Chemainus Secondary School 2019 grad William Ngenda is one of those students who excels in everything, enjoys sports even on a losing team and left an indelible mark on the school and classmates with his personality.
Ngenda was recently presented with the Governor General’s Award by principal Lori Hryniuk for having the highest Grade Point Average among the 2019 class at Chemainus Secondary. He’s also the first student ever to receive the honour at a social distance due to the COVID-19 guidelines.
“It was definitely a surprise to receive it a year later,” Ngenda said.
“I wasn’t shocked I was in the top Grade Point Averages in my grad class.”
He averaged around 95 per cent in all his classes.
“I was fairly consistent,” Ngenda indicated. “I definitely enjoyed my English classes. They definitely bumped my grades up a little bit.”
He arrived at Chemainus Secondary midway through his Grade 10 year, having previously done his schooling on-line and living in Liberia.
“My mom is from Vancouver Island,” explained Ngenda about how he wound up here.
He had been to the Island before for visits, but it was quite different making the move fulltime.
“It was a pretty big adjustment at times,” Ngenda conceded.
It wasn’t just academics, but athletics that formed the fabric of life for him in Chemainus.
“I liked playing basketball and losing every game,” he chuckled. “I enjoyed it.”
Ngenda was co-valedictorian of the 2019 Chemainus grad class with Matt Simpson. With what’s going on now, he’s glad he graduated last year.
“Definitely, I feel bad for the 2020 grads,” he said of cancelled events.
Ngenda continued his studies in civil engineering at Vancouver Island University in 2019-20. He’s transferring to UVic in the fall.
“There definitely will be some uncertainty there,” he conceded. “Online classes are not my favourite. I definitely enjoy working with other people.”
The first year at VIU went well, Ngenda said, “definitely a pretty big adjustment to make.”
He chose VIU because of its student to teacher ratio and moved onto campus to make it easier to get to classes.
In the future, Ngenda plans to put what will amount to five years of post-secondary studies to work to improve the public infrastructure in his native Liberia.