A Nechako Valley Secondary (NVSS) graduate will be continuing to transform adversity into opportunity as she pursues post-secondary studies at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).
Megan O’Bee has been awarded a Beedie Luminaries scholarship of up to $40,000.
According to a news release, this is the third year the Beedie Luminaries program has sought out students who have demonstrated strong academic readiness, and are also engaged in the world around them and have taken on life challenges with determination and optimism.
“I grew up with a single parent,” O’Bee told Black Press Media. “I grew up with just my mom, and she worked two jobs. She was always providing for us, and I had to grow up at a younger age and become independent.”
O’Bee’s mother has been one of her biggest supporters and was on hand to cheer her on at Riverside Park, where NVSS grads gathered for photographs on Friday, June 11.
O’Bee remembers being bullied in elementary school and said many people did not understand why she had dressed the way she did or the things one had to do to survive being from a lower-income family.
“Going through high school was definitely something I needed to grow because in a smaller town, there’s more opportunities and advantages that you don’t get in a larger community, and I think that being in a smaller community gave me so many more chances to find more opportunities to further myself to grow and participate in extracurricular.”
O’Bee was also a Student Voice representative.
The students advocating for students group would collaborate with School District 91 on policies and academic goals and more.
“I felt very in touch and connected and knowing what was going on in our school district, and felt like that I had another group of support that I could always ask for help and that gave me a lot of chances to develop with public speaking,” O’Bee said.
Beedie Luminaries founder Ryan Beedie said over the past three years they have been blown away by the students who they have met through their program and can’t wait to see the impact that they will make in the world.
The B.C. developer and philanthropist’s program has awarded $5.1 million in scholarships this year to 112 grade 12 students across the province, as well as 15 single parents looking to pursue further education.
O’Bee will attend UNBC in Prince George, where she plans to major in psychology and become a clinical psychologist.
She also hopes to one day open a non-profit organization supporting women in leadership.
“I had definitely struggled with my mental health and wanted to give up, but when I felt like that, I remembered why I started and what comes out after challenge as what’s meant for you will not pass you by,” she said.
“At the end of the day, the only person you have is yourself, so you need to do things for yourself. Other’s opinions don’t matter, and challenges are going to come, but you will always overcome them, and you need to experience the hard to appreciate the good.”