St. Andrew’s grad honoured with Town of Aurora John West Memorial Scholarship
A recent St. Andrew’s College grad is one of this year’s John West Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship recipients.
Presented by the Town of Aurora each year to up to two students and funded by a bequest to the Town of Aurora for this purpose by the late mayor, John West, the Leaders of Tomorrow scholarships recognize the achievements of senior students attending high school in Aurora and who are moving on to post-secondary education at either university or college.
This year’s recipients are Michael Chen ’22 of St. Andrew’s, and Katherine Viney of Aurora High School. Michael is no stranger to the Town of Aurora, serving as co-chair of the town’s Youth Engagement Committee, but his contributions certainly don’t end there.
“Recently graduated from St. Andrew’s College [he] maintained a 98 per cent academic average and scored in the 99th percentile for his SATS,” said Nichole Campsall, coordinator of youth and community development for the Town.
“In the fall, he will be attending the University of Pennsylvania, where he will begin in the Huntsman Program for International Studies in Business. Michael is a positive presence in our community and has dedicated numerous volunteer hours in a variety of forms, such as starting Peer Mentors Aurora in 2020, a volunteer organization that pairs high school students with younger age children to help increase engagement and morale during the pandemic lockdown.”
Michael is currently the co-chair of the Town of Aurora’s youth engagement committee and has assisted with planting trees for the Aurora Arboretum. “He demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities and a commitment to making a difference in the lives of his fellow Aurora residents. He is grateful and honoured to receive this scholarship award and is so thankful for everyone who has helped him along the way growing up and living in Aurora,” Campsall said.
Following a presentation on July 19, Michael and Katherine joined Mayor Tom Mrakas and councillors Sandra Humfryes, Michael Thompson, Rachel Gilliland, John Gallo, and Harold Kim in the centre of the council chamber to receive their awards.
“Congratulations on behalf of the council and the town,” said Mrakas. “We know you’re going to do the town proud in your future academic careers.”
Following the presentation, Michael shared his excitement not just for the award but for what lies ahead. “I am super honoured and grateful to receive this award. It was a huge surprise when I got the email, and I’d like to thank the selection committee for the time they put into reading applications,” said Michael.
“I’m pursuing a dual degree at the University of Pennsylvania in business and international relations. I’ve been debating for a long time, and that naturally led me to do a lot of reading on politics and economics. I’m hoping to use my learned knowledge to help better society in any way I can, whether it’s in politics, business, or something else.
“I loved my time with the Town of Aurora Youth Engagement Committee, and I’ll still be looking to run my peer mentorship program from another country! There are also some Special Olympics swim coaching opportunities in Philadelphia that I’m looking to pursue.”
Story by Brock Weir Editor, The Auroran Local Journalism Initiative Reporter