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Students earn scholarships in recognition of District support staff

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Two graduating students from David Thompson and Templeton Secondary schools have each won this year’s Vancouver School District’s support staff recognition scholarships. 

More than 2,000 people work in support staffing roles throughout the District – from building staff who keep the schools clean and maintain the upkeep and safety of facilities to supervision aides who watch over students during recess and lunch. The District created the scholarship to recognize their contributions to Vancouver’s public education system. Application criteria include academic achievement as well as a reflection submission on how a support staff worker has impacted the student’s educational experience.  

“I deeply recognize and appreciate the importance of support workers as they have all proven to be an essential reason to my continued success throughout my school years,” says Mackenzie Wong, a Grade 12 student at David Thompson Secondary. In the student’s scholarship submission, Wong describes how since Grade 4, support worker Christine Hannan helped with organization, punctuality, note-taking and time management. Wong is grateful for Hannan’s assistance, support and encouragement and is “forever thankful for her selfless sacrifice.” 

Wong is honoured to be recognized; and wishes to acknowledge the efforts of the educators who helped along the way. Wong says due to learning needs, more time is needed for studying than the average student – and the scholarship means Wong can devote extra time to schoolwork rather than be concerned over funds for education. 

Wong is due to take a mix of arts and science courses at Langara College in the fall, planning to eventually transfer to the University of British Columbia or Simon Fraser University. 

Alyana Madlambayan of Templeton Secondary shares how a special education assistant was more than a support staff worker. Madlambayan met Nicole Hasselmann in Grade 5 and worked with her for three years. She says Hasselmann created a safe and kind learning environment.

Hasselmann passed away in 2018. Madlambayan says she is “grateful for the impact she has made in my life.” Madlambayan is appreciative to be a scholarship recipient because it will help her to continue going to school and to pursue her dream of becoming a pediatric nurse. She plans to begin prerequisite courses at Langara College in September, with an aim of being accepted into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at BCIT. 

The annual scholarships were set up on the District’s Support Staff Recognition Day, now annually celebrated on November 5. 

Learn more about how the scholarships were created. 

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