A Howe Sound Secondary student has won a prestigious scholarship worth $100,000 to put towards her university education.
Callista Ryan, a Grade 12 student at the school, applied for a Loran Foundation scholarship in the fall and after a regional interview process in November qualified to go to Toronto this month to compete for one of the scholarships.
She has since found out she is one of 31 winners of the prestigious scholarship out of the 80 finalists who attended.
“I found out the day after,” she said. “It was a total surprise.”
Ryan was in Toronto Feb. 5 and 6 for the interview process and said it was similar to the regionals in Vancouver last fall, except that there were six interviews instead of four, including one with the co-chair of the Loran Foundation.
“It was the same format as before,” she said.
Even though the event is a competition, Ryan was impressed by so many of her fellow applicants and made friends among them.
“There were so many people that were amazing,” she said.
For the process, the applicants started Friday afternoon and continued through all day Saturday, but they did have dinner together both days and even found time to put on a talent show.
To get to Toronto, she had to pass the regional round of interviews, which itself is an achievement considering the Loran Foundation received 4,272 applications this year, representing the largest number of students that have ever applied.
In the meantime, she can take advantage of some summer program opportunities that the Loran Foundation offers students including an orientation expedition in Algonquin Park aimed at team building.
She is also finishing up at Howe Sound Secondary where she has been taking classes this year such as history, law and social justice, which will aid her in her university studies.
The Loran Foundation is a non-profit organization and was founded in 1988 to provide scholarships for students going into university.
While academics are important, the foundation also places emphasis on what a student does outside of class time, and in Ryan’s case, she is busy organizing activities for local youth, runs a video game club, rallied students to speak up during the teachers’ strike in 2014, works as a pizza cook, was an organizer for the school’s Winter Gala, volunteers with a group aimed at sustainability and is a cadet warrant officer with 835 Griffin Air Cadet Squadron.
While Ryan was surprised by the outcome, she knew she would find out either way before long.
“You know you’re going to get a call no matter what,” she said.
“They called everyone and told them if they got it or not.”
Her friends and family are equally pleased by the news. “
My mom is really, really, really happy. It was really emotional,” she said.