Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2018 – The Little Things Count: A Lesson Not to Be Forgotten

Name: Christophe Michaud-Lavoie
From: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Grade: 12
School: École le Carrefour du Grand-Havre
Votes: 0


I am deeply interested in education, for I strongly believe that it is
the gateway to societal development. However, society seems to have
disregarded this fact, seeing that many groups do not have equal
opportunities with regards to education, within this very country.
For this reason, I have been volunteering, every week for an hour for
three years, at my local library, helping young, reluctant readers by
offering them a risk-free environment to learn and develop a love of
reading.

This seems like a small sacrifice, but I choose to look at my volunteering
experiences from the receiving end when evaluating their value. To
these young children, whose parents may not understand how crucial
reading is, or simply do not have the ability to help, my
contribution is priceless. Seeing the progress my reader has made
sparks an indescribable feeling of accomplishment. To witness such an
impact on a child’s educational future keeps me coming every time.

I have since taken up a similar initiative on a national level.

I am a francophone by birth and have a profound love for my language.
Living in Nova Scotia, I have noticed a severe deficiency in
educational opportunities offered to the francophone minority
compared to the anglophone community. French students in Nova Scotia
must sacrifice a wide array of educational opportunities for a chance
to study in their native language. Canada prides itself on being an
official bilingual country. This is not a sacrifice that should be
made by students and parents. In order to fill this void, I recently
became the President of the Nova Scotia region in a national
francophone spelling bee competition, giving francophone children one
more opportunity to flourish.

A project of this scale has presented some huge hurdles to overcome.
Being the first year of this competition’s existence in Nova
Scotia, the schools have been reluctant to embrace it. I have also
taken it up by myself; no secretary, no team, very few volunteers.
This has made my job very time consuming, taking up several hours of
my night every night after school, without rest for over 7 months.
However, this cause is too important for me to see it go to ruins.

Nevertheless, I don’t limit myself to education-related involvement. I want to be
a well-rounded community servant. I have become a member of my school
Culture and Diversity Club, which looks to promote tolerance and
awareness and to celebrate individual diversity. We have organised
aboriginal rights events and round-table-style discussions about the
diversity that exists within Francophonie. One of our recent projects
is a video series addressing sexual and gender identity and
discrimination towards the LGBTQ community. I have participated in
this club several times a week since the beginning of the school
year, in September of 2017.

Another project I take pride in is a fundraiser for an expedition taking a
group of volunteers to Algeria, to help handicapped Algerian children
find happiness for a few weeks. After having done this fundraiser, I
am determined to become one of the volunteers who will go to Algeria.

I believe that my passion for action and my dedication to many
humanitarian causes, whether they deal with social justice or equity,
make of me a strong humanitarian. I have always believed in being a
World Citizen, where my thoughts and concerns are not limited by
arbitrary geographical borders defined by history.

I have always admired those whose minds and determination spark change
in the world of science and technology, and I wish to live up to this
purpose. My personal ambitions have always been geared towards
creating change for the better in others’ lives. I have volunteered
countless hours towards helping young kids with their reading, their
French language abilities, their musical knowledge and even in the
form of fundraising for international volunteering expeditions for
volunteer teams helping children in need. This was all in the hopes
that I could make a positive impact on someone else’s life,
especially with regards to their education. I hope that I can
manifest this changemaking attitude in my career.

I have chosen a long and arduous program which englobes many scientific
domains. I study concepts in biology, chemistry, chemical
engineering, physics and mathematics over six years all year round,
with four co-operative work terms. While much of my passion for
science stems from intrinsic curiosity, much of it also rests in a
sentiment of changemaking duty.

I firmly believe that technological and scientific progress can guide
humanity’s progress. This is why I chose biotechnology as my field
of study; the recent developments in this field, especially
pertaining to DNA technology, have brought it to the fringes of
scientific progress, and I feel as if my work, either in the research
component or the entrepreneurial privatisation of its discoveries,
would be most significant here. While I remain undecided as to my
direct career path, I know that I am passionate, determined and
ambitious enough to achieve the goals I have set for myself through
this program.


Biotechnology opens doors for biomedical research,
rare disease research, pharmaceutical practices and industrial
engineering advances, towards designing products or discovering and
distributing cures with the intent of changing lives for the better.
If I can accomplish one of these, I will be content with my
contribution to this cause and will know I have made the right
decisions. While it may not be perfectly aligned with my volunteer
work, it is based on the same set of values: progress, harnessing
innovation and valuing knowledge. Both these contributions are also
forward looking; it is an investment in knowledge that will lead to
growth in the future in exchange for present sacrifices. It is the
exercise of delayed gratification and selflessness, a small
contribution but a worthwhile one, even if only one other person
benefits from it.


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