Saturday, September 15, 2012

Optimist Club Presents 2012 Scholarships

The Coquitlam Optimist Club has presented the annual Robert Simms Memorial Scholarships to ten 2012 graduates of secondary schools in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody. The scholarship recipients and their schools are Arturo Bustillos and Ho Yi Kwan from Pinetree; Erina Cho, Tiffanni Hernandez, Maana Javadi, and Zoya Jiwa from Dr. Charles Best; Nicole Leung from Terry Fox; Juhae Oh from Centennial; Sachin Phadkar and Romina Qurban from Port Moody.

The $500 Robert Simms Memorial Scholarships are awarded primarily based on the students’ service to their communities. The scholarships are named in memory of Robert Simms, a long-time teacher in School District 43 and a charter member of the Coquitlam Optimist Club.

The scholarship recipients have chosen a variety of post-secondary schools both within and outside British Columbia. Arturo Bustillos, Erina Cho, and Zoya Jiwa are attending Simon Fraser University. Ho Yi Kwan, Juhae Oh and Sachin Phadkar are attending UBC. Nicole Leung and Romina Qurban are at Douglas College. Tiffanni Hernandez and Maana Javadi have chosen universities outside the province. Tiffanni is attending Florida International University on an athletic scholarship, and Maana is at McGill University.

Oliver and Philip Zhang were the guest speakers at the annual Scholarship Awards Night. They described their experiences at the Shad Valley Program, which they attended with the Optimist Club's support.

Shad Valley ( is a summer enrichment program with a mission is “to provide a transformational experience that unleashes the entrepreneurial and innovative potential of exceptional youth.” Participants spend four weeks living in residence at a host university, where they attend workshops and lectures that focus on the sciences, engineering, technology and entrepreneurship. Philip attended the program at Waterloo University in Ontario, while Oliver went to the program at Laval University in Quebec.