Govind Deol has made L.A. Matheson history.
Govind, a Grade 12 student, is the first student at the school to be a recipient of the Loran Award. And the fifth in the Surrey school district since the award’s inception in 1988.
“There’s a lot of positive things that happen at L.A. Matheson, but only the negative is looked at. In terms of me having the chance to represent my school and having the chance to represent my community and show that positive things happen as well, I think that’s really valuable to me,” said Govind, who is one of 36 recipients throughout Canada.
Govind said he plans to use the scholarship money to go into sciences and then medical school to become a physician.
Initially, he had three post-secondary institutions he was planning to go to, but it has since increased to five.
“It’s not a decision that I want to rush,” he said.
Govind had to go through regional and national interviews as a finalist, and just a day before his national interviews in Toronto, he told the Now-Leader that the process had allowed him to “recap” his experiences and how he got involved in his community, which started in Grade 10.
Govind said that year he started a basketball program at his former elementary school. Since then, Govind said he volunteered with his high school’s Camp Next, Surrey Crime Prevention Society, Kinsmen Lodge and the Sikhi Awareness Foundation.
Asked what his biggest takeaway from the process was, Govind said the Loran Award is “really unique” because it doesn’t just look at “who has the strongest resume, they’re more looking at service, character and leadership and who’s the better fit for them in terms of their program.
“I think it’s more about who you are as a person, what you believe in, what your philosophy for life is and if you’re able to just be yourself when you’re taking part in interviews… I think that’s what they’re looking for and, that’s what we should do when we’re presenting ourselves as human beings, just be yourself in every scenario because that’s going to have the best outcome in the future.”
Peter Johnston, L.A. Matheson’s principal, said the award is not only a credit to Govind, but the teachers at L.A. Matheson and all the support systems within the Surrey school district as well.
The school hosted an assembly for Govind that included a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who presented Govind with a certificate, Johnston said.
Johnston said Devinder Deol, Govind’s Law 12 teacher, worked with Govind to find out more information about the process and to help prepare him for the interviews. Deol, who also co-ordinates the external scholarships for the high school, said the award is a recognition of the “tremendous amount of work” that Govind, his friends and family and teachers “have put into creating such a remarkable young man.”
“I think what really sets Govind apart is he’s really committed and genuine with everything he does. Govind went through six interviews, one-on-one in panel in Toronto, so it’s my feeling that they could see his commitment and his passion and drive for his volunteer work and his academic pursuits.”
The Loran Award is valued up to $100,000 over four years for undergraduate studies in Canada. It includes annual stipends, tuition waivers from a partner university, mentorship, summer internship funding and annual retreats and forums.