June 16th, 2024

National scholarships help grads take next step

By Dale Woodard on July 10, 2021.

Four local students have earned national honours as they graduate from high school.
Chinook High School students Rylee Wevers and Sydney Whiting and Catholic Central High Schools’ Joshua Kroker and Declan Sander were winners of four-year renewable $2,500 Ted Rogers Scholarships for the Class of 2021, handed out late last month.
A total of  26 students across Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan were selected for the scholarship in recognition of their community leadership and volunteerism and helping support the students post secondary studies this fall.
More than $700,000 in scholarships have been awarded to nearly 300 youth across the prairies in the five-year history of the program
Whiting was able to share the news of the award with her colleagues and family.
“I was ecstatic,” she said. “I had the opportunity to be in the room and hear the news with some of my colleagues from the YMCA and my parents. They way they did the ceremony this year with it all being virtual, everyone who was invited was a winner. But it was exciting to hear and quite a privilege to be able to celebrate and have that honour moving forward into university.”
The COVID-19 pandemic of the past 15 months made Whiting’s senior year a challenge.
“It was a definitely a strange Grade 12 year, for sure,” she said. “This felt like a capstone to everything. Having such a tumultuous year and then applying for these scholarships and still working on volunteer efforts and the community trying to do things virtually isn’t quite the same. But trying to ignite that same spirit was a challenge.”
Now, Whiting heads to the University of Lethbridge in the fall for political science and is also joining the university’s global citizenship cohort for environment and culture.
“I’m infusing two passions between the study of government and politics and for the environment in line with climate activism. I’m excited.”
As he gets set to take his studies to the other side of the country at St. Francis Xavier University in Halifax, Central High graduate Kroker noted every bit of monetary assistance helps.
“I can’t stay in Lethbridge to study,” he said. “The program I wanted is the program I wanted since I was in Grade 10 and it’s in Nova Scotia. So I have to go there and study and that’s pretty expensive for me. It’s a big budget, so little scholarships like this and other monetary donations means a lot and it helps me secure my future for that dream.”
Kroker will study public policy and governance, hoping to get his bachelor of arts.
“Hopefully after that I can pursue law and see where life takes me,” he said.
For Wevers, the award was a vote of confidence in her future. 
“It’s not just about the money and the scholarship. It’s knowing people are investing into my future and believe in what I can do.”
Wevers will also attend the U of L, studying for an undergrad in psychology and bachelor of arts with plans to go to law school afterward.
“I feel like I’ll be able to give a lot of people a voice and that’s important,” she said.
Wevers  felt doing her schooling online last year due to the pandemic will help her take her next academic step.
“I think having online schooling will set me up for university because it’s more independent,” she said. “But the pandemic taught me a lot. I was very isolated, so I was able to focus on myself and put my priorities straight of what I want in life. I think it was a positive as much as there was so much negative going on with the pandemic. I think I came out of the other side with a strong sense of self. I definitely came out with a pretty positive experience.”
Sander, an active volunteer in the community, said it was “a roller coaster of emotions” in learning of winning the award.
“For me, there are two aspects this really helps me with,” he said. “One is definitely the monetary value this award brings and the second is to help me continue with a lot of the volunteer work I do within my community. It validates a lot of the work I’ve done in my community and it makes me want to do this more.”
Sander does volunteer work with Big Brothers as well as L’Arche Lethbridge in addition to numerous other organizations.
Working with Big Brothers set the table for the rest of his volunteer work.
“It’s been a big part of my life and now I’m on the National advisory council and I’m really enjoying this new role,” said Sander. “I feel like I’m learning a lot more about the organization and how it operates and I feel like I’m getting a real voice in what is being done and having opportunities like this scholarship allows me to go within these organizations and really feel like I’m making a difference, that I’m able to really represent my values and the values of people I work with and have been around.”
L’Arche Lethbridge is an organization for people with development disabilities.
“I cook once a week for them, but I also work on the public relations committee and have done many fundraisers for them,” said Sander.
Sander also recently chaired the Youth Advisory Council along with Kroker.
“We hosted a COVID-19 recovery forum where we were able to speak with a bunch of different people in Lethbridge and leaders who are guiding us through this, like Rachel Harder and Luke Palmer (so) from the City, we were able to gauge how they think we can recover economically, socially and medically.
“All my work is so different ways and I think it makes it more meaningful. I’m at that age where I’m discovering what I’m really passionate about. It’ll be interesting for me next year to see which organizations I go with.”
Next up for Sander is heading to the University of Calgary to study in the Commerce program.
“Going to Calgary and doing business there is going to be pretty amazing because I feel like there are so many different aspects of business that appeal to me,” he said.
After that, Sander – who is working at Farming Smarter this summer – is keeping his options open.
“I’m not sure what I want to do after that, but it might include continuing to work with a lot of the organizations I work with, whether it’s a consulting firm or whether its in a law office.”

Follow @dwoodardherald on Twitter

Share this story:

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

As for me, getting a scholarship is cool. I also get it because I write divine essays. Writing services, which I choose using the site https://www.writingjudge.com/, help me in this regard. Yes, it really works, try it!