Morgan Grigg remembers being only an average student when, in Grade Seven, a misfortune changed his life.
“I fractured a vertebrae in my back so I had nothing to do except get better in school,” he said. It was also the year he had a teacher “who really pushed me to get good grades.”
All that studying and pushing is paying off in a big way for the 19-year-old Princeton man, who has received $10,000 through a number of scholarships in the past few months.
Most recently, he was presented with a $1,000 award from the BC Principal and Vice Principal’s Association. He was also the top Grade 12 student graduating from Princeton Secondary School and winner of the Governor General’s medal awarded for academic excellence.
Those scholarship earnings are helping to put Grigg through a two-and-a-half year water engineering technology program at Okanagan College in Kelowna.
Born and raised in Princeton, he said making the step to post secondary education in a large city was not without challenges.
“It’s a very big shock to the system for sure. Going from a school with less than 200 students to a school with over 10,000 is quite intimidating at first.”
He doesn’t mind admitting he’s not crazy about Kelowna traffic, and is getting accustomed “to using Google maps to find my way everywhere.”
Always a student who excelled in science and mechanics, Grigg will graduate with a diploma that qualifies him to work in a water distribution facility or waste water treatment plant, most likely at the municipal or regional government level.
He said he definitely plans to relocate back in the area. “The Okanagan is home,” he said.
Grigg said a small high school like PSS has many benefits for its students. “Basically it’s being able to be personal with your teachers. They all know you by your first name. They know who you are and are always looking to help you improve be it through sports or academics or volunteerism.”
His advice to young people thinking about post secondary opportunities is “go for it. It’s your future so the question you should ask yourself is ‘what do I want to do and what am I willing to do to get there.’”
He encouraged graduating students to be aggressive about applying for scholarships. “Basically the biggest thing is to put yourself out there and apply for scholarships. Apply for all the ones you can because you never know you may be lucky enough to win a bunch of them. If you don’t apply, you don’t have a chance.”