2020 RAYS scholars now at university

 In Community

This year, RAYS (Resources for Area Youth Success) received a total of 13 scholarship applications from university-bound students and awarded three $20,000 scholarships, payable over four years. The recipients, three young women, graduated from three different area high schools are now pursuing their studies at three different universities.
All students completed an extensive application which included their scholastic standing, leadership and community involvement, work experience and plans for funding their university studies. Six students were chosen for socially distanced interviews to complete the selection process.
RAYS acknowledges the superb support of the secondary school guidance counsellors whose advocacy for their students and our RAYS Scholarship is in- valuable.
The start of these university careers has been unusual for each of the recipients – virtual learning being the norm. While this is not what they had hoped university would be, all are coping – self-discipline being the common challenge. And all praise their professors as awesome and constantly looking for ways to be more effective. A brief profile of each recipient follows.

Eden Lloyd

A graduate of Central Dufferin High School, Lloyd’s interest in human motivation and psychology led her to London, Ontario and University of Western Ontario to study psychology, with thoughts of a career in criminal investigation.
Not only did the courses offered at Western appeal to her, Lloyd fell in love with the campus during her orientation week visit. “I felt at home here, right away,” she says. Unfortunately, she has yet to experience residence life. She is attending classes virtually, from home in Creemore, while hoping to be in residence next semester. Meanwhile, she has reached out to classmates through social media and has begun to make new friends.
Her biggest adjustment she says is getting used to doing everything online by herself. “Technology is your friend sometimes, but it can be a challenge,” she adds. There is no doubt she is a young woman who has learned what it takes to persevere, and she is up for the challenge in this next chapter of her life.

Ella McLean

McLean developed a passion for animals at a young age, raising and caring for them on the family’s Nottawa property. Throughout her four years at Collingwood Collegiate Institute, she worked part-time for a local veterinarian. To pursue her dream career, she enrolled in the pre-veterinary science program at University of Prince Edward Island.
It was obvious to the interview team that McLean had the self-discipline and time management skills needed to succeed in this rigorous program. She knew from experience that she enjoyed and, thrived in smaller community settings. UPEI came highly recommended for the structure of its program and offered the perfect environment for her.
Entering the Maritime provinces’ COVID bubble, meant that she was required to quarantine for 14 days prior to entering residence. She and her mother drove to PEI, rented a cottage at the seaside where they self-isolated. This entailed many hours staring at a beautiful beach, which was, sadly, off limits to them. She is now happily ensconced in residence, which she describes as, “really nice, apartment-style with large rooms.” Studies are going well but McLean notes, “Virtual learning means I have to be super organized with chemistry lab being pretty intense.”
RAYS Board of Directors would like to thank the generous donors who funded the three 2020 scholarships. The Board also congratulates these outstanding students and looks forward to following their university days and future careers with interest.

May Black

New Lowell resident May Black, a graduate of Stayner Collegiate Institute was accepted into the Community Music program at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo.
Laurier is the only Canadian university to offer an undergraduate program in Community Music.
“It’s a flexible course,” she says, which still allows her to pursue studies in piano, her primary instrument, and provides career possibilities ranging from teaching to music therapy.
Black pursued the Royal Conservatory of Music program for years which she found regimented compared her university program.
This environment has reignited her passion for music and affirmed her choice of study.
“Being a small school, teachers get to know us,” she says.
Courses are delivered either in lecture format when everyone is on line at the same time and as pre-recorded lectures to watch on your own time.
Black is in residence, in a double room to herself and following the university’s strict protocols of wearing a mask everywhere, sanitizing hands frequently and not having any guests in residence. While her days are spent on line in her room, she recognizes the importance of getting outside at some point every day, “to do something.”

Anna Hobbs chairs the communications committee for RAYS.

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