A Birtle, Man. high school senior says small-town life provides opportunities for a wholistic adolescence, and he’s taking advantage of it.
Birtle Collegiate Institute Grade 12 student Cole Stainer is one of 88 students from across Canada vying for a 2020 Loran Scholars Foundation Award. Stainer travelled to Toronto last month where Loran representatives determined who would come away with a jumpstart to their post-secondary education. One award includes funding of up to $100,000 over four years for undergraduate studies in a Canadian university.
Stainer and the other finalists were chosen from a pool of about 5200 participants who were first sponsored by their schools before applying for the prizes. Finalists are determined by a variety of factors, mostly related to their character, service to the community and leadership potential. Up to 36 awards will be presented in Toronto including annual stipends, tuition waivers from partner universities, mentorship opportunities, summer internship funding, retreats and forums.
Others are eligible for a $5000 award for being a finalist.
“I immediately recognized the voice of one of the women that had interviewed me in Winnipeg,” Stainer said about being notified about his nomination to the finals. “I knew that the call might leave me disappointed or in shock, but I could tell by the tone in her voice that the news was good… After that, I did my best impression of Rocky Balboa running up the stairs in my house and raising my arms at the top.”
Stainer believes growing up in Birtle is a substantial factor in his nomination. He’s participated in a variety of sports, councils, volunteering opportunities and clubs. Such opportunities aren’t available in larger centres.
“I believe the being well-rounded is a good quality to have and is something people see in myself,” he said.
“Currently, I am playing hockey and basketball full-time with my high school teams. I have always had a passion for business and have been able to take part in many competitions in which I was successful. In the future, I hope to combine my drive for business with my newly found passion of engineering to innovate and help create a more efficient world.”
The 17-year-old plans on enrolling in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Man., or the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C.
Founded in 1988, the Loran Scholars Foundation is a charity organization that presents scholarships and awards to high school students entering post-secondary education. Its $100,000 top prize is the largest undergraduate merit award in Canada. Loran works with several Canadian partnering universities to dispense the program.
“Our rigorous selection process is designed to seek out evidence of character – integrity, determination, resilience, kindness and personal autonomy – in young Canadians who are committed to serving others and who show sparks of leadership potential,” said Loran Communications Officer Danielle Sanders, noting that the selection process included regional interviews with more than 500 candidates.
“Our committees then invites 88 outstanding finalists to attend National Selections, which include individual and panel interviews and forums. Our interviewers will select up to 36 finalists to join the 2020 class of LORAN Scholars.”