BMO Community Spirit Awards

Student recipients announced for BMO $1,000 RESP Awards

VANCOUVER, BC – As part of the Whitecaps FC Grad Program, BMO – the Bank of Soccer in Canada – announced 10 recipients of a Community Spirit Award and $1,000 Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). Recipients were selected throughout British Columbia, based on exceptional support for their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These 10 students have brought about positive change to each of their communities with their incredible work. Congratulations to each of these students, and we look forward to see how they continue to shape our communities going forward,” said James Kitamura, regional president, personal banking, BMO Bank of Montreal.”

“Congratulations to these deserving students for their incredible work in their communities,” said Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC chief executive officer and sporting director. “We heard that they were all very excited to learn that they earned this special RESP from BMO, and we know that they will put it to good use as they continue their education.”

Hassan Choumou – Spectrum Community School (Saanich, BC) 

A refugee from Sudan, Hassan has learned English as a second language in only four years time since moving to Canada. Hassan is student president at Spectrum Community School, leading the student council through a difficult period due to COVID-19. Through his advocacy and leadership, Hassan has helped shape the council's future direction in the new reality.

Additionally, Hassan is a frontline worker at a local supermarket. He is captain of the senior boys Spectrum soccer team and is also a coach at Gorge Soccer Association, loved by his players and parents. Lastly, he recently helped lead Spectrum’s Coldest Night where the school raised more than $1,000 for the homeless in Victoria.

Christopher Lam – J.N. Burnett Secondary School (Richmond, BC) 

Richmond student Christopher Lam is a volunteer at St. John Ambulance, a first-aid and safety charity. When the pandemic hit the community in March, Christopher began making face shields using a 3D printer at home, which he gave to hospitals and care homes.

Soon he inquired to see if the school’s 3D printers could be used, and before long hundreds of face shields and ear savers were produced and delivered.




Courtney Durward – Vernon Secondary (Vernon, BC) 

When the pandemic hit in March, Courtney began working with her mom’s non-profit organization Sweet Smiles Society. In that time she helped raise funds to pay for food hampers in the community, consisting of necessities such as meat, cheese, pasta, vegetables, fruits, eggs, and milk.

She then helped with shopping, preparing, and delivering the hampers to homes. Courtney was grateful to help support 55 families in Vernon, Armstrong, Lumby, and Kelowna.



Kaia Embree – Dawson Creek Secondary (Dawson Creek, BC) 

Kaia was a large advocate for the school’s Mental Health Summit that was scheduled to take place in April. The editor of the school yearbook, she worked tirelessly with school staff during the time at home to create a virtual edition that would serve as an invaluable memory for the Class of 2020.

She reached out to staff and students to gather information and photos of how they were working through the pandemic. When school reopened, she was the first student to enter the building after the break, eager to help the student body and community in any way she can.


Nathan Head – Dr. Charles Best Secondary (Coquitlam, BC) 

As soon as students were required to stay home to complete their studies, Nathan decided to put his own 3D printers to work to make face shields and 3D printers for local hospital workers.

He then worked with staff to get all of the school’s 3D printers into operation. With a collaborative effort, the school sent more than 400 ear savers to Shop3D, and over 1,000 face shield clips to local company Tinkerine.



Jayden Bawden – Riverside Secondary (Port Coquitlam, BC) 

With fellow students devastated from an early end to their 13 years of schooling, Jayden took a lead role in the school’s grad committee (G20) who decided to construct something positive and exciting for grads.

Through the Legacy Project, Jayden and the grad committee reached out to Mayor Brad West to install a bench in Settler’s Park, as well as plant a Legacy Tree at the school for graduates to come back and visit. She also worked with the school to direct fundraising initiatives to KidSport and SHARE.


Callum Sharrock – Argyle Secondary (North Vancouver, BC) 

Callum put his design and collaboration skills into action this Spring to help the community. As a member of Argyle’s Digital Media Academy program, Callum used two 3D printers – one from school and one from home – and created more than 500 ear protectors.

He donated the ear protectors to Lions Gate Hospital, Lynn Valley Care Centre, and Sunrise of Lynn Valley’s long-term care home. Additionally, Callum and a fellow Argyle grad are planning on running a 50 kilometre race in early July and donating any proceeds to food banks for COVID-19.


Jessica Carroll – Elphinstone Secondary (Gibsons, BC) 

Jessica took a leadership role in connecting members of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. As member of the District Student Leadership Team (DSLT) for School District No. 46 – a group of students who work collaboratively and act as a bridge to district administration – Jessica gathered student feedback on educational and school-related barriers posed by the pandemic at large. Also the student trustee for SD46,

Jessica worked to ease student stress and keep student bodies informed. Additionally, Jessica was a part of “Elphi Connects”, using Zoom during the pandemic to augment the relationship between secondary and elementary students to nurture human connection in a big-buddy system.

Angelina Schwarz – St. Patrick Secondary (Vancouver, BC) 

Anelina showed exceptional commitment to her fellow students during the COVID-19 pandemic as a member of the Peer Counsellors team. The Peer Counselling Team is made up of 20 students who make up an essential part of the school community, receiving training and aiding in learning skills to provide social support to students.

Angelina put her heart and soul into managing remote meetings, as well as reaching out to the student body through social media channels during the uncertainty of the pandemic.



Jaime Visser – Unity Christian School (Chilliwack, BC) 

Throughout the pandemic, Jaime continued to support the community’s younger students as a teacher assistant in the pre-school program, as well as a peer-tutor for the grade five class. In her roles she helped prepare materials for off-site learning.

She was back in the classroom ahead of time in phase three to prepare the space for the return of students, all while maintaining her own academic course load.


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