Giuseppe Fasciani, a Grade 12 student at Queen Elizabeth Secondary, says it’s “such a blessing” to win a scholarship from the Cmolik Foundation.
Giuseppe found out earlier this month that he is a recipient of the foundation’s $40,000-scholarship.
“It’s going to be able to help me pay for my future in university,” said Giuseppe, who plans to study accounting to one day become a chartered professional accountant, at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.
Asked what his post-secondary education might look like during the COVID-19 pandemic, Giuseppe said, “I think i’ll be able to attend the normal schedule in September. I think everything will be fine. I think it might have to be online.”
The foundation was created in 2008 “to provide opportunities for youth who have experienced adversity in their lives,” according to its website.
“Something that I really had to deal with was the poverty part. It was hard to deal with circumstances because my father lost his job due to an injury, so it was definitely hard financially when I was much younger,” he said, adding that he also suffered from a speech impediment at a younger age.
Giuseppe has also been involved with volunteering, such as the Jumpstart program, which he said he saw as a “unique opportunity to help financially disadvantaged children have access to recreational sports.”
“As an avid soccer player on my high school team, I know firsthand the positive impact that inclusive play and learning brings,” he said.
Between volunteering and school, Giuseppe also started a chess club at his high school and played on the soccer team.
The chess club, he said, started because of his “passion” for it and because he thought it would be “really fun to have at our school,” adding that other schools in the district had the club and he wanted to bring it to Queen Elizabeth.
As for soccer, Giuseppe said he was able to “excel” in the sport in high school.
“I wasn’t able to join soccer at school because of financial issues, especially at a younger age. I was able to join the high school team and really excel in my high school career for the Queen Elizabeth soccer team.”
Jeremy Lendvoy, a counsellor at Queen Elizabeth, was one of the school’s staff members that sponsored Giuseppe’s nomination for the scholarship.
“We only have a couple of students like him each year, in each grade. He’s just such a great, positive kid,” Lendvoy said. “At QE have lots of (students) overcoming adversity and stories like that, but no one we could find had a powerful story like his, plus the grades, plus the volunteering. He just stood out. It was a unanimous decision to nominate him.”
In the past decade, Lendvoy said, Queen Elizabeth has only had one other Cmolik winner, said Lendvoy.
“It’s a unique organization… They team you up and, basically, that person follows you through your post-secondary, supporting you as a mentor. Then the idea is that when you graduate university and you become successful and you have a career, the idea is that you’re supposed to give back to the organization, either as a mentor or as a (donor),” he said.
“It’s kind of this beautiful, revolving cycle of support.”