Lake City Secondary School graduate Liam Atwood was just awarded the Governor General’s Award for academic achievement in Grade 12.
He is on his way to start a General Sciences degree at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), with an eye to becoming a teacher.
“We are very proud of him — he is such a good worker,” said his father, Michael Atwood.
“He is bright, but he also works very hard. And that’s his area of achievement,” he said, adding that they learned right along with Liam, helping him with his homework.
“Especially my mom,” Liam said.
“Sometimes I’d be sitting beside him while he was working on assignments,” she said, “and he’d be talking away about all this information and I’d just fall asleep while he talked.”
His dad said that Liam rarely missed school — maybe three days in five years. “I got stranded here once when they shut the school down. I’d get here at 7 in the morning and would be here until 4 or 5 at night, if I was finishing things up,” Liam added.
“It mattered to me. If you can do well in school, you may as well.”
Ken Lucks, vice principal, lives in their neighborhood and showed up at their door to give the family the great news about the award.
“It was handy having him live so close – if Liam stayed late and missed the bus working on some writing, Mr. Lucks would give him a ride home,” Michael noted.
Liam said that sciences are his true interest.
He said that he enjoys factual reading and writing, but that fiction and creative writing are not his forte.
“My English teacher would say, ‘Liam, you’re not going to be the next Hemmingway.’”
He said that, joking aside, he got a lot of support from his teachers.
“Mr. Lucks and Mr. Gaylord were both very encouraging – it’s good to have that kind of encouragement,” Michael added.
Gregg Gaylord said that most years you see five or six Grade 12 students with very close marks who are eligible to win the award. He said that, with Liam, no one was surprised at the win, adding that Liam was a shining star all the way through school. His marks for Grades 10-12 were 92 per cent or better and were all 100 per cent in Grade 12.
“His work ethic is amazing,” Gaylord added.
“He is such a hard worker.”
Liam’s name is recorded on the school plaque as a recipient of the Governor General’s award.
He received a medallion from the Governor General and two bursary cheques from the school as a recognition of his achievement – one for the Cariboo Chilcotin Retired Teachers Association bursary for $750, and the Fred McMechan bursary for $1,500.
“He is mature beyond his years. I assumed that he might go into medicine – he’s that gifted,” Gaylord said.
“But when it comes down to it you pick a career that interests you. He will be a wonderful person to give back in education.”