Surrey student sweeps up awards

Surrey SFU student Japreet Lehal. - Evan Seal / The Leader
Surrey SFU student Japreet Lehal.
— image credit: Evan Seal / The Leader

It's been a good year for Japreet Lehal.

The 18-year-old first-year Simon Fraser University student has won $48,000 in scholarships based on academic performance while attending Princess Margaret Secondary School.

He was also given the Governor General's Academic Medal for his scholastic achievements and was named one of the Surrey Board of Trade's Top 25 under 25.

Lehal has been a community keener from a young age, embarking on volunteering.

With a passion for music, he taught himself to play the Dholak, an Indian instrument, and started singing Punjabi songs with his father.

At Princess Margaret, he was an executive member of the Human Rights Club, and in cooperation with the Science Club, was able to raise more than $1,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society's Daffodil Campaign. He also developed a website for his school, which was used to support a $35,000 technology infrastructure grant for the school.

During that time, he was also a volunteer for the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation and became part of the committee "Youth for SMH."

His love for music hasn't waned.

Now, Lehal has his own record label called JPS Punjabi Records.

"On that, I just try to raise issues that are in the community, or worldwide," Lehal says.

At SFU, Lehal is a member of both the Senate Undergraduate Awards Adjudication Committee and the Diverse Qualifications Adjudication Committee.

Lehal says the trick to keep up his pace is to take the necessary down time.

"You can't have a planner with you all of the time," Lehal said. "I do relax and I sit down, and that's when I get ideas to do different things."

He keeps his volunteer work aimed at things he loves doing, he says, that way it never feels like work.

Lehal is currently working on his bachelor of science at SFU and plans to carry on to medical school.

Lehal also writes a regular youth column that is published regularly in The Surrey-North Delta Leader.

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