Aboriginal high school students from across the country are among the winners of the 2006 Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation’s excellence awards. The award recognizes outstanding students for their leadership skills, community involvement, academic achievement and interest in innovation.
“The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is very proud to salute the entrance award recipients and looks forward to celebrating their continued achievements,” said Gérard Veilleux, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
There are three levels of excellence awards: national ($5,000, renewable for up to 3 years, for a possible total of $ 20,000), provincial/territorial ($4,000, renewable for up to 3 years for a possible $16,000) and local (one-time award of $ 4,000). The awards will be used towards the cost of studies at any Canadian university or college this fall.
“These students come from vastly different backgrounds, cultural influences and interests, but what they all have in common is the significant contribution they have already made to their communities and the potential to become some of Canada’s premier community leaders,” said Norman Riddell, the Foundation’s executive director and chief executive officer.
The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private, independent organization created by an act of Parliament in 1998. It encourages Canadian students to strive for excellence and pursue their postsecondary studies. The Foundation distributes $340 million in the form of bursaries and scholarships each year. Since its inception, it has awarded 670,000 bursaries and scholarships with a total value of $ 2 billion, to Canadian post-secondary students.
CharbonneauSinéad Charbonneau (National)
Sinéad is a Métis student, living in Medicine Hat, Alberta. She is one of 100 students to receive a National Excellence Award from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. She will receive a cash award of $5,000, renewable for up to three additional years (to a maximum of $20,000).
Sinéad is an energetic and dedicated leader whose community service has focused on social justice and environmental issues. In 2004, while living in Victoria, she and the other members of Students for a Free Tibet Victoria organized a candlelight vigil at the legislature in support of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a Tibetan monk facing a death sentence in China.
As a member of the Streamkeepers, she helped to organize an environmental awareness event that attracted more than 700 people and participated in the cleanup of two polluted streambeds that were home to spawning salmon.
In recognition of her significant commitment to service, Sinéad received a Volunteer Victoria Community Achievement Award.
Sinéad moved to Medicine Hat in 2005, she immersed herself in the life of her new school, creating Medicine Hat High School’s first paper recycling program and becoming a very active youth representative on the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Advisory Committee.
This year, Sinéad is particularly proud of her accomplishments as head of a local Organizing Committee to celebrate March 21st – the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. A complete performance was developed for this occasion. One of the highlights was a “Racism Dance” that portrays the effects of learned racism from parents to children.
The dance was performed by the Oskayak Teen Dance Troop (of which Sinéad is a member). Other activities included: traditional Aboriginal dancers, a new immigrant speaker from Zimbabwe and Métis jiggers (whom Sinéad taught and performed with).
To make this a community celebration, organizers offered an encore presentation in the evening serving a traditional Aboriginal meal. More than 200 people attended this sold out performance. In addition to all of these duties, Sinéad took on the role of MC for both performances.
Sinéad intends to pursue a career in international law with the dream of working towards the plight of women everywhere. In the fall, she will enroll in the Humanities at the University of Victoria.
Terrilyn Dallyn (National)
DallynTerrilyn is a Métis student, living in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. She is one of 100 students to receive a National Excellence Award from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. She will receive a cash award of $5,000, renewable for up to three additional years (to a maximum of $20,000).
With Terrilyn’s infectious enthusiasm and drive to succeed, it is no surprise that this outstanding individual has accomplished great things in her school and community.
As Co-President of her Student Council, she has promoted unity and school spirit among her peers. Terrilyn has helped organize fundraisers for charities such as the Terry Fox Organization, Telemiracle, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Operation Christmas Child and Tsunami Relief. Terrilyn was also active in the Youth Mentoring Program – these mentors were recently honoured with a Saskatchewan Community Spirit Award.
As an entrepreneur, Terrilyn has created her own business — T.J.’s Lawn Care Service – an endeavour that has expanded and flourished under her leadership. In May, Terrilyn was on the winning team of the University of Regina’s 2006 Youth Business Institute’s Grand Challenge.
Terrilyn is a gifted athlete. She has played Volleyball and Track and Field at a Provincial level. Terrilyn’s diverse interests are evident in her membership in many school clubs, everything from the Drama Club to the Concert Band. Terrilyn is involved in a myriad of volunteer activities such as coaching volleyball and educating children as a Peer Mentor. In fact she won the “Centennial Medal of Saskatchewan” for her broad range of contributions to her community.
Terrilyn intends to pursue a career in physiotherapy or chiropractics. In the fall, she will take Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan.
Kelly Graves (Provincial)
GravesKelly is an Interior Salish First Nations/Métis student, living in Port Moody, British Columbia. She is one of 31 laureates in British Columbia to receive an Excellence Award from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation.
Kelly believes that it is as a role model that she’s made her most significant contributions to her community. She credits her participation in a Native Dancing and Drumming Group as instrumental in helping others embrace their culture and take pride in their heritage. Similarly, by volunteering as a reading buddy, she believes that she can have a profound impact on how a child perceives reading and learning.
Kelly has represented her school at the “Strengthening the Circle: Aboriginal Youth Leadership Conference” for three years, leading both the plenary session as well as smaller individual groups. She is also a founding member of her school’s Environment Club.
As a talented baseball player, member of the jazz band and gold medal recipient of a district-wide public speaking contest, Kelly exemplifies the attributes of a well-rounded student.
Kelly intends to pursue a career in civil engineering. In the Fall, she will begin her studies in Engineering at UBC in Vancouver.
David Lussier (Local)
LussierDavid is a Métis student, living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is one of 27 students in Manitoba to receive an Excellence Award from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. He will receive a cash award of $4,000, towards the cost of studies at any Canadian university or college this fall.
Dave’s leadership shines through in his ability to see where he can make a difference – and then take the necessary steps to make his idea a reality. His experience tutoring a student in chemistry opened his eyes to his school’s need for a peer tutoring program. So he launched the Gordon Bell Learning Centre, applied for (and received) a $1,000 grant to cover the cost of supplies, trained tutors and advertised services. The program is proving extremely popular.
Similarly, several years ago he began spending time with his neighbour, Dave, an 18-year-old with severe cerebral palsy. What began as occasional one-on-one sessions soon led to regular participation in a Special Ed Social Group. This year. Dave volunteered to co-lead the Social Group and he has been actively recruiting volunteers, planning activities and creating opportunities for group members to participate in extracurricular school events. These and other initiatives are certainly helping to improve the lives of others and strengthen his community.
Equally active in sports, Dave has co-coached grade 7 and 8 basketball.
David intends to pursue a career in medicine. He will remain in Winnipeg to study Biochemistry at the University of Manitoba.
Nicholas O’Bumsawin (Local)
O’BumsawinNicholas is an Abenaki from Odanak, Québec living in Sudbury, Ontario. He is one of 8 students in Sudbury to receive an Excellence Award from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. He will receive a cash award of $4,000, towards the cost of studies at any Canadian university or college this fall.
Nick doesn’t simply do things. He does things very well. Nick didn’t just learn to play guitar, he is an accomplished player in both jazz and classical. He isn’t just physically active, he is an outstanding athlete who was named Athlete of the Year at Lasalle Secondary School in Sudbury. Most recently, after competing in the Aboriginal Track & Field Games, Nick qualified to compete in the International Championships in Colorado. He also excels in the math and sciences, has placed first and second in local and regional math contests and was a winner at the Regional Science Fair in physics.
But it is not these accomplishments that Nick takes the most pride in. He believes his greatest success has come from peer tutoring grade nine students in math and loves to hear those magic words, “Hey Nick, it makes sense to me now!”
He also volunteers his time to teach power skating to children and, as with math, takes great joy when the children feel good about their achievements.
He believes he is helping to build confidence and self-esteem in these young people. Although Nick credits his volunteer teaching as his most meaningful contribution to his community, his positive approach to everything he does is probably a close second.
Nick intends to pursue a career in Computer Engineering. In the fall, he we will study Computer Engineering at Western University in London, Ontario.
Chelsie Scragg (Local)
Chelsie is a Métis student, living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She is one of 23 students in Saskatchewan to receive an Excellence Award from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. She will receive a cash award of $4,000, towards the cost of studies at any Canadian university or college this fall.
A member of the Saskatoon Community Foundation’s Batting 1000 Youth Advisory Council, Chelsie is part of a group that awards over $10,000 a year in grants to charities that support Saskatoon’s children and youth. For her, this work is a significant way to help disadvantaged youth discover new opportunities and maximize their potential. Chelsie also volunteers as a mentor to grade nine girls to help smooth their transition into high school, and she was the youth co-ordinator of a health career conference at St. Paul’s Hospital.
Chelsie received the SaskTel Aboriginal Youth Award of Excellence and was the recipient of an Aboriginal Youth Bursary from the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Businesses.
Chelsie plans to become a lawyer specializing in Aboriginal and environmental issues. In the fall, she will study at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Arts and Science in Saskatoon.
Christopher Sowden (Local)
Chris is a Métis student, living in Port Alberni, British Columbia. He is the only student from Port Alberni to receive an Excellence Award from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. He will receive a cash award of $4,000, towards the cost of studies at any Canadian university or college this fall.
This young leader is already an experienced and enthusiastic ambassador for his small hometown of Port Alberni. Christopher first learned the true importance of his nurturing community when he represented his town, speaking to audiences in both English and Japanese, as an exchange student in Abashiri, Japan.
Christopher has also represented his town and school as an athlete and a musician; he has competed in provincial badminton and waterskiing events as well as regional jazz festivals.
In an effort to share the beauty of his home, Christopher has recently begun work on a project called E-Spirit, an outdoor adventure business plan that showcases the Port Alberni area.
Christopher also works hard within the community to bring out its potential.
He is a Student Rep on his school’s First Nations Steering Committee, volunteers his time and labour to the community’s elderly, and helps run local sports initiatives. Christopher’s kindness and dedication have earned him several prestigious sportsmanship awards.
Christopher intends to pursue a career in teaching. In the Fall, he will begin his studies in Nanaimo at Malaspina University/College.