Alex van der Valk got a huge surprise Sunday afternoon in Bedford when she was crowned Canada's Luckiest Student, a prize worth more than $100,000.
It was a moment of pure shock because days earlier, van der Valk decorated her friend's house thinking her friend won the big prize.
"I honestly didn't believe it. We were supposed to surprise someone else, so I was like, 'Yeah, we'll plan this big surprise.' It's crazy, I'm speechless," said the 20-year-old Saint Mary's University student.
The title comes with a host of prizes, including a $20,000 GIC from CIBC, free groceries for a year, tuition for a year, a new car, a trip to Europe, a $5,000 clothing shopping spree, and $4,000 in concerts from Live Nation.
'Her work ethic matches her luck'
The contest, organized by the StudentLife Network, was open to students from virtually every Canadian high school, college and university.
Van der Valk has been participating in the contest — which involves completing online challenges — since August. Her name was then picked at random.
David Bourgeois, one of van der Valk's professors, says her work ethic matches her luck.
"Alex is the student you dream of having, she's focused. You know that she's working as hard outside the classroom as she does in the classroom," said Bourgeois.
"She clearly values her education and she's motivated to leave university with something in hand that allows her to better herself."
Van der Valk says she plans to be generous with her closest friends.
"Definitely, we'll go on a little shopping trip, especially Sydney and Samantha since they had to keep quiet about the whole thing."