ST. STEPHEN – There are some smiling recipients of university scholarships across Charlotte County. In between their work, extra-curricular activities, and studying, The Saint Croix Courier successfully caught-up with three of the recipients from St. Stephen High School (SSHS).
Victoria Greencorn is looking forward to “living in a new province and doing new things,” when she goes to St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia this fall. As the winner of the Paul Cogger Memorial Scholarship, Greencorn will benefit from $6,000 each year to help her towards her goal of a Bachelor of Arts and Science. Greencorn wants to focus on “climate change and environment. I have a lot of interest in science and math,” she says. “And I want to contribute to helping the planet live a couple more years.
“I am a first-generation university student,” Greencorn says. “There is no education in my family at all. They’ve all had minimum wage, labour jobs. So, this begins a whole new life.”
This year, Greencorn estimates she worked at the Atlantic Superstore 25 hours a week as she says, “my background is not financially stable, and I need to help support my family.” Time management became her strongest ally as she worked while going to school and helping with the environmental club and other activities.
“Strong students push through,” she says. Greencorn says these experiences helped her check-off the boxes for what the scholarship committee was looking for, “strong leadership, involvement in a balance of work, life, and home life, and a well-rounded student who is a good example.”
In the curious way things unfold, pandemic restrictions pointed SSHS student Ian Curran towards his post-secondary future. “I’m into musical theatre, singing, and drama,” Curran told The Saint Croix Courier, “but the pandemic purged that.” With the new tech wing and programs at SSHS, Curran became involved in Spartan TV and was delighted to work on television programs for CHCO.
Last summer, he worked at the Saint Andrews based television station and credits News Director Vicki Hogarth with “showing me the world of journalism.” Curran says he, “developed a passion for journalism, showing the world what’s going on in our small corner in Charlotte County.”
He started to look into journalism programs, but for some reason it took prodding from teacher Scott Legge to point him towards St. Thomas University, Fredericton. In fact, at first Curran did not speak to the St. Thomas representative on the day he visited the SSHS. Legge steered Curran into a conversation with the rep after school was over and the young man was hooked. “I said to myself, ‘This is actually kind of cool’,” Curran recalls. “These programs are more me.” He was particularly interested in the technological directions that St. Thomas journalism programs seem to be going by buying equipment and “upgrading into more digital forms of media.”
Curran did research, calling and speaking to a professor. This conversation resulted in receiving credits at the university for projects he was doing for CHCO Television and The Saint Croix Courier. Curran’s Apr. 19 Courier article on the teacher shortage is one example of his work in print. St. Thomas must have been impressed with Curran’s work, as he was offered a scholarship of $22,400 over four years towards his studies in a Bachelor of Arts with a focus on journalism.
When you want to get some interview time with a full scholarship winner to an Ivy League school, prepare to get-up early, even on a holiday Sunday. Kate Choi, who has accepted $100,000 per year to go to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, reveals “The biggest thing is time management.” But even so, Choi has boundaries, “If you feel you’re sacrificing something, maybe your time management isn’t where it’s supposed to be.”
Choi has been the one of the top academic leaders throughout her years at SSHS. While also juggling extra-curricular activities, work, and volunteering, Choi says she never felt she gave-up too much. “Sometimes I’d want to go somewhere, but I knew I couldn’t because there’s tests,” she says. “It wasn’t too much sacrifice; I knew it needed to be done. Also, I was able to go out with my friends a lot.” She admits she doesn’t have much down time, but with the time she has, she says, “I try to read a good book and play with my cats.”
In addition to playing flute and piano with her church’s youth leadership group, Choi plays volleyball, tutors, and works in the pharmacy at the Atlantic Superstore, as well as her parents’ store, Miss D’s Convenience Center. However, these activities are not what she feels set her apart from fellow applicants.
“It was my reference letters and my essays,” Choi explains. She adapted her essay on the topic of Brown’s motto; curiosity. She says she is pleased to be going to Brown, a school she selected as it largely leaves students free to take courses they are passionate about, requiring that they only complete 12 courses out of 32 in their area of concentration. “It’s my dream school,” Choi says, “because it’s special and unique.”
A career in public health is Choi’s career goal. She interviewed Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, for CHCO and Spartan TV, which prompted her interest in public health and led Choi to create a cake-pop fundraiser to combat period poverty, as described in The Saint Croix Courier on Jan. 21. Choi expects to finish her undergraduate degree at Brown before going on to study medicine.
The Courier reached out to Sir James Dunn Academy and other students but had not heard back by press time.