Nobody pushed Aja Choy-Halo to succeed in both academics and sports while heavily involving herself in school and community groups at the same time.
She did it for herself, and to show appreciation for everything others have done for her.
“I’m adopted,” said Choy-Halo. “My best friend’s family took me in. They gave up a lot for me.”
In return, she’s determined to make the most of her life and give back any way she can.
Choy-Halo graduated from the French immersion program at Nanaimo District Secondary School, where she was student council co-president.
A lot of her time and energy on council centred around boosting school spirit by organizing fun activities like gym riots to get her peers involved in the school community.
She also co-founded a non-profit group, Zimbabwe Relief Committee, with another friend. The group organized and hosted food sales at NDSS every week, raffled off a laptop computer, sold doughnuts and hotdogs and bagged groceries to raise more than $8,000 to build a school in Zimbabwe.
Soccer is another passion of hers. Choy-Halo has played for the provincial team, as well as premier and metro league soccer in Nanaimo.
She has also coached children ages three to 14 in various soccer summer camps.
Being on the other side helped improve her own game and watching her efforts make a difference gave her a good feeling.
Soccer helped Choy-Halo with her university choice – she’s been recruited to play on Simon Fraser University’s women’s soccer team.
She wants to study linguistics and languages.
“My dream is to work for the UN one day,” she said. “Learning about other cultures has always been really interesting to me. I would love to be the one who understands everything and be the one to pass on information.”
She wants to travel and while she’ll miss friends and family, home is wherever she decides to make it.
“I like new experiences. I need to travel, I need to see the world,” she said.
Anup Kang, who coached Choy-Halo on Nanaimo’s premier women’s team, tried to recruit her for Vancouver Island University’s women’s soccer program, which he also coaches.
He said Choy-Halo is not only a great athlete, she’s also a great student and person and is mature beyond her years.