Few people have anything good to say about what’s been going on in 2020 since the emergence of COVID-19.
For Dyson Blitterswyk, it’s been a banner year. The Chemainus Secondary School Class of 2020 valedictorian and abundant scholarship winner is also the school’s recipient of the 2019-20 Governor General’s Academic Medal.
“I was first notified that I won a major school award in mid-October, but I wasn’t told exactly which award it was until I figured it out for myself,” noted Blitterswyk.
Chemainus Secondary’s Vice Principal Jennie Hittinger organized a meeting with Blitterswyk so he could be presented the award in person, with his family present.
“I totally had no idea that I would be this year’s winner of the Governor General’s award, but that’s simply due to my mind being preoccupied with a post-secondary workload, and I forgot all about the award,” explained Blitterswyk.
His high school Grade Point Average came in at about 98.2 per cent overall.
“I am more than honoured to receive the award because I know that it’s a highly prestigious award and not an easy achievement,” conceded Blitterswyk. “I can only say that I am very thankful to receive the Governor General’s award this year and it’ll be something that I’ll keep for my entire life and look back on if I ever need a reminder that hard work pays off.”
It has been a rough, strange and tiring year, and yet so rewarding, he conceded.
“Even though 2020 is so different from any other year I’ve lived through, it makes our grad year special and just as memorable, as much for the good reasons as for the bad,” Blitterswyk pointed out. “I would sum it up simply by saying that working hard does pay off, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first. If you just stay focused on what’s important and what you want to achieve, the things that try to slow your progress will eventually be worn down. The pandemic could have changed things for us, but we didn’t let it.”
He’s now in the engineering program through UVic, all online for now.
“University is not easy, whether it’s online or not,” Blitterswyk indicated. “I am managing to do fairly well for the current status of things. Studying at home can be lonely, tiring and just plain boring, but as long as I know I have the weekend to look forward to, the weeks fly by. It really has gone by very quickly. It’s hard to believe that there’s just a month left of work before the semester is over. Virtual classes are obviously very different from live classes, but I find that I can learn from them just as effectively as I would from an in-person class.
“Sure, it’s not what I was expecting, but I know that me and many other students I have talked to are adapting to this change. Nothing can be done until the pandemic is over, and we all seem to be managing the home-based studying. As hard as engineering can be, I know that I will get through it and put as much effort as I can into my studies, and I know this because of the Governor General’s award.”