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Royal Bay valedictorian putting bright lights on hold for biochemistry

William Shaw plans to hit the books and volleyballs this fall
William Shaw, one of the valedictorians from the graduating class at Royal Bay Secondary, will attend the University of Victoria in September. (Photo contributed by William Shaw)

William Shaw really didn’t see it coming at all.

“To be honest, I thought someone else would be selected as valedictorian,” explained Shaw, a 17-year-old member of the graduating class at Royal Bay Secondary School. “I remember the day I found out when the vice-principal came into my math class and asked me to step out of the room. It came as quite a surprise and I was quite shocked.”

Shaw will head to the University of Victoria in September to pursue studies in his passion, biochemistry. He will be assisted by a couple of accolades he earned along the way, including the District Authority Scholarship for Fine Arts and a $3,000 scholarship from UVic.

“That will help with the cost of tuition and books,” he noted. “I’m really looking forward to starting in the fall, biology and chemistry are right up my alley.”

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Shaw is quick to extend his gratitude to a couple of teachers and his parents for his success at Royal Bay.

His English teacher, Sara Checkley, was a “huge positive influence,” he said. “Without her, I wouldn’t have reached this position. I only had Mr. Sadler (Steve) for a couple of classes throughout high school, but he’s been a huge support and helped make me the person I am today. My parents have been a real inspiration as well.”

Shaw will miss the time he spent at Royal Bay in the past handling lighting duties for theatre productions, assemblies and school festivals.

“There was a lot less of that this year because of COVID, which was unfortunate,” he said. “But it was still a great experience. That’s an interest I’d like to keep exploring, but for now, I’m totally focused on biochemistry.”

Fortunately, Shaw has volleyball to keep him occupied when he’s not hitting the books.

“I just picked it up this year and I’m really into it,” he said with no shortage of enthusiasm. “It’s become one of my favourite pastimes, a great release from the pressures of school and studies.”


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About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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