TRURO, N.S. – Violette Drouin, a Grade 12 student at l'école acadienne de Truro, was ecstatic when she received a surprise phone call in December.
She was told she had made the final running for the Loran Scholarship, a national scholarship valued at $100,000. Aside from this, she had only completed interviews the day before.
“I was really happy and proud of myself, but also really surprised,” said Drouin.
“When I applied at first, I hoped I would be in the running, but it was one of those things where I didn’t think it would happen. It’s the sort of thing you daydream about, but then it actually happens. It just doesn’t seem real.”
Reaching the finals was a big accomplishment for Drouin not only because she was selected out of 5,000 applicants across Canada – 250 of whom came from Nova Scotia – but also because she was the first student from l'école acadienne de Truro ever to make the scholarship’s finals.
Tara Cashen, a Grade 12 student attending Cobequid Educational Centre, will also be heading to Toronto in February for her final Loran interviews.
The Loran Scholarship focuses on students’ character, commitment to service and leadership potential, something Drouin has experience with. She co-founded the humanitarian club at her school, which recently donated $12,500 to help build schools in Ecuador.
With the possibility of being chosen for the scholarship, Drouin has begun looking at post-secondary schools, eyeing up University of Ottawa and McGill University.
“Right now, I really want to study literature and become an author,” she said of her future plans.
“I like to write fantasy and science fiction, and I really like J.K. Rowling’s work. She wrote Harry Potter when she was at rock bottom and it blew up into this huge thing, so that is really inspiring.”
Cashen received a similar call to Drouin’s in December, and is looking at the scholarship as an opportunity to do great things.
“I felt on top of the world,” said Cashen of reaching the finals.
“Especially after going to meet all of the interviewers and other semi-finalists, they did some incredible things. Just knowing this incredible group of people believes in you to go on and create and innovate is amazing.”
Cashen is co-president of the CEC student council, head of the school’s environmental club and is hoping to use the scholarship tuition assistance to attend University of Waterloo’s environmental engineering program.
At the beginning of February, Drouin and Cashen will meet up with the Loran finalists in Toronto for the last round of interviews before a selection is made for the scholarship.
“I’m both nervous and excited,” said Drouin of her final interviews.
“Obviously, I’m nervous because I have to try and present the best image of myself that I can, but I’m also excited because I think it’s going to be a really fun experience.”
For Cashen, the most valuable part of the Loran scholarship isn’t the tuition.
“Honestly, I think one of the cooler parts of winning would be the community that comes with it,” she said.
“It’s almost more valuable than having your tuition paid because there is a network to it. You get to meet people who have similar potential to you and you can work off each other.
“I’m more excited just to meet people and have those experiences.”
Of the 88 finalists, only 34 will be granted scholarships. Other than Drouin and Cashen, three Nova Scotian students are also in the finals.
Tara Cashen, a grade 12 student at Cobequid Educational Centre, made it to the finals of the Loran Scholarship selections, and hopes to use the scholarship to attend the University of Waterloo in Ontario.
- Valued at $100,000 over four years
- Includes $10,000 stipend, $10,000 tuition waiver, $10,000 in funding for internships globally, oneon-one mentoring with field professionals, annual Loran retreats and access to Loran alumni network
- Over 5,000 applicants nationwide; approximately 250 from Nova Scotia
- 88 finalists, five from Nova Scotia
- 34 Loran Awards will be granted
- Runnersup eligible for $5,000 finalist award
- Five students from the Truro area have reached the finals between 1996 and 2015
- Sarah Millman was CEC’s latest winner in 2014, and currently studies at University of Toronto