BEST and BRIGHTEST: Swanton strives to make a big difference

NANAIMO: Amy Swanton believes anything is possible if you work hard enough.

Amy Swanton

Amy Swanton

Amy Swanton believes anything is possible if you work hard enough.

“I really feel I can take on anything,” said the Aspengrove School graduate. “Sometimes I work a little too hard.”

She decided to take on three advanced placement courses this year – studio art, English and calculus – and challenged the physics AP course. Advanced placement courses, considered to be the equivalent of first-year university courses, end with an exam that can earn students university credits.

“The science and math I really enjoy, but I also like the arts,” said Swanton. “It’s a few hours a day where I can sit down and have a break from my heavy course load.”

She wants to become a website developer, a job that utilizes her scientific, technological side as well as her creative side. In her spare time, she wants to travel to developing nations on volunteer missions – an important goal ever since a life-changing trip to China two years ago.

Swanton and 11 of her classmates went on the trip, which was organized by teachers through the Me to We organization, a global network of children helping children.

The students hand-dug the foundation for an addition to a small school in a rural village in Sichuan province. Each day, they walked up a long hill into the village because the road was too rough for travel by vehicle.

The students were amazed at the way the villagers lived without electricity or running water, but Swanton found that if she set aside her Western prejudices, she saw residents as people who cherished the little things in life and helped each other out.

The looks on the faces of the children who would benefit kept her going when she was tired.

“The happiest I’ve ever been is making a difference in other people’s lives,” said Swanton. “I find it so satisfying.”

She’s made a big difference in her own community as well.

In her last years of high school, Swanton has volunteered at the SPCA, collected donations during the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle campaign, raised money to put on a graduation celebration for her peers and organized school events through student council.

Swanton also helped organize fundraisers for local charities through the school’s Me to We Club, which the students formed after their China trip.

To fit some exercise into her busy days, Swanton and her mother, a teaching assistant at Aspengrove, bike to school each day.

“It’s nice to spend that extra bit of time together,” she said.

Swanton enters the computer science program at VIU this fall with the help of a full-ride scholarship.

Just Posted

The Nanaimo Business Awards are accepting nominations now. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce image)
Nanaimo Business Awards accepting nominations of worthy winners

This year’s awards aren’t until the fall, but the nomination period ends June 28

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Gabriola singer-songwriter Sarah Osborne, Cowichan Valley duo Heartwood, Vancouver singer Kelly Haigh and Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo (clockwise from top-left) are among the performers in this year’s Cultivate Festival. (Photos submitted)
Gabriola Arts Council presents COVID-conscious Cultivate Festival

Theatre, music and art festival returns to Gabriola Island after 2020 hiatus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomer by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

Most Read