When Belmont secondary student Fazal Roy puts down his text books for the summer, his learning will ramp up.
Roy dreams of one day becoming a psychiatrist or accountant at the top of his field, and the 15-year-old has long been preparing for a future leadership role.
He was recently approved to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference this summer. Roy will be taking Washington, D.C. by storm if he can fundraise enough money to get there.
He was ecstatic upon learning of the opportunity. “Wow,” he thought at the time. “I could be a politician.”
The Grade 10 student immediately expanded his list of dream careers.
“I’m not planning to do one thing,” the Langford teen said. “I’m planning to see where my strengths take me.”
He’s hoping these will take him south of the border where he’ll congregate with about 200 youth, aged 15 to 18, from around the world.
During the 10-day educational event, they’ll learn from American diplomats and politicians, and tour places such as the Smithsonian Institution and possibly even the White House. The itinerary has yet to be unveiled.
“It helps kids gain confidence as learners and leaders in the community, and to have fun doing it and do it the right way,” said Roy.
After learning about the event from his father, Roy applied early last year even before he was old enough to attend. But his resume is already brimming over with volunteer experience, one of the main requirements for approval.
When he lived in Dubai, he was involved in an environmental cleanup initiative. He holds his black belt in Shotokan karate and helps teach little kids at a local dojo.
Roy works part-time at both Langford McDonald’s, and finds time to play on the high school volleyball team, participate in sea cadets and is an accomplished tennis player at the Langford Tennis Club.
Roy’s acceptance as a global scholar this summer may inspire other youth to apply for future conferences.
“I think it sends out a message to our other students, ‘hey, the sky’s the limit. I don’t have to be some exceptional student’,” said Belmont counsellor Hilde Plotnikoff.
When Roy gets back from his trip of a lifetime, his new-found skills can be shared with his high school peers.
“I think everyone benefits from (his) learning because it’s that ripple effect that happens,” Plotnikoff said.
Roy now needs to raise between $5,000 and $7,000 by May to pay for his tuition and travel expenses.
He’s already held bottle drives, and is hopeful friends and family will help him with car wash events. Roy also welcomes sponsorship from the business community or other organizations.
“I really hope I can go because (otherwise) it’d be a shame,” the teenager said. “I hope I can (come back) as a great leader. I know for a fact I can be.”
To sponsor or support Roy, call 250-590-1640 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.