Alex Fallon, board member for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in Saskatchewan, summed up his opinion of award winner Harkirat Bhullar with four simple words.
“This kid amazes me,” he said in a phone interview.
The award, honouring a student who is able to “set and achieve their own goals” in four distinct areas, is a ticket for Bhullar to travel to the United Kingdom and take part in a “trip of a lifetime,” according to a press release. It includes a four-day hiking and camping trip through the moors near Sleaford in England in late June and early July.
At 16 years old, Bhullar has already compiled an impressive list of accomplishments.
He established a program called “Project Buddy” at his high school, Evan Hardy, that helps new arrivals to Canada by pairing them with other students in the school. He has also shown an interest in autism research and support, starting a talent search for children diagnosed with autism and attending the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles last week with his project: a new method to diagnose autism earlier and more accurately.
“You put in the hard work and it happens, I guess,” Bhullar said. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks, back and forth, but I’m definitely enjoying all of it.”
Bhullar said he’s excited to go to meet other students involved with the Duke of Edinburgh program and explore the scenery in the U.K.
“It’s definitely going to be challenging … but I’m hoping to learn lots.”
The award in Saskatchewan is made possible thanks to donations from Fallon, who funded it to give other young people the chance to have the same kind of life experiences he had. He grew up in Saskatoon before moving to the U.K. for high school and university.