Vijay’s Story

Stories of Impact

A local to Abbotsford, Vijay Manuel attended MEI Secondary many years ago where he exceled in sports, choir, and academics. He’s thankful that he was well supported by his parents, siblings, church community, and teachers throughout high school. During that time Vijay considered Optometry and Church Ministry as a future profession, but felt a strong calling to working with children as a teacher.
As many Abbotsford graduates do, Vijay applied for student awards through our Student Awards Program. He was chosen as the recipient of the Ritchie-Smith Feeds Company scholarship. Vijay recalls feeling incredibly thankful and honoured at the time. He even thinks back every single time he sees one of their trucks and always tells his kids about how grateful he is to the company for the award they gave him.

Finding his passions and making connections

Vijay chose to attend the University-College of the Fraser Valley, eventually moving on to Simon Fraser University to receive his Bachelor of Arts and Professional Development Program post-degree certificate in teaching. Although he looks back on his time at university as a wonderful experience where he learned a lot and felt well set-up for his professional life that followed, he remembers the transition from a highly social environment in high school to university as difficult at first. Because of this, he chose to immerse himself in his church youth group and serve as a youth leader throughout his university days. He began to play guitar and lead worship which opened up more doors including a worship movement which saw hundreds of young people gather weekly to worship together.

Returning to his roots

Now the Head of MEI Schools, Vijay sees his student award as an important financial catalyst and a confidence booster to help him get to where he is today. His education led to a job in the Abbotsford School District. Working under the influence of amazing educational leaders in the district, he was equipped for and given the opportunity to lead as vice principal and principal. This led to the opportunity to lead the largest independent school in British Columbia and to come full circle to the school he graduated from years ago, MEI.
Vijay says he has always followed God’s leading and will continue to do so. He couldn’t be more thankful to be raising his four kids with his wife Sarah, and serving at MEI, in his church, and in his community. When asked what his plans are for the future, he says if it was up to himself, he wouldn’t go anywhere.
For more information about the ACF Student Awards Program, click here.

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