Cowichan Valley Open Learning Collective ‘ambassador’ named Student of the Month

Ryan Linehan earns award for demonstrating natural leadership

Flanked by CVOLC staff members Kevin van der Linden, Nate Boersen, Lisa Kellar and Neil Ellingson, Ryan Linehan receives his Student of the Month award from Rotary representatives Gregg Perry and Kim Barnard. 
(Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Flanked by CVOLC staff members Kevin van der Linden, Nate Boersen, Lisa Kellar and Neil Ellingson, Ryan Linehan receives his Student of the Month award from Rotary representatives Gregg Perry and Kim Barnard. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Ryan Linehan admits he had a “tough time” at his previous school.

Linehan was attending a traditional public school in the Cowichan Valley, and things weren’t going well. With his father deployed to Egypt with the military for a year, it just got harder.

“I kinda crashed and dropped out,” he recalled.

When his dad came back, he suggested that Linehan try the Cowichan Valley Open Learning Co-Op a try. He started going for one day a week, then two, and eventually full-time.

“It dug me out of this hole I was in,” Linehan said.

Two years later, he is a few months from graduating, and was selected by school staff for the Rotary Club of Duncan’s Student of the Month Award for January.

“He’s an outstanding representative of our school,” said counsellor Lisa Kellar, who nominated Linehan for the award. “Calling him our ‘ambassador’ is perfect.”

Linehan is CVOLC’s representative on the District Student Advisory Council, and, according to Kellar, tends to take a leadership role there as well. He is also CVOLC’s “tech man,” she said, and helps organize several school activities, including Pink Shirt Day and grad festivities. Before he graduates, he also wants to create a mascot and logo for the school. It’s all part of helping students feel at home there.

“He’s very good at helping new students settle into the program,” Kellar added.

According to teacher Neil Ellingson, Linehan is an “exemplary student.”

“The last two years, everything he does, he does at the top level,” Ellingson said.

Linehan is finishing up the prerequisites now for the environmental technology program at Camosun College, and plans to eventually transfer to UVic to complete a degree.

Leadership comes naturally to Linehan, who has three younger brothers and spends a lot of time helping out on the family farm in Cobble Hill. As much as he will be missed by CVOLC when he graduates, he will miss the school as well.

“I’ve been to a lot of schools, and this has definitely been my favourite,” he said. “The teachers are all involved and dedicated to their jobs. It’s a lot more personal. The students and teachers all share a connection with each other. Other schools are more distant; here, it’s more of a family.

“That’s why I want to give back. This school has helped me so much. More than I can give back.”

cowichan valleyRotary

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amounts from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Most Read