Whitehorse Daily Star

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A SPECIAL HONOUR – Jaedyn Smith, a Grade 12 student at Porter Creek Secondary School, says she was shocked to learn that she has earned the prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarship.

Student awarded scholarship worth $60,000

When Jaedyn Smith, a Grade 12 Porter Creek Secondary School (PCSS) student, started filling out applications to universities, she figured it couldn’t hurt to apply for any available scholarships.

By Stephanie Waddell on May 2, 2016

When Jaedyn Smith, a Grade 12 Porter Creek Secondary School (PCSS) student, started filling out applications to universities, she figured it couldn’t hurt to apply for any available scholarships.

If nothing else, the 17-year-old thought, she could practise the skills she will need in the coming years, such as essay-writing.

In the best-case scenario, it would mean some financial help in paying for her post-secondary education – a rather lengthy, expensive pursuit when you’re planning a career in medicine.

Smith has learned submitting those applications can yield some pretty amazing results.

She is one of 50 students across the country who will receive the Schulich Leader Scholarship worth $60,000 – at $15,000 per year for four years – when she begins her studies in science at Queens University in Kingston, Ont. next year.

“It’s pretty exciting,” she said in an interview last Thursday. “This scholarship helps quite a bit.”

A total of 25 Schulich scholarships for students going into a science, technology or math undergrad are available.

There are another 25 scholarships worth $80,000 over four years for those pursuing an undergraduate degree in engineering.

The scholarships are doled out by university partners with each school able to award two scholarships (one for science, math or technology and one in engineering).

The two partner universities who receive the most applications in a given year are then also able to dole out another two Schulich Leader Scholarships.

With Queens being one of the two to see the highest number of applicants, it means Smith is one of just four upcoming Queens freshmen to receive the scholarship.

Before Smith could even be eligible for the scholarship, she had to be nominated. Each high school across Canada can nominate just one of its upcoming graduates for the prestigious honour.

And to be eligible for it, students must demonstrate they meet at least two of the three criteria outlined. The criteria include academic excellence, leadership and financial need.

After learning about it while researching the scholarships available, Smith approached one of PCSS’s counsellors – Trevor Hale – wondering if the school nominated anyone.

It took little time for Hale to talk to school officials, who quickly confirmed Hale could go ahead with Smith’s nomination.

In a separate interview, Hale explained he nominated Smith knowing her “incredible work ethic”, something that has been evident since Smith’s first days at the school in Grade 8.

He said Smith’s work on school assignments goes well beyond the basic requirements, with Smith putting everything she can into her work.

“It’s refreshing for me to see that,” he said.

While Hale put in the nomination knowing Smith is worthy of the scholarship, he admits he was surprised when she was awarded it.

“It’s prestigious,” he said, pointing out it’s not a typical scholarship. “You’re up against the best of the best.”

For Smith, the news came as a shock.

She was sitting in her calculus class and noticed an email had come in from Queens.

Having applied there among a number of other schools, she’s on its mailing list, and assumed it was the university’s regular newsletter.

She opened the email to find out she was one of the four students accepted to also receive the scholarship.

“I had to reread it three times,” she said.

It didn’t take long for others in the class to notice she had received some important news, and to ask her if everything was OK.

“I’m more than OK,” Smith recalls telling the group before being excused from class to call her family.

On the phone, her voice was so emotional, her parents wondered what had happened.

“I guess I sounded pretty shaky,” Smith said. “It was really exciting.”

Smith admits Queens wasn’t her first choice for school initially.

With a number of friends making plans to go to the University of British Columbia (UBC), and it being closer to the Yukon than Ontario, she had thought if she was accepted, she would go there, though she applied to other schools as well.

After getting the email about the Schulich, her choice of universities has changed.

She was soon on the Queens website checking out all the clubs and social activities that are part of campus life, looking further at its honours science program she will be in and contemplating life in Kingston.

Two days after confirming her place at Queens and the scholarship, she received an email from UBC with an offer for another scholarship worth $40,000 over four years.

She could have opted out of Queens and selected UBC instead, but, as she explained, “I had gotten really psyched about going to Queens.”

Queens seems to offer a lot of what she’s looking for in a university.

It appears to have a good sense of community with a number of activities for students in addition to offering quality programs.

Still, she was pleased to have offers from two schools.

“It was nice to get recognized,” Smith said.

The Schulich requires students to maintain passing grades in all their classes to receive the $15,000 from the scholarship the following school year.

That compares to other scholarships requiring much higher grades to be maintained in order to receive future year funding.

This came as a relief to Smith. She has been able to keep her high school grades pretty high, but she acknowledged university will be a completely new experience and likely more challenging.

Ultimately, she wants her undergraduate degree in science to lead to medical school and a career as an obstetrician/gynocologist.

She first decided she wanted to pursue a career where she could help people and began looking at becoming a doctor.

When her stepsister was pregnant, she became interested in the subject, and has been considering it as a career option since.

It’s a field in health care, she pointed out, where doctors help bring life into the world, and that’s something she wants to be part of.

Comments (7)

Up 9 Down 0

Sara Tillett on May 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Congratulations Jaedyn! You have always been an exceptional student and an exceptional human being. You are highly deserving! All the best!

Up 22 Down 0

Gramps on May 3, 2016 at 2:31 pm

You have always been exceptional to your gramps. Now you are showing how exceptional you are to all. You are very precious and I love you so much. See you at grad!

Up 7 Down 34

Francis Pillman on May 3, 2016 at 10:15 am

School should be free for anyone who is serious. Great you got a scholarship. It just continues that divide.

Up 18 Down 0

Jane Smith on May 3, 2016 at 7:01 am

Congratulations Jaedyn.....I am so proud of you - in all you are and everything you put your heart into. I am in such an honourable position to be able to watch the progress of my darlng granddaughter. You are indeed a very special young woman who has so much to offer in all facets of your life. I am so excited for you and thrilled to be able to follow your journey and aspirations throughout your life. I love you dearly. Gramma J and D

Up 20 Down 0

PCSS-way to go!! on May 2, 2016 at 10:11 pm

Jaedyn, you deserve this!! Way to go. All of your hard work is paying off and you make our school shine with this news. Best of luck!!

Up 17 Down 0

Sharon Ritchie on May 2, 2016 at 6:20 pm

Very exciting news! Congratulations Jaedyn!

Up 15 Down 0

Sherri Armstrong on May 2, 2016 at 4:50 pm

Oh Jaedyn your Gramsy must be so happy. She always wanted to be a doctor or midwife and you are aiming for both. You were always so special to her and this is such a well deserved award that will be ever so helpful on your learning journey. All the best and I hope you have just a little bit of fun along the way too. You are going to love Queens.

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