A pair of Elmira students received Horatio Alger Association of Canada scholarships, two of just 85 awarded across Canada.
Savannah Campbell and Rosemarie Hartman each received $5,000 to help pay for their post-secondary education in the fall.
Horatio Alger scholarships are awarded annually to deserving high school and CEGEP students in financial need who have overcome significant adversity while demonstrating strength of character, strong academics, a commitment to pursuing higher education as well as a desire to contribute to society.
Campbell is active at EDSS and in the broader community. She’s been in numerous clubs at EDSS since Grade 9, like Reach for the Top, Mathletes, the English club and the philosophy club.
She also helps out wherever someone needs a hand, whether it’s at the Legion or her brother’s football game.
But her largest involvement is through track and field. She trains competitively six days a week and helps coach the EDSS track team.
“I’ve always been into running. I always ran with the boys at school, so I always wanted to join a track team. In Grade 8 I did. I’ve been doing it for five years now,” Campbell said.
She says it was important for her to share her skills with the team when she came to EDSS and it was good for team bonding as well.
She volunteers at the regional track meet each year leading warm ups and teaching drills to the athletes and won the volunteer coach of the year award two years ago.
The scholarship is a big deal to her, to be selected out of thousands of applicants.
“It means a lot to know that everything that’s come to this point in my life hasn’t been wasted. It means a lot that these people can help people like me, like the other 84 winners and the other thousands of applicants as well,” Campbell said.
And receiving it came as a total surprise.
“I wasn’t expecting it. I saw the email and jumped up and told my mom. It was awesome,” Campbell said.
This isn’t the first time she’s been recognized for her efforts though. She received a Canada Cord award a couple years ago from the Girl Guides of Canada and is this year’s Schulich Leader Scholarship nominee for EDSS. Each university picks their leader from the nominees.
She’s been applying to biology programs at Ontario universities with the plan to pursue a career in research.
“I’ve always known I wanted to do something science-related and last year when my biology teacher couldn’t answer some of my questions I decided that I want to go find the answers for myself,” Campbell said.
She’s applied to the University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, University of Guelph and Western University. So far she’s been accepted into Ottawa’s honours biology program and U of Guelph for zoology.
University of Ottawa and University of Toronto are her top picks, partially because of their track programs.
This is also the first scholarship Hartman has received so far.
“It was pretty surreal because this is the first one I’ve got,” Hartman said. “There’d been a lot of pressure to apply to stuff and you put a lot of work into it and to see it validated, you’re so thankful for it because they’re letting you go to school,” Hartman said.
They applied last year and both describe the application process as thorough.
“It was very focused on your financial need or any hardships you’d gone through, so there was a whole section that you spoke about why you think you’re a good candidate for it, what you had gone through to get where you are versus what you’ve achieved. And there was a section you looked at past members of the committee, you wrote a little essay paragraph portion on one of them and how you think you relate to them and what you admire in them,” Hartman explained.
Applicants also had to send their application to someone who knows them but isn’t related, so they could fact check it.
Hartman aspires to become a high school teacher, a career choice that’s always been top of mind.
“I can’t remember a time I didn’t [want to be a teacher]. Like most little kids, I played teacher at school. There have been times I’ve thought about other things, but it’s always been what I’ve gone back to,” Hartman said.
So far she’s applied to the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, Queen’s and Nipissing.
She’s been accepted to Laurier’s mathematics BA program and UW for honours arts, which would be for French.
“I’ve always liked learning, I’ve always liked the education side. But I knew I wanted to do something socially with people. It was kind of a nice mix for me that I’d be able to keep learning, I’d be able to keep learning from people and see different viewpoints from kids because kids are so unique, how they see things,” Hartman said.
She’s busy in the Elmira community, playing hockey with the Woolwich Wild for a decade, as well as volunteering at Chartwell Retirement Residence for five years. This year she’s become more involved at EDSS, joining Reach for the Top, Mathletes, the philosophy club and the Gay-Straight Alliance.
To be selected from students across the country is a nice feeling and she’s thankful for their support.
“You hope to live up to their expectations and hope to represent them the best you can,” Hartman said.