This is the 24th in our series of stories celebrating the outstanding accomplishments of youth in our community. These inspirational young adults are enriching our lives with their passion and commitment to the betterment of society.
While reading the Oak Bay News a couple of months ago, I came across an article about Nikki Frazer. Nikki, a grade 12 student at Oak Bay High School, had just been announced as a finalist in the Start Something with Alesse scholarship contest thanks to her business proposal: Bee-utiful Fashion to Save the Bees. Her idea was to create an online store selling mainly bee-related fashion items, as well as ethically-sourced beeswax accessories like soap and candles, in order to raise money and awareness for the declining native bee population here in Canada – an issue she had become aware of after watching a TED Talk on the plight of bees.
After being selected to the top 10 finalists from more than 1,500 entries across Canada, Nikki’s proposal received over 1,000 votes in just 3 weeks. Nikki eventually finished 3rd in the For-Profit Category, helping to bring a renewed attention to this important issue along the way.
Inspired by her passion and ingenuity, I invited Nikki to be a part of our celebrating youth series. After meeting with Nikki at my constituency office last month it was clear that that Oak Bay News article was just a small sample of the passion and determination she possesses.
Born in Kamloops but raised in Victoria, Niki attended Sir James Douglas Elementary and Monterey Middle School before ending up at Oak Bay High. Currently in her final year of High School, Nikki is the definition of an all-around-student. She is currently taking a full course load, including Calculous, AP English, Chemistry and Band, as well as serving on Oak Bay Student Council, the Community Leadership group, and the Oak Bay High Interact Club, of which she is Vice President, all while maintaining an exceptional academic standing. While she has a passion for classical literature and creative writing, Nikki’s favorite areas are mathematics and theoretical physics. In fact, she will be attending the University of Toronto next fall to do a double major in mathematics and physics.
Outside of school, Nikki volunteers with the UVic Seniors Program, where she teaches seniors how to use social media outlets such as Facebook, Gmail and Twitter, and with Disaster Aid Canada, where she organized over 100 Disaster Relief Kits to be sent out to disaster areas, such as Nepal. Through her work with Disaster Relief Canada Nikki also organized a team of youth volunteers for the Soap for Hope program. Once a week during the summer, and once a month during the school year, the group gets together to collect mini soap, shampoo and conditioner bottles donated from local hotels in order to create hygiene kits for local shelters and international organizations.
When not volunteering, Nikki has delivered newspapers for the Times Colonist (a job she discontinued last month to allow more time for exam studying) and has worked with the SMUS International Student Program, as a Canadian Ambassador for Japanese students, and with the Victoria International Education Centre (VIEC), assisting in ESL Classroom lessons and acting as a tour guide during fieldtrips.
While Nikki is clearly an exceptionally accomplished and determined young woman, perhaps what struck me most in my meeting with her was how modest and humble she was about her accomplishments. It was clear that she truly enjoys and believes in every project she has been involved with, and that her passion for community involvement is a key driving force behind her many endeavors. In fact, it was this humble nature that had her casually skimming over one of her more personal, but equally impressive, accomplishments: Nikki recently earned her Black Belt in Traditional Japanese Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate.
Beginning her Karate practice learning Shotokan Karate, the more common Karate form practiced in the Western Hemisphere, Nikki won two competitions and earned her 4th degree Brown Belt before switching over to the more traditional Shorin Ryu form. She currently trains under Sensei Masanbou Kikukawa, dedicating 12 hours a week to her Shorin Ryu practice.
Shorin Ryu has a strong emphasis on patience and respect. While practitioners train their bodies to be able to defend themselves physically, they also train their minds to never have to —instead developing the strength of mind to walk away from a fight, unless given no other choice.
While listening to Nikki talk about Shorin Ryu it became clear to me that the patience, respect and strength of mind that she has developed through her practice has benefited her in all aspects of her life and will continue to benefit her throughout her future. In fact, she is already looking for a Sensei in Toronto that share’s Sensei Kikukawa’s philosophies so that she can carry on her practice while at U of T. And when I asked her about her career goals for the future, she said she would like to be in a Management position at a physics company and have her own Dojo (Karate School).
Nikki’s humble nature, strength of mind and passion for life will no doubt lead her to a brilliant future. And one day Shorin Ryu students may be vying for the chance to practice under Sensei Frazer.