A Grade 11 student from Mount Douglas Secondary has been named one of 16 recipients of the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize – a two week, all-expenses-paid trip through Europe. (Google Streetview)

Saanich high school student wins free educational trip through Europe

Beaverbrook Vimy Prize centers on First, Second World War history

A Saanich high school student is still wrapping his mind around the fact that he’s won an all-expenses-paid trip to Europe.

Brendan Lindsay, a Grade 11 student in Mount Douglas Secondary’s Challenge Program for gifted students, was shocked to be named one of 16 recipients of the 2020 Beaverbrook Vimy Prize.

In 2021, Lindsay will travel through Belgium and France for two weeks with the Vimy Foundation and 15 other high school students from across Canada and Europe. The students will visit First and Second World War historical sites, attend lectures and tour museums, among other activities.

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The trip was originally scheduled for August, but due to COVID-19, the students won’t head to Europe until next summer.

Lindsay applied for the prize along with his classmates as a course requirement for Explorations in Social Studies 11.

“I’ve never won anything like this and didn’t expect myself to,” he said, adding that he has many talented classmates.

The application package included two essays – one research paper and one response to an art piece – and a personal video answering various questions, Lindsay explained.

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He filmed his video 120 times before he was satisfied it “wasn’t awkward.” At the time, a classmate pointed out that after that many takes, Lindsay had better see some payoff.

“That stuck with me,” he said, adding that he was very glad all the filming was worth it.

Applications were submitted in March and by the end of April, Lindsay had been shortlisted for a video interview.

He remembered feeling “80 per cent confident” after the interview because he wasn’t sure he’d nailed the French language skills test. On May 5, Lindsay learned he’d been awarded the prize but couldn’t tell anyone until May 15 – so he waited until just after midnight to share the news with his social studies teacher, Ted Meldrum, via email.

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Meldrum, who is also the Challenge Program coordinator, was excited. The application is part of his course curriculum and this year, he had 46 students apply.

Meldrum noted that while Lindsay’s trip is postponed due to the global pandemic, it will be a “nice little trip” after graduation in 2021.

Lindsay has been to Europe before but this will be his first time taking such a trip without his family. He’s “very interested in history” and is looking forward to all the educational experiences the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize trip has to offer.


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