Amy Clements is living proof academic excellence depends on the student.
A supportive family and caring teachers have contributed to her success, which has just been recognized through a $17,000 UBC scholarship to attend the University of Northern BC in Prince George.
There are two scholarships granted each year for this institution. One goes to a Whitehorse student and the other to a student from one of the Yukon communities. Clements won the scholarship for her dedicated work to achieving an interesting future for herself.
To sit down with this young woman is to renew one’s faith in the youth of Watson Lake. She is bright, pretty, poised and articulate.
While sitting in her boyfriend’s kitchen, she gives thoughtful answers to any question tossed her way.
Born in Quesnel, BC, Clements was raised in Whitehorse. She was 13 years old when her mother bought the bed and breakfast business at the Watson Lake airport and moved the family here.
“At first, I wasn’t happy about moving to Watson Lake,” says Clements. “The rumour was the students at the school there were heavy into parties, with lots of drinking and drugging; I was scared of getting beaten up.”
Those fears proved groundless; Clements found friends and, for the most part, enjoys school.
As she got older and the importance of school work grew, the friendships got harder to maintain; she credits her relationship with Tanner, her boyfriend of two years, as being part of the base from which she was able to accomplish her scholastic goals.
“You have to have someone to hang out with; a friend who wants the same things you do. It’s easier to stay out of the party scene if you have that. Tanner and I are each other’s best friend and we spend most of our free time together. We both like to go quadding. We like to ski and, sometimes, we go sledding.”
Tanner also plans on attending the University of Northern BC and the young couple are enjoying the excitement of looking at the school catalogues together.
The plan is to get an apartment and the prospect of independent living is clearly part of the university opportunity.
“I love the idea of having my own place, of being in charge of my life,” says Clements “I can clean up when I want to.”
Asked about the scholarship, Clements is modest.
“I don’t think I would have won this scholarship if I’d still been in school in Whitehorse,” she says “I think I’d have been an average student there.
“Sometimes I worry about getting good marks in university; I know it’ll be harder than what I have had to do here.”
Post-secondary education has been always figured in her plans.
“I always planned on going to university,” she says “The cost was going to be the hard part, and now, with the scholarship and my Yukon bonus, I have two years at least where I don’t have to worry about it.”
Clements wants to be a writer, preferably of a column, and maybe some short stories. She wants to live in a small town, ideally somewhere in BC, and not too far from her closeknit family.
Tor Forsberg is a freelance writer based in Watson Lake.