Greg’s Story

20 February 2024News & Announcements, Stories of Impact

When Greg Neufeld was younger, he could never have guessed the trajectory his career would take, coming from a local family of carpenters. As he reflects on his youth, he’s so grateful for the community support that has led him to where he is today with his career and community involvement, recognizing that the unexpected turns in life have shaped a narrative he could have never envisioned during his early years.

DEVELOPING A PASSION FOR SPORTS & ART

Greg’s high school journey began at Mennonite Educational Institute (MEI). Embracing the diversity of experiences on offer, Greg delved into both sports and art, joining the basketball and volleyball teams and enrolling in drama and choir. While he enjoyed his many experiences, it was in the arts that he discovered his true passion.

Immersing himself in the art of choir and drama, Greg found a community that nurtured his artistic spirit. Choir, in particular, became a pivotal point in his high school experience, setting the stage for his future career. As part of the music program, he developed a passion for music as he travelled across BC to perform concerts with his school.

Despite the challenges that some high school students face, Greg felt fortunate to have a supportive environment at MEI. His classmates and instructors encouraged him to pursue his love for sports and music, but as graduation approached, Greg wasn’t sure what his future would look like.

LINKING FRIENDSHIP, PASSION, AND EDUCATION

During his high school convocation ceremony, Greg was awarded the Mark Redekop Memorial Award through Abbotsford Community Foundation’s Student Awards Program. The award, named in memory of Mark Redekop, who tragically passed away at the age of 19, was a close friend of Greg’s older brother. Mark was an integral part of the MEI basketball team, and the award, an athletic scholarship, seamlessly tied in with Greg’s love for the sport. Winning Mark’s award held deep personal significance for Greg and his family in many ways.

Winning the award was a moment of surprise, shock, and immense pride for Greg. Despite not being a straight-A student, the award bridged connections between friendship, shared passion, and the pursuit of post-secondary education.

BUILDING SKILLS AND LASTING FRIENDSHIPS

With the Mark Redekop Memorial Award, Greg ventured into his post-secondary education journey at Columbia Bible College (CBC). He chose to attend an institution that would continue to foster his love for sports and music, as well as provide a platform for personal growth. Greg continued his pursuit of basketball and music during his time at CBC, building on the skills and expertise he learned in his earlier years at MEI.

While navigating the challenges of post-secondary education, Greg found a supportive community that echoed the camaraderie of his high school years. The positive experience of those two years laid the foundation for lasting friendships, and Greg remains connected with friends from that time to this day.

FROM CANADIAN IDOL TO COMMUNITY BUILDER

Fast forward to adulthood and Greg Neufeld is now a full-time musician who has competed on two seasons of Canadian Idol, a testament to the impact of the support he received from his community throughout high school and his post-secondary education. Specializing in events and weddings, Greg has played thousands of shows throughout Canada and the US. Beyond his musical pursuits, he actively contributes to his community.

Greg is now an integral part of ACF’s Golf Committee, channelling his love for the sport into meaningful initiatives. Being involved in fundraising efforts and understanding the impact of these contributions on the community is a source of pride for him. Additionally, he serves on another golf committee for Youth Unlimited, showcasing his commitment to the well-being and growth of the younger generation. Remaining true to his roots, Greg expresses his love for Abbotsford by often saying, “I love this community, and I love being a part of it.”

THE POWER OF MENTORSHIP AND SUPPORT

In expressing his gratitude, Greg acknowledges the pivotal role played by Dr. Larry Nickel, his music and drama teacher at MEI. It was Mr. Nickel’s unwavering belief and encouragement that fueled Greg’s musical aspirations from a young age. Greg credits him as an amazing teacher and mentor, without whom he might not have become a musician.

Greg also extends his thanks to his parents, who, despite not having a musical background, sup-ported his love for music. A black electric Fender guitar gifted by his father in grade 6 catalyzed his musical journey, and Greg is forever grateful for that.

From the halls of MEI, to Canadian Idol, to the stages where he now performs, his journey is a testament to the power of community support and education. In looking to the future, Greg is looking forward to more writing and recording, expressing a desire to build on his previous al-bum. While he may not know what exactly lies ahead, we’re confident his passion for music and community service will continue.

He also started his own award with ACF this year to support young people pursuing a career in music.

To learn more about how we continue to support graduating students through our Student Awards Program, click here.

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