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British Columbia Youth Big Winners


Four young people from Duncan (British Columbia) Christian Reformed Church were recently recognized for big accomplishments. Miriam Popma received top marks at Vancouver Island University (VIU) in Nanaimo, British Columbia, while the Groenendijk siblings– Danielle, Doug, and Megan–all racked up medals on the volleyball courts.

Popma, 20, earned the Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal, awarded for excellence in a certificate program combined with community service, from a field of 1,000 students. She was nominated by her teachers while completing the Professional Baking and Pastry Arts program at the school. Popma now works at the renowned Wickaninnish Inn on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

“Winning this award, as well as a chocolate competition last fall, helps confirm this is the right field for me,” said Popma.

In the Groenendijk family, volleyball is the name of the game. Fourteen-year-old Danielle Groenendijk just competed with the Vancouver Island junior girls’ volleyball team at the BC Summer Games, earning a bronze medal. She adds that to a silver medal recently earned at the Island’s high school beach volleyball open, where she represented Duncan Christian School (DCS).

Her brother Doug, 17, made the provincial under-19 boys’ volleyball team, a year ahead of most teammates. While he did not get to travel with the team to the national competition, where they placed third, he collected plenty of medals with his teams at DCS and the Victoria Volleyball Club. Add that to the gold medal he received as part of the provincial under-17 boys’ team last year, and it’s not surprising Doug will continue to play volleyball at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, next year.

Twenty-year-old sister Megan has been playing with VIU’s women’s volleyball team for two years while maintaining her spot as top academic athlete at the school. The team won provincial gold and national bronze medals this year.

Volleyball runs in the Groenendijk family. Older brother Cameron also played the sport, most recently with the men’s team at Redeemer University College in Ontario. “The support from [our] parents throughout the years has provided us with multiple opportunities to pursue and achieve our goals,” explained Megan.

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