While a number of Upper Canada College students annually receive merit scholarships or financial aid to attend the university programs of their choice, this year has been an exceptional one.
“What has been unusual about the leaving class of 2017 has been the number of students who have won major entrance awards based on a combination of academic merit and extracurricular leadership,” says university counselling director Katherine Ridout. “Typically, we might have one or two awards at this level in a given year.”
There were at least half-a-dozen major scholarship recipients in this year’s leaving class. Here’s a look at them and their accomplishments:
Jeremy Bell received the Hellmuth Scholarship at Huron University College at Western University in London, Ont. Huron awards up to 10 Hellmuth Scholarships valued at $30,000 over four years to outstanding entering students who demonstrate: a strong academic record in a wide variety of courses from the liberal arts and sciences; and outstanding achievement in volunteering and community service, athletics, the arts, and/or student life.
“UCC prepared me well to apply for the scholarship, with its strong academic and extracurricular programs,” says Bell. “I took advantage of these opportunities, as well as opportunities outside of the school.”
Bell says the Hellmuth will remind him to stay focused, as Huron’s top scholarship comes with an expectation that he’ll uphold the academic and extracurricular standards that it represents.
Darwin Jimal is one of three recipients of the Dr. Iris May Marsh Memorial Scholarship at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. The scholarship is worth $48,000 over four years and is awarded based on superior academic ability, creative and original thinking, proven leadership qualities and financial need.
Jimal had to complete the Queen’s major admission award application, which consisted of questions surrounding his involvement in service and extracurricular activities. It also had a creative element, and he wrote a sestina about UCC’s varsity soccer team’s season.
“I think I received it because I was able to distinguish myself on the creative element portion of the application,” says Jimal.
“I think the scholarship will allow me to really enjoy my two years of undergrad at Queen’s. It’ll allow me to focus more on my academics and sports and leave me with much less to worry about financially.”
Jimal plans to become a doctor and specialize in pediatrics after he graduates.
Nathan Lee received the Presidential Scholarship at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Albany, N.Y. It’s based on superior academic achievement and can be renewed through the six years of the pharmacy program.
“Given that my sister had received the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Dean’s Scholarship, I was hoping I could at least match that,” says Lee. “Instead, I received the Presidential Scholarship, which is more prestigious.”
Lee balanced his academic achievements with participation in sports and clubs while at UCC, and the scholarship will allow him to focus on his studies without being concerned about his tuition and boarding costs.
Kimathi Muiruri is following in the footsteps of recent UCC graduates Marco Romeo, Adam Jutha and Allen Champagne as the recipient of the Morehead-Cain Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Morehead-Cain was the first merit scholarship program established in the United States and was the first to implement a strategic summer enrichment program. It fully funds four years of study and summer programs.
Three Canadian students are chosen for the scholarship each year, and a school nomination is required. Recipients are selected based on scholarship, leadership, character and commitment to an active lifestyle.
“Going into my undergraduate education, I decided I wanted two things: the chance to discover more about who I am, far from familiar surroundings, and the chance to do so by having experiences outside of the classroom that would test and expand my limits in different ways,” says Muiruri. “Between moving to North Carolina and spending summers working or volunteering in any number of places where the opportunity presents itself, this scholarship was perfect.”
Muiruri submitted a questionnaire as a bid for a school nomination last September. He then had to write an essay, go through a Skype interview and, finally, travel to North Carolina for in-person tours and interviews.
“I’m interested in tons of different aspects of life and academia, some of them not even remotely related to the others,” says Muiruri.
“While I want to end off with a more clear idea of what it is I want to dedicate my life to doing, I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to using that freedom to explore some of my more minor and personal interests just for fun. I think it’s important to cast a wide net, in the classes I take and in the ways I decide to fill my summers.”
Muiruri anticipates attending medical school or law school after receiving his undergraduate degree.
Komahan Paramaanantham is the first UCC student to receive Western University’s top undergraduate scholarship, the Beryl Ivey Continuing Entrance Award. It’s valued at $16,000 per academic year for four years.
UCC nominated Paramaanantham for the scholarship, which recognizes all-around excellence. It’s awarded on the basis of outstanding academic performance and candidates must demonstrate creative and innovative thought and a passion for the pursuit of learning. It also recognizes exceptional achievements in extracurricular activities such as the arts and athletics. A special emphasis is placed on a candidate’s commitment to community service through ongoing contributions to school and community life.
Malcolm Risk is the first UCC student to receive the McEuen Scholarship, which is awarded to qualified Canadian students aged 21 and younger for a full three-year undergraduate or four-year honours degree at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The scholarship covers all tuition and residence fees and includes a book allowance of £200. The renewable entrance scholarship is awarded annually to one resident Canadian citizen on the basis of academic and extracurricular achievement.
Risk’s primary study focus will be on math and philosophy.
“I think I received the scholarship partially because I had strong academics and co-curricular activities, but also due to the amount of research I did into the background of the scholarship,” says Risk.
“By demonstrating knowledge about the history of the scholarship and the family that endowed it, I was able to communicate the seriousness of my interest. I also think I did a good job of displaying deep and profound interest in the subjects I planned to study during the interview process.”
Risk had to write a personal statement of interest that was submitted along with his transcript and resumé. He then went to Ottawa for an interview and learned a short time later that he was the recipient.
“To be able to go to school on another continent at such a prestigious university debt-free and with almost no financial concerns is an incredible opportunity,” says Risk. “To receive such a scholarship also gives me a great deal of confidence in my hard work so far and my abilities going forward.”