A Chilliwack high school student is one of 90 youth from across Canada selected as a Loran Scholars Foundation finalist.
Lily Renaud of G.W. Graham Middle Secondary School was picked from more than 4,800 applicants and she will be travelling to Toronto for Loran’s national interviews which take place Feb. 24 to 26.
As described by the foundation, the finalists “have demonstrated their drive to step up in the face of challenges and positively impact their communities.”
If she’s selected as one of the 36 winners, she will receive a Loran Award valued at more than $100,000.
Renaud, 17, has years of volunteering, community service work and other contributions under her belt.
“I started community service work at 10 years old, and in the seven years of doing various service, I’ve never once had a negative thought about it,” she said. “I think my favourite thing about service work is seeing what you do and how you interact with others can have a positive impact.”
She said her most significant contribution at her school was founding the Indigenous Leadership Club.
“While the Canadian curriculum is getting continually better at incorporating Indigenous history, I felt as though they were lacking on current events and general facts on local Indigenous communities, and it was clear to see from the disturbing and hateful stereotypes students at my school were spouting.”
In addition to the Indigenous Leadership Club and being co-president of the Newspaper Club at her school, Renaud is also a member of the Kiwanis Key Club and Rotary Interact Club, volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Girl to the Power of Math, and cleans up garbage from Chilliwack’s waterways.
She completed a week-long Chilliwack Youth Firefighter Program, provides access and education on hygiene care to children in the community, has taken part in Soroptimist Club programs, taught herself American Sign Language, and is a competitive dancer.
The Loran Scholars Foundation looks for students who believe in pushing boundaries by questioning the status quo, while showing compassion and a commitment to service – seeing a need and making positive change in their own communities. These young people view the world through a lens of curiosity, and have leadership qualities they may not even fully realize themselves, the foundation states.
Renaud said one of the most amazing things about helping people is that anyone can do it.
“Service work is not only about taking on a leadership role, or creating something to help society, but sometimes it’s the little things like making sure someone gets to their car safely, or helping someone pack their groceries, or picking up some garbage left on the side of the road. Anyone can contribute to service and community work, and it’s something I encourage everybody to consider in their life.”
Renaud was scheduled to leave Chilliwack on Feb. 23 and said she’s “super excited” for the finals.
“The selection process for the Loran Award is definitely a rigorous one, and I am excited how the national selections will challenge me to really reflect on why I do what I do. Also, meeting so many amazing youth across Canada is going to be so inspirational. I’m honoured to be a part of that group.”
During national interviews, the foundation will choose 36 youth who most exceptionally demonstrate strength of character, dedication to service, and leadership potential. Each will receive a Loran Award valued at more than $100,000 over their four-year undergraduate studies and join an extended community that will support their lifelong growth and pursuits.
Finalists not selected as Loran Scholars are eligible to receive a one-time $5,000 Loran Finalist Award tenable at any Canadian university. At the conclusion of the semi-final interviews, 60 students who distinguished themselves at that level received one-time $2,000 Loran Provincial/Territorial Awards. Overall, the foundation will be investing close to $4 million in 150 students across Canada this year.
Renaud’s post-secondary plans include getting a bachelor’s degree in engineering/applied science.
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