Isabella Gonzalez Kaminski, who was recently accepted into the University of British Columbia, plans to study environmental sustainability. (Photo courtesy of Isabella Gonzalez Kaminski)

$5,000 scholarship awarded to Sidney student who has overcome adversity

Talented Isabella Gonzalez Kaminski wins Horatio Alger scholarship, seeks to contribute to society

Isabella Gonzalez Kaminski, a Grade 12 student from Sidney, has won a $5,000 scholarship from the Horatio Alger Association of Canada.

Horatio Alger scholarships are awarded to high school students in financial need who have “overcome significant adversity while demonstrating strength of character, strong academics, a commitment to pursuing higher education as well as a desire to contribute to society.”

Gonzalez was born in Mexico and now lives with her mother in Sidney. The family live apart from her father, who remains in Mexico financially supporting their extended family. As a result, Gonzalez only ever sees her father twice each year – for a week around her birthday when he comes to visit, and at Christmas, when she and her mother travel to Mexico.

“I’ve gotten more used to it but it’s hard, even now. With my achievements and doing well in my Grade 12 year, it is hard to be separated from someone you are so close to,” she says.

Gonzalez speaks with her father every day on the phone and says he is proud she will be the first person on the Mexican side of their family to go to university.

“He inspires me so much. From a young age he completely instilled in me: learn everything you can.”

Gonzalez is warm and energetic, she describes herself as “academically driven,” and decided to attend Claremont Secondary School as she thought a bigger school would present more of a personal challenge. She plays sports and also runs a number of clubs, including the Jeopardy club and one that welcomes new international students to the school.

ALSO READ: Vancouver Island First Nations Youth Ambassadors deliver message to the United Nations

Part of the reason Gonzalez was awarded the scholarship was because of her work in the community. Last year, while working as a barista, Gonzalez realized that the used coffee grounds went to the landfill. With the help of two school friends, she set up a program collecting Sidney coffeehouses’ used grounds and delivering them to farmers for use in fertilizer.

Gonzalez is grateful to her teachers and school counsellor for helping her apply for the scholarship, as she says the financial award will be helpful in assisting fund her post-secondary education.

It comes at the right time as Gonzalez was recently accepted to the University of British Columbia, where she will be studying environmental sustainability.

When asked if she has thought of a future career after university she smiles.

“I’m drawn to the political side, I always said to myself ‘Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, that’s me,’” she laughs. “That’s where I’d like to see myself.”

The Horatio Alger Association of Canada awarded $900,000 worth of scholarships this year and has awarded $5.1 million since 2012. Gonzalez agrees with the sentiment of using spirit and determination to carve one’s own path and to impact society in a positive way.

“I think it’s important to go out and find something that drives you, that you feel deep in your stomach is your passion and you need to do. You have to be the change you wish to see.”



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Scholarships

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mental Health: Fractured services leave community to fill gaps

Greater Victoria service providers working together to help youth

Bag containing meat, sewing needles found by dog owner in Cordova Bay

Saanich police don’t believe it’s a trend

UVic creates emergency bursary for students facing hardships due to COVID-19

Students can apply by emailing the financial aid office

Colwood Spring Clean-Up postponed, branch drop-off continues

Strict measures in place for branch drop-off

Peninsula organizations fund food bank ahead of ‘looming crisis’

Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank receives more than $5,000 from local organizations

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Most Read