Some people have a knack for numbers; others an ear for music.
Nathan Valsangkar excels in both and he’s a talented athlete to boot.
The Dover Bay Secondary School graduate’s top subjects include science, math and music.
“A lot of people are either creative or logical and somehow I’ve got both,” he said.
Valsangkar plays the trombone and tuba in a school band – last year the band won first place in the Upper Island Music Festival – and for the past couple of years, he’s saved the band lots of money in sheet music costs by arranging the band’s music.
Music arrangement is when an already written composition is prepared for presentation for a specific group of performers.
Valsangkar writes out the base, drums, melodies and harmonies of a piece by listening to the song and he also wrote and arranged a song for the senior jazz band to play.
Music is a form of self-expression and release for him.
“I can’t draw or paint or anything,” said Valsangkar. “If I’ve had a bad day, good day, I can go play some music, let it all out.”
He is also in a brass quintet, which plays at weddings and other events, and shares his talents on the guitar with residents of Nanaimo Seniors Village every month.
He’s passionate about music, but science and math take a larger role in his chosen career path – he heads to the University of Guelph to study biomedical engineering with the eventual goal of becoming a doctor or medical researcher.
He finds the human body’s cardiovascular and nervous systems fascinating and likes the innovative, problem-solving aspect of engineering.
“I like thinking of different ways to solve problems,” said Valsangkar. “You really have to go outside your mental comfort zone to come to a solution.”
He also likes to challenge himself physically – he has been on Dover’s wrestling team since Grade 8 and made it to the nationals two years ago, where he came in 12th in his category. He coaches the wrestling team at Randerson Ridge Elementary School, is a certified referee and tutors his peers in math and science on the side.
“I’ve got so much stuff back to back, I can’t really slack off,” said Valsangkar. “But everything I do, I enjoy doing.”
Valsangkar is one of 30 Loran scholars from across Canada selected by the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation. The Loran scholarship, which includes a $9,000 annual living stipend matched by a tuition waiver by the recipient’s chosen university, is awarded based on character, service and leadership potential as well as academics.