Elphinstone Secondary School's Clare Lyle came home from Toronto with an $80,000 scholarship after successfully wowing judges in five separate interviews during the weekend of Feb. 15.
The Gibsons Grade 12 student was among nearly 3,500 applicants vying for the Loran Scholar award and she was one of just 30 winners selected last week.
Lyle said she "had a great time" in the interviews and that she enjoyed meeting "so many inspiring people from all around the country."
"I had three one-on-one interviews with judges in my panel - a lunch interview, a panel interview with four judges, and finally a fifth interview with one of the national co-chairs of the Loran foundation," Lyle said. "The questions were mostly about what I'd written in my application, and it was basically just like a normal conversation."
Lyle left the interviews not knowing if she'd won, but while on the ferry back home she got the call.
"I was literally speechless for a few seconds before I was able to reply," Lyle said. "I'd promised my grandma that I'd let her know whether I'd won as soon as I found out, so after I got the news I phoned her up to tell her the good news."
Lyle won the award based on her strength of character, service and leadership potential. Those criteria are what make the Loran Scholar program unique in Canada.
The program is administered through the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation, which saw a need for scholarships based on something other than high academic marks or athletic performance.
With that in mind, the Loran Scholar program was born in 2007.
"The name was chosen because Loran is used for long-range navigation and we emphasize long-term relationships with our scholars and long-term impact on our communities," the Loran Scholars website states. "As a navigation system, Loran requires three points. These three points correspond with our three core values - character, service and leadership - which we hope our scholars will continue to use to chart their own courses."
Lyle still hasn't decided what university she will attend after high school, but she's talking with other Loran Scholars to get their thoughts. Lyle wants to get into bioinformatics, which is the use of computers to understand biology better.
She's not sure what she'll do after university.
"I think the beauty of university is that it's where you find out who you are and what you want to do with your life, and so much can change between when you're 18 and when you're 22 that if I made any predictions now, I'd probably look back in five years and wonder what on earth I was thinking," Lyle said.
"That said, I'm probably going to go to grad school once I have my undergraduate degree, since most jobs in scientific fields require at least a master's."
The Loran Scholar program includes a $9,000 annual stipend and a matching tuition waiver, a summer program with funding up to $8,500, a week-long orientation expedition in Algonquin Park in Ontario, one-on-one mentorship and participation in the community of past and present Loran Scholars. The package is worth up to $80,000.
Find out more at www.loranscholar.ca.
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