MET school student eyes bright future

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WEST KILDONAN

A warning: Armaandeep Dhanoa’s list of accomplishments might make you feel lazy. The 18-year-old student will soon be graduating from Maples Met School (640 Jefferson Ave.) and embarking on a journey with seemingly endless options.

Dhanoa will have to decide between two scholarships: the University of Manitoba’s BMO Financial Group Leader of Tomorrow $16,000 scholarship, for “six exceptional Canadian high school graduates who demonstrate outstanding leadership potential and academic giftedness,” or the coveted Schulich Leader Scholarship for engineering, which has a value of over $100,000 and would see Dhanoa enrolled at the University of Toronto.

Armaandeep Dhanoa meets former U.S. president Barack Obama during a 2019 speaking tour stop in Winnipeg.

Dhanoa had almost given up on the University of Toronto, thinking perhaps he’d aimed too high in applying with one of the top institutions in the country, when he got the message that he’d won the scholarship.

“It was the first time I cried in the last couple of years,” he said. “Winning this scholarship really affirms my work in the community and my academic — kind of — excellence.”

Dhanoa often tempered these sorts of statements of his excellence with phrases like “kind of,” so as not to self-praise, but his accomplishments stand on their own.

He was the youngest member of the mayor’s first youth advisory council. He’s been interning at the University of Manitoba, helping a professor seek ways to identify cancer earlier. He won the aforementioned, and prestigious, scholarships. And he was one of just a few students chosen to meet former U.S. president Barack Obama when he was in Winnipeg on a speaking tour in 2019.

“I remember we kind of knew that Armaandeep was somebody we wanted to meet President Obama,” said Maples Met School principal Ben Carr. Carr said he heard Obama say to him: “I think our paths will cross again one day.”

“That might’ve just been something that he says to people, but it stuck with him,” Carr said.

“It inspired me,” said Dhanoa, who’s always had an interest in community leadership and politics. “The thing about Obama I really appreciate is he motivates the next generation.”

Hearing Obama speak did exactly that for Dhanoa. It imparted a crucial lesson, the student said.

“Yes, society is made up of individuals, but everything happens at the community level,” he said.

Now, as Dhanoa stands before an “overwhelming” list of options, he still makes sure to take the time to thank those who helped him along the way. He thanked Carr and his two advisors, and he thanked his family.

Cody Sellar

Cody Sellar
Community Journalist

Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review West. He is a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, sleuth, sloth, reader of books and lover of terse biographies. Email him at cody.sellar@canstarnews.com or call him at 204-697-7206.

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