Jin Gyu Lim came to Canada from South Korea five years ago a shy kid who spoke very little English.
But after entering Aspengrove School in Grade 9, Lim came out of his shell. He joined student council, was involved with various charity initiatives and played a number of sports.
“It was quite difficult to speak and listen to people when I first came to Nanaimo,” he said. “Moving to a small school made me speak more.”
An honour roll student throughout high school, Lim’s favourite subjects are math and science, and his final role on student council was treasurer.
Lim likes math so much, he enters a couple of extra-curricular math contests each year.
Earlier this year, he placed in the top 25 per cent in the University of Waterloo’s Fermat and Hypatia math contests – about 22,500 students from 1,221 schools across Canada participated in the Fermat contest.
Lim and several other Aspengrove students in the Make a Difference Club decorated the pediatric ward at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for Halloween and Christmas.
He also helped put together a bullying awareness workshop that was presented to the whole school – his piece was a video clip on cyber bullying.
Helping out at these types of events not only makes Lim feel good because he has advanced a good cause, he also has fun.
“It’s kind of a win-win situation,” he said.
Three years ago, he joined the Nanaimo Rowing Club and got addicted to regatta racing.
“When you race, there’s a lot of psychological power going on because there’s so much pain going through you that you have to tell yourself to just continue, continue,” he said. “The last 500 metres, although you’re in pain, you just push, give it your all.”
Besides rowing, soccer and snowboarding, Lim plays both the clarinet and the oboe in his spare time.
Lim starts the electrical engineering program at the University of Waterloo this fall.
Robert Ohly, Lim’s chemistry and physics teacher, said Lim is naturally good at math and science, but he also works hard.
“He’s one of the best students I’ve ever taught,” he said. “He’s quite clearly a step above the other students in physics and chemistry, but he’s quite humble about that and likes to help his friends.”