Monday was awards day at Oak Bay High as staff navigated crowd limitations with creativity and innovation.
In the morning, a caravan of Oak Bay High teachers and alumni delivered the annual sports awards to 11 students using a bullhorn, costumes and confetti. Then in the afternoon the school cafeteria was staged for the awards ceremony with only a few teachers and staff members and for up to two visiting families at a time.
It was there that the Nils Jensen Memorial Scholarship was awarded for the first time, going to Angela Wang, “a very deserving and inspiring young lady,” said Jean Thomson, who was married to Jensen. The former mayor died in April 7, 2019 after a short bout with cancer.
Wang is headed to McGill University to study bio-engineering.
“She’s a very deserving and very hard-working, and inspiring young lady,” Thomson said. “She’s done a lot of important and inspiring volunteer work as a high school student and is dedicated academically.”
Wang was part of several volunteer groups, Youth Against Cancer and Cops for Cancer at Oak Bay High. She also started and ran Active Inclusion, a sports group for youth with disabilities that Wang began last summer. There is a club at Willows elementary and a few in Vancouver though they are on hiatus.
“It’s very exciting and very nice to meet Jean, I’m very honoured and excited,” Wang said.
As the school year winds down in the final week, Oak Bay High found many innovative way to celebrate retiring teachers, the retiring principal and graduating seniors.
“We are incredibly grateful for the support of the community in donating money to these awards,” said teacher Scott Alexander, who oversees scholarships at the school. “It’s important that we were able to make the awards meaningful despite the limitations [on gatherings].”
Annabelle Fieltsch and Tessa Brown Jones won the Oak Bay Four Pillars of Excellence Award, sponsored by the Oak Bay Firefighters Charitable Foundation.
Ethan Spratt won the Merit Cup. Olivia Noone was awarded the Ken Gill Memorial Award by the late firefighter’s wife Marie, and Noone also won the Elliott Eurchuk Memorial scholarship.
Mara Pappas won the Oak Bay Police Association Bursary, which was awarded by Const. Natalie Mishrigi and Sgt. Sheri Lucas of the Oak Bay Police.
Pappas is headed to the University of Victoria to study business this fall. Pappas also won the Oak Bay Humanitarian award and the tenor sax player was named one of two recipients of the Oak Bay Band Senior Citizenship award with Megan Foster (who plays clarinet).
“It’s very exciting and a big honour,” Pappas said.
Brown Jones is also going to UVic to study social sciences. Her award was presented by Oak Bay firefighter and charitable association executive director Trent Frenkel.
“It’s amazing to have the support of your teachers for this [Four Pillars] award,” Brown Jones said.
Anna Friesen, Abby McCluskey and Orla Scott were named the winners of the Difference Maker award. Chris Tang won the Bay High School Alumni Association award.