CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin Dover Bay Secondary School grad Jay Panchal has been leading a mural project on the school’s garden shed. He’s anticipating studying art and animation at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont.

BEST & BRIGHTEST: Student helps to tell his grad class’ stories

Jay Panchal of Dover Bay Secondary School comfortable with all different platforms

From the moment Jay Panchal saw a behind-the-scenes special feature on Monsters Inc., the then-eight-year-old knew animation was what he wanted to do.

It was only recently the Dover Bay student realized his dream is also telling stories.

Panchal, 17, has set his sights on art and animation, with plans to get into Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont. and eventually make his way to California.

“I am hoping to make positive change on this planet – a far-fetched goal,” he said, with a laugh. “But it’s what my heart is telling me to do … I want to make stories and I want to share stories in whatever form, any form of storytelling that moves people, that inspires people, that brings people to action of any kind.”

The teen, who moved with his family from India to Canada when he was two, has spent a lot of his time at high school volunteering around art, public speaking and sharing messages.

He’s designed posters for school plays and he was the mastermind behind Dover Bay’s new dolphin logo. He was also a facilitator with the Canadian Red Cross’ Beyond the Hurt program, where he made presentations to younger students on how to prevent bullying and harassment, and he helped the school Eco Club handle correspondence, communication and school presentations. Most recently he’s leading a mural project on the school’s garden shed.

If students don’t know Panchal for the work he does at the school, then they’ll recognize his voice. He kicks off daily announcements with his catchphrase ‘Goooood morning Dover Bay’ ringing out over the loud speakers as he runs over the day’s events.

“I love public speaking, it’s so cool,” said Panchal, who admits he also doesn’t like that nerve-racking feeling before giving a speech in front of a crowd but still finds it exhilarating. “It’s like being on a rollercoaster.”

If he’s not sharing messages, Panchal plays the trombone for a small music group called Artistic Differences and is a black belt in karate, which means mentoring younger students.

“My week is always completely full,” he said.

Don Balcombe, principal at Dover Bay, says Panchal is a big presence in the school and seeks out opportunities to contribute whether it’s musical theatre, playing trombone or involvement in the Eco Club.

“I think younger students aspire to be as involved, make as big a contribution. He truly leads by example,” he said.

As for his graduating class, they’re making good use of his love of storytelling – he’s just been named valedictorian.

For more Best & Brightest articles, visit this link.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

One person hurt in rollover crash on Nanaimo Parkway

Accident happened a little after noon in southbound lanes near Cedar Road

Beefs & Bouquets, Nov. 21

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

UPDATED: Four arrested after report of shots fired in Nanaimo

RCMP arrest four suspects in high-risk takedown in Cedar

Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra goes ‘Basically Baroque’ to start new season

French horn player Keon Birney of the Vancouver Island Symphony is guest soloist

Teacher says student was ‘happy’ to watch smudging ceremony at Vancouver Island school

B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo hearing case over indigenous cultural practice in Alberni classroom

VIDEO: UBC exchange students offered $1,000 to help with leaving Hong Kong

The university said 31 of its students were attending four universities in Hong Kong

Federal laws at heart of West’s anger up for debate, as Liberals begin outreach

Vancouver mayor to Trudeau’s western critics: ‘Get over yourselves’

Snowboard pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011

Teen developed ‘popcorn lung’ due to vaping: Ontario doctors

Boy went from being in perfect health to being on life support after just five months

B.C. judge tosses ‘N’ driver’s claim he was just using phone to decline his mom’s call

Distracted driving laws are more strict for Class 7, or Novice drivers, the judge noted

Woman calls 911 to say she was late for train, asks Ontario police for ‘emergency ride’

Peel Regional Police received more than 180,000 improper calls so far this year

It could take you 218 years to save up for a house in this B.C. neighbourhood

It would take 27 years in the most affordable city in the Lower Mainland

Victim of downtown Courtenay assault dies from injuries

Person of interest identified by RCMP

‘Actors can play any roles’: Debate over ‘colour-blind’ casting after Victoria lawsuit

Tenyjah Indra McKenna filed a complaint over racially-motivated casting

Most Read