For most students, that year fresh out of high school is for backpacking through Europe, moving forward into the work force ready to make some real money with no plans to ever look back, or to dive right into higher education.
But for Scott Langille that much anticipated year after high school was about giving back to the community, which had taught him so much about himself.
“The reason for my gap year off school is really to gain experience in the community, make up a little bit of money before I head off to university but most importantly I think is to get involved with different organizations and nonprofits in Prince Rupert and give back to them and support them in their missions. Because that’s really what allowed me to grow in the past few years here in Prince Rupert.”
Langille is currently involved with the Prince Rupert District Chamber of Commerce and is coordinating their Rising Star business mentorship program. Aside from the chamber he is also secretary treasurer of the Prince Rupert Toastmasters Club. Finally, on his long CV, he is volunteering as the stage manager of the upcoming community musical Disaster!.
When Langille would first stand up in front of a crowd of people at Toastmasters he couldn’t really figure out what to say. He was shy and lacking that extra push of confidence needed to express himself. As he stepped up for a table topic he was very nervous, shivering all over and sometimes his mind would go completely blank.
But Langille wanted to push ahead anyway. What he really wanted to learn was how to develop an opinion and what he actually cared about and valued. This was not the kind of thing academics had prepared him for.
Through impromptu topics and speeches he slowly began to figure out what were the topics that most mattered to him and how to articulate his vision for the world.
One year later he served as the Toastmaster of their open house — similar to an MC — and found himself addicted to talking to the group.
“I just wanted to talk more and more in front of the group. And I wanted to go up for another table topic to discuss just whatever it didn’t matter to me anymore at that point. I just I knew that whatever I was asked, I’d be able to speak on it. That’s one example of really what I’ve learned.”
Volunteering for his high school’s musicals helped him figured out what he loved to do.
“You might think that ‘oh, theatre is just specific to theatre’, but these are skills that you can use throughout your life. These experiences, learning how to communicate with others as a stage manager, or how to manage a team, that sort of thing are really vital to any career.”
|Scott Langille was mentored by Michael Gurney, general manager at the Lester Centre, in the Rising Stars program. There he learns about marketing and communications and is currently volunteering for the community musical. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)|
Langille’s journey of self-discovery through volunteering made him discover a passion for allowing others to learn outside of the classroom. Seeing what he could achieve allowed him to believe in the possibilities of what any young adult could achieve.
“This is why I’m involved with the Rising Stars program, because I want to give others that opportunity to learn and grow because I see potential in all those students. I’ve really been able to enjoy my experience and my time, but also learn so much and you really don’t get these kinds of experiences just in school.”
Despite all the opportunities for self-improvement and self-growth, what drives Langille to get up every morning are all the opportunities for how things could improve in Prince Rupert.
“My main focus is on business, commerce and entrepreneurship because I think there’s a lot of potential in this world for improvement. And that’s really what drives me.”
Right now, Langille has begun his own I.T. business in Prince Rupert which focuses on helping organizations utilize their databases in an efficient manner.
“I think in any business I see the potential for innovation, and to improve it and make it more efficient and more effective through I.T. related innovation. So that that’s why that’s what I want to learn in university at UBC.”
The message Langille hopes to relay to students is that it’s normal to feel mentally unprepared for that year right out of high school and to find ways to learn and self-discover beyond the classroom. For him the answers lied in Prince Rupert’s community.
“My recommendation to any high school student would be to get involved and just learn about what different organizations do, what their missions are, what they value. And this really gives you experience that will be super important in your later years and really matters to the community that you live in.”
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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