Wellington Secondary School alumnus Paul Kim certainly left a lasting impression on his teachers. The 17-year-old graduated with a 98 per cent average and went on to obtain one of the most lucrative undergraduate scholarships in the country.
Now enrolled at the University of Victoria, Kim has been tackling his first round of midterms. A $60,000 Schulich Leadership Scholarship has certainly reduced some of the stresses associated with working towards a degree. But what has made the academic phenomenon standout for teachers and peers was not so much the impossibly high grades - but that he had time for so much else.
"It wasn't my intention to purposely get 100 per cent. I try to do the best to my abilities," he said.
A short list "off the top of my head" of courses where Kim managed a 100 per cent mark included senior-level biology, chemistry and mathematics.
Beyond school, Kim has found ways to volunteer and give back to his community.
He served as the president of his student council and helped organize food drives for the needy. He's also skilled in martial arts and has competed provincially in Taekwondo, in addition to serving as a referee.
The Kim family operates the World Taekwondo Academy on Wellington Road in Nanaimo.
"Taekwondo helps teach certain qualities that are just good for your well-being and your lifestyle," he said. "Things like integrity, respect and just responsibilty for your own actions."
Kim, who found time to teach at the studio and also volunteer with the Red Cross and Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, said his parents were never the pushy types - they just wanted him to do his best. His mother, Maria, said her son routinely found ways to amaze the family.
"Even if he's really busy, he can do all the school work and teaching (Taekwondo)," she said.
Kim's physics and chemistry teacher at Wellington said his former student's discipline was what separated him from the pack.
"He's the kind of student that teachers like me like to have, because he makes every teacher he's got look good," said Steve Elwood. "He makes his teachers look really good."
Schulich Leadership Scholarships are awarded to 40 students across Canada each year.
Kim said his ambition is to one day become a medical researcher or a doctor. He is currently studying biochemistry in Victoria.
© Copyright 2013