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Are you ready to feel inspired? Read on to find out how Virtual High School student Jenyvette Hsia is working tirelessly to improve sustainability efforts in her community and beyond!

Jenyvette has always gravitated toward the outdoors. As a child, she was fortunate to have a home that backed onto a small forest where she could spend hours playing with her friends in and around the trees. One of her most significant memories involves a mother fox raising her litter of kits underneath her family’s shed in her backyard. Now that the Hsia family lives on 10 acres outside London, Ontario, Jenyvette has even more opportunities to eplore the wildlife around her. She loves running, biking, canoeing, and planting gardens. The Hsia family has planted over 300 native Carolinian trees, removed invasive plant species, and installed bird houses, bat houses, and bug hotels in an effort to transform their property into a more biodiverse ecosystem.

In keeping with her commitment to sustainable environments, Jenyvette also leads a vegan lifestyle. Her decision to begin eliminating animal products from her diet five years ago is what she considers to be her greatest achievement so far. The large country garden that the Hsia family plants each year ensures that she has a wide variety of fresh fruit and veggies to choose from.

An avid volunteer, Jenyvette has fulfilled most of her high school community involvement hours already by planting trees as a tree specialist with the ReForest London depots. ReForest London is an organization that donates trees to local families, plants trees in parks and nature reserves, and conducts guided hiking tours around the city. Jenyvette also volunteers with a Days for Girls team in Mount Brydges where she helps to make reusable menstrual packages for girls and women in poverty. Feeling inspired yet?

Saving the world takes time, as Jenyvette can attest to. She needed a high school that could offer her a flexible schedule, but still provide quality educational standards. After having a negative experience with the structure of a classroom setting, Jenyvette turned to Virtual High School:

“I began searching for schooling alternatives with either higher education or more flexibility so I could move through high school effectively and efficiently. After discovering Virtual High School and reading the student spotlights, I was ready to enrol and managed to convince my parents soon thereafter.”

Now Jenyvette is able to divide her time between working on her high school courses, pursuing all of the hands-on learning experiences she gets through volunteering, and helping her family:

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been taking care of my grandmother who has dementia and have benefited from VHS’s flexible courses that allow me to access my schooling at different locations and times. This has significantly reduced my stress levels and allowed me to enjoy course work.”

As a result of her remarkable work ethic and passion for learning, Jenyvette completed her Grade 9 courses in April of 2021 and has already begun working on her Grade 10 courses at VHS. With her unwavering dedication to helping the planet, it comes as no surprise that her favourite subjects are science and mathematics. She’s interested in courses that encourage exploration and the discovery of solutions:

“I find it appealing that mathematics and science have no cultural or geographical boundaries and are intertwined with natural life systems.”

While she hasn’t quite determined which program she’d like to pursue in university just yet, she knows that she’d like it to involve a focus on sustainability. She has a long list of scientific avenues that pique her interest, including quantum physics, astronomy, the human genome, astrobiology, aerospace engineering, and neuroethology. We’re confident that no matter which pathway she chooses, she will exceed our highest expectations and leave us all in awe.

This summer, Jenyvette will continue her work with Days for Girls and ReForest London, but she’d also like to begin volunteering with Anova (an organization that provides safe shelters for abused women and their children) and the London Environmental Network (an organization that offers resources and workshops for businesses setting sustainability targets). In addition, Jenyvette will be landscaping another family’s yard, studying a newly approved drug for potential use in patients with Marfan Syndrome, and hopefully reuniting with her competitive softball team.

Phew. Be right back. We’ve got some work to put into our own summer plans if we want to be even half as productive as this AMAZING young woman.