Randhawa from the Link Insurance in Surrey.
Eric Howie, HUB International in Vancouver, was awarded the Santbir Minhas Award of $500 for the highest mark on the CAIB 1 exam in B.C.
The recipient of the $500 CAIB 2 Reliance Insurance Award is Maranda Schmidt from RHC Insurance in Castlegar.
The $500 Renate M. Mueller Consultants Recognition Award for the highest CAIB 3 mark in B.C. was awarded to Diane Uwamariya from BCAA in Vancouver.
For the highest CAIB 4 mark, the $750 Park Georgia Insurance Agencies Recognition Award recipient is Jaspreet Kaur Gill from Link Insurance in Surrey.