Pender Island Grade 12 student Matthew Hinton is on his way to the University of Victoria in the fall, with a big boost: a scholarship that will provide up to $44,000 towards tuition and related expenses.
Established in 2018, the Beedie Luminaries Grade 12 scholarship program is awarded to students who demonstrate strong academic potential and determination but face financial barriers to attending post-secondary; Hinton said such barriers were “not hard to find” on the Gulf Islands and was grateful to have been selected.
“They want to focus on helping students who can excel in university, in post-secondary studies, but who don’t have the financing for it,” said Hinton. “For me, it’s going to be really helpful, allowing me to explore my interests in music and physics, and really fly in university and not have to worry about working to pay for my schooling.”
But funding is only part of the award; the scholarship also grants access to mentors, student coaches, paid internships and ongoing support from the Beedie Luminaries community, according to the foundation. Hinton said he is looking forward to exploring the support network, including a community of students — and former students — who have received the scholarship, ready to offer guidance and advice.
“I’ve just started to see what the scholarship has to offer,” said Hinton. “But it does seem like it really sets students up for success.”
In total, Beedie Luminaries is awarding $6.9 million in scholarships, delivered as $11,000 per year, to 116 Grade 12 students, 10 refugee and immigrant students and 20 single parents in B.C. Hinton, the only recipient in the Gulf Islands, said while he had often been elsewhere for education — most recently attending Victoria’s Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry — he was always happy to get back to his island.
“My family moved to Pender when I was born,” said Hinton, “and my dad built our house here.”
Hinton said his ties to the community have only strengthened over time, most recently through live music performances — islanders will find him playing at Pender’s Community Hall on several Fridays this summer — and through the island’s sailing club.
“Right now I’m the only sailing instructor at our club that’s from Pender Island,” laughed Hinton. “Half my waking time this summer is going to be spent teaching sailing students.”
Hinton’s advice for his younger peers is simple: follow your dreams.
“I really believe that if you love what you do — for me it was sailing, math and music for about as long as I can remember — you’ll benefit a lot from pursuing it,” said Hinton. “It makes it all worthwhile — the education, the working through everything, to get to the point where you can follow your own interests at university.”
For more information about the Beedie Luminaries program visit beedieluminaries.ca.