About the Qualicum Beach Honours Society

By 1987 there had been two major Qualicum Beach High School Homecomings, and the remaining funds and individual donations supported an annual scholarship for graduating students. The need to do even more with these funds was recognized, so a very dedicated group of individuals put their heads together and the Qualicum Beach Honours Society was born in 1992. The mandate was, and still is, very basic: “to promote and recognize academic achievement in the student body of KSS”.

Our student applicants meet at three luncheons throughout the year. Students have an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the academic achievements of each other. It is hard to describe how good it feels as students are applauded by their peers, teachers and Honours Society Directors for their achievements. This is a long way from the  “not cool to be smart” attitude many of us grew up with.

Honours Society students are encouraged to give back to the community by volunteering at the “Child Haven Dinner”, “Fire & Ice” our local chilli and ice carving competition held annually, as well as at “Family Days”.

Each year, with your generous donations and community fundraisers, we are able to award Scholarships to each of our students. Fortunately, the initial funding we received from the Homecoming group has been invested to allow us to award an additional  Homecoming Scholarship each year. We have also established another  annual Scholarship in the name of Archibald Robertson, former Vice-Principle of Qualicum High School. While our Scholarship dollars have been growing annually, so has the cost of tuition. Can you believe that a bachelor ’s degree currently costs in excess of $50,000?

We believe that our greatest achievement has been in making a difference in the academic attitude at KSS. In 1992, there were twelve students who had to be convinced that they wanted to join the Society. Currently, there are over 50 applicants voluntarily applying and working hard to become members of the Society. It is not enough to want to be a member. Our students must also have achieved high academic standards, maintaining an 83% average in English 12 and in a minimum of three University Approved Grade 12 academic courses. (four grade 12 courses in total). While this is not an easy task, it has provided an opportunity for these students to experience “Academic Excellence with Pride in Achievement”.

Our International Connection

Several years ago it was decided that the Qualicum Beach Honours Society was ready for a web presence. We felt it would be good for the Society and would keep some of our historical information in one place where it could easily be accessed by anyone.

Little did we realize how successful the website would become.

To date we have had over 7800 views! I thought it would be interesting to share with everyone the many and varied countries from which these inquiries have come, in just the past year. Besides Canada, there are a total of 47 countries represented! I like to think that this is an indication of how far and wide the influence of our KSS students has travelled.

Views by country:

3238 – Canada

143 – United States

23 – United Kingdom and Germany

18 – Australia

17 – Brazil

15 – Spain

14 – Hong Kong and Indonesia

9 – Switzerland

8 – India

7 – Japan

6 – Mexico and the Russian Federation

5 – Ireland and Nigeria

4 – Colombia, the Republic of Korea and France

3 – Thailand and Taiwan

2 – South Africa, Paraguay, Chile, Philippines, Pakistan, Jamaica and Ecuador

1 – Venezuela, Viet Nam, Trinidad and Tobago, Mauritius, Israel, Turkey, Netherlands, Albania, Belgium, the State of Palestine, Costa Rica, Serbia, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Fiji, Ukraine, Romania, Finland, the Czech Republic, Iraq

Ben Randall is Guest Speaker at the Year end Banquet June 1, 2011

By Richard de Candole

The Qualicum Beach Honours Society held its annual banquet on June 1 to thank its supporters and to celebrate the academic achievements of 2011 inductees.

Each year the society provides scholarships to Kwalicum Secondary grads who have maintained an 83 per cent average in three government examinable courses and undertaken community service work.

Since 1992 over$108,000 has been distributed among Honours Society inductees. This year the money came from five donors: Gwen Anders, Parksville Qualicum Foundation, Quality Foods, Diane and Norm Duncan and the QB Chamber of Commerce.  Other supporters who have helped the society this year are: The Beacon, Dr. Ian and Maggie Smith, Town of QB, Coastal Community Credit Union-Qualicum Branch, Scott Signs and KenDor Nursery.

The banquet was highlighted by the induction of 25 new members and an address by 2003 inductee Ben Randall, now a software tester for Microsoft Corp. Landing a job with Microsoft was a dream come true.

“It’s such a good company to work for,” Ben told his audience. “Last summer it felt like I was out camping and hiking more than I was at the office. It’s a very flexible environment and they’re not always pushing you to be productive.”

Ben got interested in science and technology as a boy and after graduating from Kwalicum Secondary opted to study engineering at UBC in the co-op program. It meant spending summers as an intern.

His first placement was at Vancouver International Airport’s computer Help Desk.

“I spent the summer fixing printers and teaching employees how to format Word documents.” said Ben.

But it opened the door to working as a programmer. After his second year of engineering he was hired by IBM Canada to work in Toronto in its privacy division and that led to an internship with Microsoft the following year.

“I had a good rapport with the recruiter on campus,” said Ben. “They’re very important when it comes to getting jobs.”

At Microsoft he was given four months to fix several thousand of lines of code.

“I spent the first three months trying to figure out where to start. They didn’t seem to mind. In the end I got it done,” said Ben.

After his third year he took a job with Blue Castle Games, a Vancouver video game company. He worked on the game The Bigs and received his first video game credit as a programmer. His final internship was back at Microsoft where he worked on X Box Live as a tester.

“I really like playing X Box and was so happy to get a chance to work on it.”

A highlight of that summer was attending the annual intern’s barbecue hosted by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. While Bill always makes an appearance only a lucky few of the hundreds of interns attending get a chance to say hello to him.

More important for Ben, however, was that Microsoft offered him a full-time job after graduation. He took a few months off to travel and in September of 2008 started a job as an on-line behaviour monitor for X Box Live.

“I get to ban people who cheat,” said Ben with a laugh.

The Honours Society banquet concluded with the induction of new members. They are: Sean Austin, Jill Cameron, Nicole Campbell, Kieran Collery, Pearse Doolin, Ben Dwyer, Elizabeth Elwood, Christian Epp, Noah Faust-Robinson, Jordyn Gagnon, Neil Gamble, Kjylagh Gaschler, Brett Genoe, Victoria Hayward-Wrench, Ian Johnson, Sarah Kohse, Monica Kuun, Jenika Lindsay, Sophie Marshall, Bronte McKenzie, Brandy Roenicke, Brett Saremba, Rosie Sollitt, Danielle Waters and Tabitha Witherell.

The QB Honours Society can be contacted by calling Jill Chudleigh at 752-3842. 

Phil Dwyer and Friends 5th Annual Concert

The Phil Dwyer and Friends 5th annual Concert is coming to the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on November 7 and you are invited!  Don’t miss this fabulous evening of great entertainment, with something for everyone.  The evening will be filled with the incredible sounds of…

Vancouver Island Youth Select Jazz Band with musicians from Qualicum,
Nanaimo, and Victoria.

Comedian/musician Todd Butler – If you’ve ever listened to CBC Radio you’ve heard him. He was a regular on the comedy show known as Madly  Off In All Directions.

              “There are a whole lot of musicians who try to be funny, but not many comedians who can play guitar  like Todd Butler.” 
               Want to know more – http://www.toddbutler.com/

The Phil Dwyer Piano Trio with Ken Lister & Jesse Cahill

               Check out Phil at http://www.phildwyer.com/

Vocalist Tina Jones

Mark Fewer, former concert master of the VSO with Leah Hokansen

                “…the intrepid Fewer played with a mix of precise, classical intensity and fiddler’s flair.”
                The Globe and Mail, November 2005

                 More info on Mark – http://www.vancouversymphony.ca/bio_page.php?artistcode=MF

Just $25.00 gets you a ticket to this great evening. Doors open at 7:30 pm. Performance begins at 8 pm.

VIP tickets are also available for those who wish to meet the musicians while enjoying a pre-performance wine
& cheese, beginning at 7pm, followed by front row seats with the best views in the house! 

The generous donations of time and talent by Phil Dwyer & Friends  supports the Bill Dwyer Memorial
Scholarship Fund within the Parksville/Qualicum Foundation and the Qualicum Beach Honours Society scholarship
fund.  Your support and encouragement is much appreciated.

We are also very grateful to Qualicum Foods and Verne McShane  for their concert sponsorship and to “A” Vancouver Island for their television sponsorship for the concert.

Tickets can be purchased  at:
               “What’s Cooking”  1-177 2nd Ave W in Qualicum Beach – 250-752-8744
               “Cranky Dog Music” 154 Morison in Parksville – 250-954-3465
                  or by calling Marie Randall at 250-752-3538

Don’t be the one who gets to listen to everyone else tell you how great it was – Get your ticket today!