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June 20, 2013
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And the winner is…

The true north, strong and free – Oh Canada, stand tall and be proud! The graduating class of 2013 is of the finest caliber of dedicated, selfless and inspiring leaders we have ever seen!

This year we were absolutely flooded with over 130 scholarship submissions, spanning from all over the country highlighting the amazing things our students have been achieving all year long. We would like to take a moment to recognize and applaud every student that applied for our three scholarships. We read so many triumphant tales of heroism and touching stories of kindness that it was nearly impossible to select a winner.

We’d like to share with you all students that were chosen as finalists and winners. As you read these stories I am certain that you will agree that they have all truly made a tremendous impact on their school and community and we salute their amazing leadership.

Graduation – Making Grad Great Scholarship

WINNER – Megan Kiminski
Inspiring teacher – Lynee Lefebvre
Assumption Junior-Senior High  School – Cold Lake, AB

Contribution:
Planning a graduation is substantial undertaking for a team. Try stepping into Megan’s shoes and work as student grad committee of one. As a truly remarkable representative of her graduating class, Megan worked with parents and organized other students to incorporate their ideas and put a personal touch on the celebration. She also organized fundraisers and a Walk of Fame.

Quote: Having the opportunity to work on grad has been truly amazing and  has shown me that I can complete many tasks in a short amount of time and  has allowed me to appreciate the hard work that goes into planning events.


Finalist – Laura MacTaggart
Inspiring teacher – Jennifer Morrison
Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame High School – Red Deer, AB

Contribution: Laura helped plan her school’s ceremony, fundraisers and graduation banquet. She even helped her class raise $130,000 for the Red Deer Suicide Prevention and Educational Services. A fellow student was lost to suicide so raising funds for this organization had a personal meaning for her this year. She is also working with the city to create a “Grad Forest” to promote environmental stewardship in the community as well as give grads a spot to return to in
upcoming years.

Best Quote:
Most graduations focus more on the glamour, fancy rides and the fancy outfits. I hope this idea will make my school and others in Alberta think about what they are able to give back to the environment.


Finalist – Taylor Patriquin
Inspiring teacher – Andy Wong
Carson Graham Secondary School – North Vancouver, BC

Contribution: Taylor connected with students in a unique project that called for t-shirt designs and colour schemes through a social media campaign. Once the design was finalized, Taylor worked with the manufacturer to produce 120 t-shirts and collected $1,300 towards the project.

Quote:
Managing details and solving each problem as it arises allowed me to further develop as a dedicated student leader. Through this initiative I had the opportunity to connect individually with students in my grade class.


Finalist – Tanjit Nagra
Inspiring teacher – Jodi Samms
Glenlawn Collegiate Institute – Winnipeg, MB

Contribution:
Student Council President and class Valedictorian, Tanjit tried to involve her fellow Grade 12 students with surveys and polls to get everyone’s opinion; supplying them with updates via social media and producing a slideshow to be shown at the banquet. She was also on the Spirit Week committee as well as the Peer Tutoring program. Tanjit was confronted with tragedy at the beginning of the school year in losing a friend in a car accident. Her friend only attended the school for one year but Tanjit channeled her grief into planning grad and other volunteer duties at school so that her friend’s memory would stay alive.

Quote:
I’m trying my best to keep her memory alive, especially when planning Grad; I want to honour her, but not make anyone upset, I want to celebrate her life and everything she has given and left the graduating class with.

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Athletics –  Sweat Your Way To Grad Scholarship

WINNER – Austin Ericson
Inspiring Vice Principal- Riley Quance
Ecole Lacombe Composite High School – Lacombe, AB

Contribution: The MVP for his football team is only the start, Austin’s participated in many school and community sports: swimming, football, cross-country running, soccer, badminton, basketball, track and field, baseball, hockey. Off the field he has shown himself to have the heart of a champion, traveling to three different orphanages to teach. Rounding out his achievements, Austin was also named Class Valedictorian and has a 98.8% GPA. and plans on attending medical school with the goal of always staying involved in sport.

Quote: I made a point of noticing players when they worked extra hard and gave them words of encouragement when they were having a difficult time. I have experienced success in both athletics and academics through effort.


Finalist – Simone Bain 

Inspiring teacher – Kayla Smart
Archbishop O’Leary High School – Edmonton, AB

Contribution: Simone won city championships and placed third in provincials for basketball in 2011. Though lighter than others in terms of trophies collected, Simone’s application is noteworthy because she credits coaches for all her development. She recognizes and nurtures the talents of others – knowing with a little nudge from a coach or a friend, that person can discover their passion or hidden talent.

Quote: While not receiving as many awards or medals as others might have, I never stop improving or coaching others, and I never let myself forget that the game comes first. No disheartened heart could keep me from playing and being that constant voice on the bench, cheering and encouraging. We can all do something for the game, even if we bench warm.


Finalist – Heidi Lehner 
Inspiring teacher – Katja Davidson
Beaverlodge Regional High School – Beaverlodge, AB

Contribution: Assistant Capitan for the Girls hockey team for last 4 years, Heidi’s team placed third in provincials last year. Switching to basketball this year she found the transition to be challenging, but she kept persevering. A natural athletic, Heidi also plays badminton and competes in track and field. She has won the Rutherford Scholarship in 2011 and 2012 which requires a GPA of 80% or higher.

Quote: Without sports and the coaches who volunteer their time for us, I would never have become the strong, independent, confident, hard worker and team player I am today. It is never about “I” it is about the gratitude and satisfaction of overcoming an obstacle and fighting together as a team. That is the true meaning of an athlete.

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Arts – Acting Out Scholarship

WINNER – Dylan Keogh
Inspiring teacher – Jim Danino
Vincent Massey High School – Brandon, MB

Contribution
: Involved with theatre at both school and in his community, Dylan’s played every part – he’s been an actor, dancer, singer and even costume/set designer. He’s also a visual artist and his work won in its category in a city wide art show. Dylan uses his talents to design ads for the closed-circuit televisions at his school. Teacher Jim Danino’s reference letter says that Dylan’s best asset is his ability to digest advice or criticism and apply that information adeptly to his work.

Quote: I hope to make a career out of working in animation or filmmaking and I hope that this scholarship will help me take the courses that will allow me to achieve my goals.


Finalist – Amanda Krystal
Inspiring teacher –
Theresa Webber

Magee Secondary School – Vancouver, BC

Contribution:
Amanda has had to overcome immense adversity in her personal life this year – her grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, her grandmother was forced to move into a care facility due to Alzheimers, and her best friend died of breast cancer. Just when everything appear to be at its worse, life became even more dire – her sister became ill and was in the hospital for five months. Amanda fell into a depression, but she never gave up. Amanda tried out for a school play and won the lead in a Hans Christian Anderson play. As a perfect example of art imitating life, the story was about an ugly duckling that overcomes great obstacles to transform into a Swan. Theatre provided Amanda with the escape from reality she needed and later got involved in dance and musical theatre.

Quote: Theatre began as an escape from reality and has morphed into my greatest passion. It has taught me to be confident in everything I do and to love myself, and that is the most important lesson of all.


Finalist – Kaida Kobyika -
Inspiring teacher – Christine Teplitsky

Strathcona High School – Edmonton, AB

Contribution
: While Strathcona High School is known for being a powerhouse in athletics, Kaida is a sign of how the school is quickly becoming renown for its drama program and involvement in the arts community. She is an art student and loves painting. She started doing theatre make-up behind the scenes alongside some of her friends in the drama program. She came into her own this year as she did the makeup for a play about eating disorders – the burns, bruises, scars, stretch-marks she created helped to transform the cast.

Quote: The success of the musicals and OneActs give every student in our school enormous pride in the school, and every year it is a mad dash to see who can help out in the play- behind the scenes, selling tickets, or selling liquorice at intermission- any part they can find.


Finalist – Monica Chen
Inspiring teacher – Robin Shier
Moscrop Secondary School – Burnaby, BC

Contribution: Monica demonstrates a passion for playing music – proving that it can be  an escape and an outlet at the same time. Leader of her school’s music council and organizer for musical fundraisers and events. Outside of school she volunteers playing music at her church and giving music therapy to stroke patients. This student is an Assistant Concert Master Violin with the City Youth Symphony Orchestra and is going on to the UBC School of Music and Orford Music Academy.

Quote: I love playing within a group; listening to the other instruments’ colours and melodies weave together in a harmonious piece is definitely one of the greatest pleasures in life.

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