Students receive Tessa Beauchamp memorial scholarships
By Alistair Burns
The B.C. Catholic
Caption: High school students Dalton Anderson (left) from St. Patrick's, Olivia Johnson from Immaculata, and Delani Buchan from Holy Cross receive $500 scholarships from the Tessa Beauchamp Foundation Jan. 19. All three exemplified Tessa's core values of hard work, community service, and dedication to extra-curricular activities. (Photo: Linda Buchan / Special to The B.C. Catholic)
Dalton Anderson has been elected student prime minister of his high school, and he has been the captain of his school's basketball team, but the Grade 12 student at St. Patrick's Secondary School in Vancouver is most proud of being awarded a Tessa Beauchamp memorial scholarship Jan. 19.
"I felt really honoured to receive this award, because so many people held Tessa in such high regard," said Anderson. He spoke to The B.C. Catholic shortly before tip-off at a basketball practice.
"I have the same kind of values that I've read about Tessa: hard-working, passionate not only about sports but extra-curricular activities."
Beauchamp, a gifted basketball athlete and graduate of Holy Cross Regional High School, died of cancer in January 2012.
Two other students in addition to Anderson: Olivia Johnson from Immaculata in Kelowna, and Delani Buchan from Holy Cross in Surrey, each won a $500 scholarship. The awards were presented at the 2013 B.C. Catholics basketball tournament held at Holy Cross Secondary.
"It was humbling in a lot of ways that someone like Tessa can have an impact on people," recalled Steve Beauchamp, her father.
While not on the selection committee for the scholarships, Steve did lay out the ground rules. The teenagers had to demonstrate the same values his daughter held: a high level of community service, an ability to overcome adversity, and dedication to extra-curricular participation.
Anderson remembered his election campaign for student prime minister at St. Patrick's. Unlike an old-school "Windy City" politician, he didn't make any outlandish promises. Instead, he ran on a simple platform which promised "student council would be really active."
He kept true to his word: last Halloween his council worked alongside the film appreciation club to show the comedy classic "Ghostbusters," and handed out candy to fellow students.
In addition to his political activities, Anderson, as Tessa used to, nails rainmakers (three-point shots) on the court, and he's the captain of the St. Patrick's Celtics.
"We're a fast-break team; we don't have to force shots," the forward stated. In his limited spare time, he volunteers as a basketball coach in a recreation league. However, he plans to swing for the fences as a baseball player in university.
Gianni Bittante, a former teacher and coach at Holy Cross, now the principal of St. Mary's Elementary in Chilliwack, gave the opening address for the bursary presentation.
He described how Beauchamp led the Crusaders to four consecutive championships at the B.C. Catholics.
"Tessa was here last year, near the tournament's end, in a hospital bed, to watch her sister, Rachel, win her first title," Bittante remembered.
Steve plans to continue offering bursaries through the Tessa Beauchamp foundation. Scholarships were recently given out at both the Surrey Firefighter Senior girls tournament and the annual 26th Street girls tournament at York House School.
His late daughter was even mentioned in the provincial government's 2013 throne speech, read by Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon on behalf of Premier Christy Clark.
"We pause to remember those who made us cheer: Sarah Burke, Tessa Beauchamp, and Paul Cyr," the lieutenant-governor stated in the legislature Feb. 12.
Other than to provincial politicians, just how far did Tessa's influence reach? Even African basketball players will soon cherish her memory.
Steve explained that a court, paid for by two people inspired by Tessa's example, is being planned for villagers in Ndanai, Kenya.
The court will be constructed on the grounds of the Ndanai Small Home For the Physically Challenged, which has no outside playground. Physiotherapists care for 31 children inside the facility.
"This is a very special legacy for our precious Tessa. We can only imagine the far-reaching impact she will have on the lives of these underprivileged children," Steve stated on the Tessa Beauchamp Foundation's website.
"The way she led her life, people gravitated to her," her father remembered. "There's not a day that goes by that you don't miss her."
Information on Tessa Beauchamp memorial scholarships is available at www.tessabeauchamp.org.