ESTEVAN - A Grade 12 student from the Estevan Comprehensive School is grateful to the community for helping him earn a prestigious honour.
Conner Piche has received the Chancellor’s Scholarship, worth $30,000, from the University of Saskatchewan. Piche noted the award is one of a number of levels for the Best and Brightest entry-level scholarships at the U of S, but only 12 Chancellor’s bursaries are handed out each year.
Piche said it was based on academic achievement and community involvement. He averaged 99.1 per cent for his courses in the first semester of his Grade 12 year. He is also the co-president of the student representative council (SRC), alongside Jayla Memory, has his own photography business and has volunteered at the United Way Estevan’s telethon.
“You submit some essays based on what extracurriculars you do, what volunteer experience you have, whether you work and that kind of stuff,” said Piche.
When he started at ECS in Grade 9 in 2019, he joined the SRC and it made him feel at home.
“It makes it a little less scary,” said Piche. “Lots of Grade 9s, they feel like they’re outsiders and they don’t have their friends. But I was able to make friends with Grade 12s … and it just makes you feel like you belong. And so then as I moved up, I wanted to help other people. I recruited Grade 9s. And then really through SRC, that really branches out.”
Through the ECS takeover that happens during the overnight hours of the telethon each year, he learned a lot about what the United Way does in the community.
Through his business, Piche Photography, he has been able to meet lots of people and help out at events. He believes there was some luck involved, too, because it started more as a hobby.
“That’s why I’m so grateful to my community,” said Piche. “I didn’t have to do much work. They’re just so supportive that when you start these kinds of things and you put yourself out there, they help you move along.”
A few years ago, he started taking photos of grads for a lower rate, along with other people. He said he learned as he progressed, and each year he added more clients. This year he is fully booked for grad pictures.
“I booked them back in November, which I never get to do. So months out, I’m booking now, which is still crazy to me. I never really thought that I’d get to that point. It’s really just the community and how close everyone in Estevan is.”
When he first started, his mother had to drive him to photo shoots.
He’s looking forward to taking pictures of his fellow grads this year, and it’s been rewarding to photograph people he knows.
“That’s when I get some of my best shots,” said Piche. “I don’t like to really pose people. It’s about getting their true personality, and when you’re friends with people, you can get them laughing. It’s going to be fun. Most of the shoots I have this year I’m friends with and know.”
Piche will be studying bio-medical sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. He’ll spend three or four years in that program, and he hopes to eventually become a dentist.