Caitlyn Santos is grateful to newspaper owner and businessman David Black for helping make her entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
Realizing those goals are still a little ways off for the 18-year-old R.E. Mountain Secondary grad. But she believes it is attainable – in part thanks to a $5,000 boast from Black Press.
“I faced a lot of uncertainty in my 12th grade year. I was unsure about what I wanted to do after high school and where I wanted to go. For some kids, they know what they want and how to get there. That’s great, but that wasn’t what it was like for me. I didn’t really know what I wanted and I think that a lot of people my age feel the same way,” Santos told the Langley Advance.
Admittedly, when she paid her deposit to the University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, she was still apprehensive.
“I was actually still considering going to a school closer to home, when I was awarded the scholarship,” said Santos, who is now in her first year at Gustavson.
“I don’t want to say that it changed my mind, but I would say that it reaffirmed that I was making a good choice. It sounds cheesy, but I was seriously doubting myself during that time and then this came out of the blue, making me feel like I was on the right path,” Santos said, recalling the day she learned she was in the running for a Black Press scholarship.
“I had just I had just returned from Osoyoos when I found out,” she said, recounting how she was sorting through a mountain of emails that had accumulated during her week of vacationing in the B.C. Interior.
The Black Press business scholarships are awarded based on academic merit, leadership, and a demonstrated desire to make a positive difference in the world.
Santos, who spends her spare time hanging with friends, reading, walking, and competing in rowing was selected as a recipient in part because of her community efforts.
She had offered her time to several different organizations including the Langley Boys and Girls Club and Township of Langley.
“The five thousand dollars that I received thanks to the generosity of David Black has been used towards my tuition for all of first year,” she explained.
It has definitely eased some of the financial pressure of moving away from her family in Willoughby and attending university on Vancouver Island.
“I am looking forward to the rest of my time at the Gustavson School of Business,” Santos added.
“ I feel like I am in a place that fully supports its students and encourages innovative, out-of-the-box thinking. I am lucky to be here and am lucky to have received the help that I have received so far, from the Black Press scholarship – as well as from those who continue to guide and inspire me.”
She is still unsure of what the next five years will bring and how it will change her life. But, she figures that as long as she meets every challenge with a good attitude, an open mind and integrity, she will be okay.
Santos hopes that she will one day find an occupation that makes her happy to be at work every day, as well as allows her to fund her taco habit.
For now, she wishes to fully embrace every opportunity that she is presented at Gustavson.
Opportunities for others
Some of the financial pressure faced by business students in B.C. – including Santos – is reduced each year because of the development nine years ago of the Black Press business scholarships.
Ever year, graduating high school students in 37 of the province’s school districts – all intending to study business at the University – can apply for a $5,000 scholarship.
Thanks to Black, Santos admitted the pursuit of her education has become a little less daunting. And she was not only grateful but impressed by the man who made it possible.
“Mr. Black graciously welcomed all the recipients into his home for a reception where he personally congratulated each of us and wished us the best,” she said.
Now it’s time for another Langley student to potentially enjoy that same opportunity.
The scholarship was established in 2008, by Black, to give students from across the province access to a business education.
Black chose Gustavson because of the innovative program format.
Students spend their last two years of their degree fully immersed in the business school where they can specialize in entrepreneurship, service management, international business, or management where they customize a program that suits their interests.
Every student takes at least two paid cooperative work terms, has the opportunity to participate in an international exchange, and learns about sustainable business practices.
Students must apply to the Gustavson School of Business, bachelor of commerce program before Feb. 28 to be eligible.
Information about the Black Press scholarships is available at: gustavson.uvic.ca/blackpress.
The Langley Advance is part of Black Press.