TRURO, N.S. – The call came both quickly and unexpectedly, with two words that will change Tara Cashen’s life: “You’re in.”
“I spent the next 10 minutes practically hyperventilating,” said Cashen.
The Grade 12 Cobequid Educational Centre student, was back in Nova Scotia Sunday after a weekend of meetings in Toronto where she faced her final round of Loran Scholarship interviews.
In Dartmouth, waiting to pick up her brother before heading home to Truro, Cashen stopped at a nearby store for a bite to eat. That’s when the call came.
Along with two other students in Nova Scotia, Cashen was selected as one of 34 recipients of the Loran university scholarship valued at $100,000.
“When she said those words, so many things raced through my mind – such as if she had the right number,” said Cashen.
“Then I thought about the incredible people I had met during the Loran meetings and got excited that I would actually be able to see and work with them again.”
To be truthful, Cashen had her doubts.
“The entire flight home, I was pretty much scripting what I was going to say when I got the ‘No’ call.
“I wanted to be confident about how the interviews went, but I knew sometimes these things don’t work out, and it’s much easier to have your expectations low rather than expecting this opportunity and then losing it.”
She wasn’t the only nervous one.
“I was hopeful,” said Chris Cashen, Tara’s father.
“There were a lot of top-notch students going for the scholarship, and I kept thinking about how there were 88 finalists, but only 34 would be accepted, so I definitely felt some mixed emotions. My mother was sure she would win though, and was brimming with pride when she did.”
On hearing the news, he was “over the moon.”
“I was just crazy happy, it was very emotional for me. I called a friend of mine out in British Columbia at 5:45 in the morning as I had to share the news with someone. She was pretty thrilled too.”
With this achievement, Tara is rethinking her future.
“The strange thing is, just from being there last weekend and talking to scholars, I have practically crossed Waterloo off the list,” said Tara, who was considering University of Waterloo in Ontario for the next stop on her education journey.
“It had been my number-one school choice since Grade 11. I went there for a campus tour, I used to do all their math contests. But the fact that doors are so open now, it’s forcing me to look at all the opportunities out there.”
Her father is confident Tara will do great, wherever she goes.
“I guess you’re always nervous for your kids, but she knows what she’s doing,” Chris says.
“I trust her completely, so I figure she will make good decisions with her life and schooling. I have a lot of confidence in that and in her.”
Also in the running for the Loran Scholarship was local student Violette Drouin, who attends l'école acadienne de Truro. She received a $5,000 scholarship to attend the university of her choice.
In her ‘father’s footsteps’
TRURO, N.S. – Aside from academics and environmentalist work, Tara Cashen has taken up another pastime that hits close to the heart of her father, Chris.
“She runs too, which is my favourite thing,” he said.
The former church janitor was once an avid runner, persevering rain, snow, hurricanes and even White Juan.
After competing in the 2009 Boston Marathon, Chris suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and stroke. It not only ended his running career, it very nearly ended his life.
Unable to run himself, he’s proud to see his daughter take up the sport he loves, and is excited to see how it will turn out for her.
“Tara has run a few half-marathons so far, but I think she is planning to do a full run this summer,” he said.
“She always seems to win something though. I won a bottle of blueberry juice; that was my biggest win other than some medals, so she is going to far outdo me.
“She still hasn’t run Boston, so I have that over her,” he chuckled.