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Flexibility works for Lucas

Connor Lucas is G.P. Vanier Secondary School’s Governor General’s Academic Medal winner.   - Photo by Renée Andor
Connor Lucas is G.P. Vanier Secondary School’s Governor General’s Academic Medal winner.
— image credit: Photo by Renée Andor

Connor Lucas was very busy with extracurricular activities during his time at G.P. Vanier Secondary School — but he still had time to excel academically.

In fact, Lucas did so well academically that he received the school’s Governor General’s medal for academic excellence.

Lucas was not the traditional high school student in the sense that he took all of his academic courses through distributed learning, (distance education), and went to Vanier for its acting and theatre opportunities.

Lucas notes the combination of schooling was a “good fit” for him.

“I worked on my own very well as far as academics went, especially with my mom helping me out, motivating me,” he explains. “And then I enjoyed the group atmosphere as well, working with other people and working with great instructors like Ms. (Lori) Mazey (Vanier theatre and improv teacher).”

Lucas says choosing a distributed learning model for his academics also allowed him more flexibility to pursue his passion for the arts extracurricularly.

“Because of this (learning method) I was able to — say if I was doing a musical, then I could take time off school essentially and focus on that, and then when the musical ends I could just work a little harder at school for the next couple weeks and catch up,” he said. Lucas was on Vanier’s team that won the Canadian Improv Games in 2010, and was involved in plenty of Vanier’s theatre productions.

Besides acting, he also plays violin and piano and sings. He was the runner-up at Performing Arts BC for Classical Voice earlier this year, and he’s part of the Cantiamo Chamber Ensemble in the Comox Valley.

Dance is another form of the arts Lucas is fond of; he has trained in ballet, jazz, tap, musical theatre and contemporary.

Lucas plans to head off to post-secondary for musical theatre, likely next year after he saves up some money by working in the Valley. He recently started a job at White Spot and he teaches classes at Pantuso Dance.

Lucas says he often doesn’t know how to take a compliment after a performance, and when he told that to someone, that person helped him figure out why he feels that way.

“They said ‘well maybe it’s because you just do it for yourself, and you don’t feel like it’s something that deserves a compliment because you’re really just doing it for you,’” recalls Lucas. “And it’s true, I just do it, it just, it’s a really great release — it really just makes me feel like I’m in the right place.”

As for his academic medal from the Governor General, Lucas is pleased.

“I’m very honoured. I’m proud of what I’ve done but I’m also, I’m really thankful to my teachers and my mom,” he says. “I’ve won awards in the past, but this is a big one.”

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