HCI Grade 12 student Rebecca Hueser got some pleasant news last summer when she found out she had been selected as a recipient of a Horatio Alger Award. Horatio Alger Jr. was an American author whose writing espoused hard work and perseverance through adversity. Those qualities describe Rebecca, and the award is targeted to those with an indomitable spirit and interest in entrepreneurship. The prestigious awards are handed out throughout North America, and come with a $10,000 for value for post-secondary expenses, along with an all expenses paid trip to Washington DC to meet with other recipients. 

“We get to meet a Supreme Court member,” explains Hueser. “We get to go to a ceremony where we are formally presented our award, and we’ll get to meet with people who will share how to be successful in university and give us skills that we can take home with us.”

Hueser says the award also addresses leadership skills, maintaining strength and confidence in public speaking, and developing attitudes that lead to success. Hueser went ahead with the application after information on the award was presented to her by HCI Graduation and Career Coach Paul Raycroft. Among his many duties, Raycroft is tasked with supporting students’ efforts to source scholarships and funding opportunities for post-secondary. He guides students through some of the important principles to help them in their search. 

“One of the key points is to stay on top of your scholarship search. It’s about creating and keeping an application portfolio ready - full of references, essays that you need, documents - and continually building on those. What happens is that most of the time students can reuse those over again as new scholarships come through. The more scholarships they apply for, the easier it gets.”

Brent Loehr works as a counterpart for some of the Horizon Division schools near Humboldt. Loehr says one of the critical starting points for students seeking awards is to check the eligibility requirements for individual awards. 

“Some scholarships will be open to all students, some are restricted to a program they are going into. Then consider ‘what do they want from me.’ Do they want transcripts, a reference, some forms to fill out. I think the student needs to consider if that’s something they want to do. Is there a payoff for that time commitment?”

Deadlines for applications is a main consideration, and Loehr says that students need to check out the prospects for funding with the specific institutions they’re applying to. 

“There are some scholarships students can get just for applying to a school, if they have a certain average. But there’s also a number of them that are merit based or bursaries.” Those bursaries will often have a financial needs statement to fill out. 

Awards are also based on the students’ own schools, the two coaches note. The schools will make students aware of these awards or have resources set up to help scholarship seekers. For HCI, Raycroft notes that school software, like Remind and their Google classroom pages. is used for information. The Division’s graduation and career coaches have also designed a website loaded with connections for all manners of scholarships and bursaries located at  https://fundingforschool.wordpress.com/

Rebecca Hueser is looking forward to starting her studies at St. Peter’s College in the University of Saskatchewan’s nutrition program. As a registered dietician, Rebecca knows she can work in a variety of settings - in hospitals, care centres, with sport teams - helping people make wise dietary choices for health and performance. 

“I want to give a shout out to my family for being supportive,” Rebecca concludes. “They’re the ones who encouraged me a lot to shoot for the stars and get as many scholarships as possible. And a shout out to Mr. Raycroft; I wouldn’t have received the scholarship if it wasn’t for him.”

It was all about her own perseverance and attention to detail that paved the way for Rebecca’s award and upcoming stateside voyage. For all the students in the school division, there is a team of four dedicated individuals working to get their backs as they pursue post-secondary funding dollars.