For the first time in school history, a Howe Sound Secondary School (HSSS) student has been named a finalist in the prestigious Loran Scholar program.
Grade 12 student Emily Wiesenthal was named as one of 73 students in Canada to advance to the final stage of the program and have an opportunity to receive a scholarship worth up to $80,000.
Loran Scholars are selected on the basis of character, service and leadership potential. Candidates go through a rigorous interview process at both the regional and national levels.
Wiesenthal said she’s enjoyed the experience and is humbled to be considered.
“I’m very honoured to have got this far in the scholarship process and it’s so exciting,” she said. “It’s such an amazing organization and there were so many amazing students applying, so for me to be considered as a candidate is incredible.”
Every school in Canada can nominate three students each year for the program and it’s a leadership-based honour with academic and community service work also highly weighted.
Wiesenthal helped organize Abuse Against Women Awareness Week at HSSS when she was in Grade 10. The event helped raise money for local women’s groups. She was also involved in the CBC documentary Sext Up Kids, which helped raise awareness about the hyper-sexualisation of teens.
In November, she participated in the regional interview event and was one of 30 B.C. students to move on. She admitted to being a little nervous before the day but ended up enjoying the experience.
“I thought I’d be intimidated but the members of the selection committee were such wonderful people and it’s more of a conversation than scary questions,” she said. “It was a very warm conversation.”
Wiesenthal had two 15-minute, one-on-one interviews, followed by lunch with a member of the selection committee. After lunch there was another 15-minute interview. She’ll expect more of the same at the national interview event in Toronto on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 14 and 15).
For making it to the national level, Wiesenthal will receive $3,000 and she said she plans to pursue English and Gender Studies at post-secondary next year.
“If you win you’re encouraged to go study outside of your province and if I won, I’d love to go to McGill — it would be amazing,” she said. “It’s very exciting and I hope I represent Squamish well.”
For more information on the program, visit www.loranscholar.ca.