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Botwood Collegiate graduates surprised with scholarships

Shealah Hart (left) and Katie Roberts (right), with their Ted Rogers Scholarship commemorative plaques.
Shealah Hart (left) and Katie Roberts (right), with their Ted Rogers Scholarship commemorative plaques. - Contributed

Volunteer work with Boys and Girls Club helps lead to Ted Rogers Scholarships for Katie Roberts and Shealah Hart

BOTWOOD/NORTHERN ARM, N.L. — Botwood Collegiate graduates Katie Roberts, 18, of Botwood and Shealah Hart, 17, of Northern Arm, are happy recipients of scholarships from the Ted Rogers Scholarship Program for 2018.

The scholarship program, named in honour of Ted Rogers, the founder of the Rogers group of companies, launched in 2017. The scholarship is designed to support youth leaders in achieving their educational goals. According to the fund’s website, each scholarship recipient gets $2,500 per each academic year for up to four years at any university undergraduate, college or trade program. In order to be considered for a scholarship, individual students must already be volunteering with one of the program’s community partners.

Katie and Shealah, who both volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club, received their scholarships at a surprise event with the organization in June.

They thought they were being asked to volunteer with a special project for the Janeway but, in reality, the Boys and Girls Club had gathered their friends and family to celebrate the girls’ achievement.

“We had thought we were volunteering at a community event,” Katie said. “However, our family, friends and Boys and Girls Club staff members had planned a surprise party to present us with the scholarship.”

Shealah says receiving the scholarship in that way was unforgettable.

“Winning the scholarship was a complete surprise. The staff at the Boys and Girls Club of Botwood made it an announcement I’d never forget,” she said.” I can honestly say, it was a moment in time I will cherish.”

In addition to the scholarship news, the event included plaques and t-shirts from the scholarship program, and handwritten notes of appreciation and congratulations from family, friends and community members. 

Katie, who is also a SHAD program alumnus, is ecstatic about receiving the scholarship.

“This scholarship is definitely a huge help with the financial burdens that come hand-in-hand with university,” she said. “I’m definitely super thankful for scholarships like this one, because without things like this, I know firsthand I’d never be able to fully fund my education and complete my personal goals — it’s just not feasible.”

“This scholarship enables me to pursue my dreams,” Katie said.

Shealah is ‘extremely excited, honored and appreciative’ to receive the scholarship.

“I am very thankful for the scholarship as it will definitely help alleviate some of my financial burden needed to complete my post-secondary studies,” she said. “I believe my educational journey is made of many miles. This scholarship will definitely make my first step a little easier.”

Both scholarship recipients have clear plans for their futures.

Katie will be attending MUN in September, where she hopes to first earn a conjoint bachelor of music (clarinet) and bachelor of music education degree. Following that, she plans to attend medical school and specialize in orthopedic surgery.

“My dreams with respect from there are to be heavily involved in research and cure a rare disease of the musculoskeletal system,” she said. “If that doesn’t work out however, you’ll be able to find me sharing my love of music with students in rural areas.”

“I hope to be able to inspire these kids to follow their dreams the way so many of my past music teachers have for me,” Katie said.

For Shealah, after a lifetime of considering careers ranging from a positivity-sharing princess (at age five) to a book-sharing teacher, her volunteer work has led her to pursue a career in social work. 

“My volunteer experiences has resulted in a greater passion about helping and advocating for others, passion that has led me to pursue the social work field,” she said. “So, in September I will be registering as a full-time student with the College of North Atlantic in Grand Falls-Windsor and as an online part-time student with Memorial University.”

Both Katie and Shealah are grateful for the support of their families, their communities, and the organizations in which they volunteer. They plan to work hard to make the most of the opportunities provided by the Ted Rogers Scholarship.

“I would like to say a sincere thank you to the Ted Rogers Scholarship Fund and to my many mentors,” Shealah said. “By having a scholarship for Canadian students who are entering their first year of post-secondary, the Ted Rogers Scholarship Foundation is helping youth, like myself, fulfill their potential.

“Moving forward, I will strive to be great ambassador of the Ted Rogers Scholarship by giving back to my community, wherever it may be.”

Spotlight on volunteer work

Just a glance at Katie Roberts’ and Shealah Hart’s volunteer commitments makes it obvious why they are excellent examples of the community leaders that the Ted Rogers Scholarship is designed to encourage.

Katie Roberts

I’ve been a heavily involved volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of Botwood as a member of multiple group programs.

I’ve been a key member in the completion of events such as the yearly Thanksgiving food drive, done in partnership with the local Goodwill Centre; our community’s haunted house completed by youth for youth every Halloween; participating in the Canada and Memorial Day service at the Twomey Centre for inpatients; Take Back The Night walk against violence towards women; a candlelit vigil in memory of the victims of the Montreal Massacre, and so much more.

Also, I volunteer within my school as a Mental Health Team executive member, Student Council executive member, and essentially any other group I can possibly find the time to volunteer with.

Shealah Hart

I have always been an active member in my community, through various volunteer efforts. I have spent a great amount of my time volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Botwood, my school and the community at large.  At the Boys and Girls Club, I have volunteered with ticket sales, the annual daffodil campaign and the after school program. 

I have devoted time with various club projects and events, including the annual Thanksgiving food drive (in partnership with the local Goodwill Centre); the Take Back the Night Walk and participated in the Memorial/Canada Day events for residents at the Dr. Hugh Twomey Centre. 

I also am a member of the Boys and Girls Club of Botwood’s board of directors. 

As mentioned, I also choose to be an active volunteer within my school community.  As a student of Botwood Collegiate I was an active member of the Student Council executive, Peer Tutor, Mental Health Matters Team and Gotcha! Team (school climate group). In my final year, I was privileged to be class president and a member of the yearbook committee. 

In the community, I am the youth representative on the Primary Health Care Collaborative: Mental Health and Addictions, at the local hospital, a member of Eat Great and Participate’s Provincial Youth Advisory Council, and I just finished my term as a part of the RCMP National Youth Advisory Council. I also enjoy being an active member in my community through projects such as Shealah’s Speak Off, for elementary school aged children, and my Coats for Community drive. 

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