Nineteen first-year Vancouver Island University students who earned full-tuition scholarships for outstanding and athletic achievements in high school can now pursue their undergraduate studies this year.
VIU president and vice-chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson congratulated the students at a special reception. The awards are renewable each year, providing the recipients maintain a high gradepoint average. Each scholarship is worth more than $21,000.
VIU awards entrance scholarships to students in three categories: Top high school students, scholar athletes and aboriginal students. The President's Scholarship program was created in 2008 when VIU became a full university.
Entrance awards are designed to encourage and support top scholars to complete their undergraduate degrees locally at VIU. "We are very proud to welcome these top young and emerging scholars to VIU," said Nilson.
"In high school, each student has demonstrated a true commitment to excelling in their educational pursuits and we want each of them to continue their success at VIU."
Nanaimo students Darian Degroot (John Barsby Secondary), Madison Graf (Cedar Secondary), Aaron Halsall (Woodlands Secondary), Tram-Anh Hoang-Pham (Nanaimo District Secondary), Julia MacDonald (Nanaimo Christian School), Maziroh Mach (Wellington Secondary) all received President's Entrance Scholarships. Taelar Keir (Wellington Secondary) and Keegan Lang (Dover Bay), both of Nanaimo, received a President's Entrance Award for Scholar Athletes.
Keir is a member of the VIU Mariners women's basketball team while Lang plays on the VIU men's soccer team.
David Aarsen (Cedar Secondary) and James Lattanzio-Battle (Dover Bay), and Montanna Mjaaland received a VIU Chancellor's Entrance Scholarship for aboriginal students.
These and other scholarship recipients from Vancouver Island communities including Lake Cowichan, Port Alberni, Courtenay, Oak Bay and Duncan attended the event with their parents and other family members.
Halsall said the award makes a huge difference.
"It alleviates any financial stress and allows me to focus on my studies," said Halsall, a student in the bachelor of science program. "It's also convenient to live at home while attending university."
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