Award-winning student overcame autism

Peter Wizinsky received his Governor General’s Award for Academic Excellence from NIDES principal Jeff Stewart at a recent ceremony at Beban Park Community Centre in Nanaimo.

PETER WIZINSKY overcame autism to win a Governor-General's Award

Peter Wizinsky received his Governor General’s Award for Academic Excellence from NIDES principal Jeff Stewart at a recent ceremony at Beban Park Community Centre in Nanaimo.What is extraordinary about this award is that Peter has overcome incredible obstacles to warrant the highest academic award in secondary school in British Columbia. Peter is high-functioning autistic.He describes his elementary school years as “hellish,” being teased and marginalized by his peers due to his learning and behavioural condition. He came to NIDES (North island Distance Education School) in Courtenay in 2005, and with the support of the special education staff and teachers like John Gair, quickly began to achieve extraordinary results.“It is a testament to his parents, family and the staff at NIDES that he has done so well at school,” Stewart said.“Blended learning — the combination of distance and interactive classroom instruction — is the right choice for many learners who have unique lifestyles and learning needs,” he continued.“Peter never gave up. Once he had a concept in his mind he would persist with it until he mastered it,” stated teacher John Gair. “We are so very proud of his accomplishments,” Gair summarized.Peter continues his studies this year at Vancouver Island University this year, hoping to complete his Bachelor of Science and follow his grandfather’s footsteps as a research scientist in chemistry.— North Island Distance Education School

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