Georges P. Vanier Secondary teacher Andrew Young has won the 2019 Alex Trebek Medal for Geographic Literacy.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society says Young is a teacher who goes above and beyond to teach his students a love of Canadian geography and as a result, is single-handedly keeping geography education alive in the Comox Valley.

The recipient of the medal receives $2,500 in prize money.

Young says because this medal holds special significance to him, he wanted to donate all of the money to the fight against cancer.

“I am incredibly privileged to be a recipient of the Alex Trebek medal,” says Young.

“In order to live up to the philanthropic spirit that Mr. Trebek exudes and to thank him for his tireless support of geographic education, I am donating the entire sum of this award to the British Columbia Cancer Foundation for the 2020 Ride to Conquer Cancer, for which Mr. Trebek has graciously allowed me to ride in on his behalf for his battle with pancreatic cancer.”

The society says Young is constantly working to increase his geographic knowledge and skills to teach more students about geography.

Over the past three years, he has created an online version of his Grade 12 geography course which is available to all three high schools in the Courtenay area.

This year, working alongside a biology teacher, he is piloting a geographical sciences course to highlight the environmental sciences aspects of geography and the impact of global climate change.

District Principal of the Comox Valley International Student Program, Greg Kochanuk says Young is one of the most talented teachers he has worked with.

“He is a brilliant, wonderful ambassador for geography education and simply one of the finest people I have ever met. Young is one of the most gifted, giving teachers I have encountered in my career, said Kochanuk.