Jenna Leggett is a Grade 12 student at Highland Secondary and is one of 160 recipients of the Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarship, valued at $5,000. Photo supplied

Jenna Leggett is a Grade 12 student at Highland Secondary and is one of 160 recipients of the Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarship, valued at $5,000. Photo supplied

Highland Secondary student wins Horatio Alger scholarship

Jenna Leggett grew up on Read Island where there was no electricity and no roads to her home

Growing up off-the-grid, Jenna Leggett was used to a very different lifestyle than kids who grew up in the Comox Valley.

Now a grade 12 student at Highland Secondary, Leggett is one of 160 students across Canada who received the 2019 Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarships, valued at $5,000. The scholarships are given to students who have overcome adversity while showing a strength of character, a desire to contribute to society and strong academics.

As part of the application process, students were asked to write about the adversities they had faced.

Leggett is from Read Island, a small island of 60 people located between Quadra and Cortes Islands.

“Just growing up there, it was not your average easy childhood life in town. It’s different and isolating,” she said.

There were no roads that reached her home, so Leggett took a boat to get to school every day. But on top of that, there were no hydro lines, no electricity and regular encounters with bears and cougars.

“In the winter, our water lines would freeze,” she said. “My parents still live there and they haven’t had water there for a couple weeks cause it’s been so cold.”

The school on Read Island only goes to grade 9, so three years ago, Leggett was forced to choose a new high school. This led to moving away from her parents into her grandmother’s house in Comox.

After graduating, Leggett is planning to go to the University of Victoria to study engineering, and says the scholarship will be a big help.

“I don’t have a lot of funds to go to university, and a big scholarship to go towards tuition, it’s a huge relief,” she said.